The Future of Work: Is your team hybrid-work ready?

With over 70 million Filipinos fully vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus and around 14 million receiving their booster shots as of May 2022, the economy of the Philippines, like most of its neighboring countries, has started to open. As we take on the new normal, businesses (especially those in the Business Process Outsourcing industry) have also started returning back to the office.

 

In March of 2022, the Fiscal and Incentives Review Board (FIRB) has denied the request of the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) to extend the work from home (WFH) arrangement for IT-business process management enterprises but with new strains of the pandemic just around the corner, most businesses have chosen to delay returning to the office – at the cost of temporarily losing tax incentives – with a conscious understanding that returning to the office cannot be delayed forever. Where does this leave us?

Under the Telecommuting Act (Republic Act 11165) of the Philippines, the State protects “the rights of workers and promotes their welfare, especially in the light of technological development that has opened up new and alternative avenues for employees to carry out their work such as telecommuting, and other flexible work arrangements.” By definition, “telecommuting” refers to working from any alternative workplace with the use of telecommunications and/or computer technologies.

 

With government agencies requesting for the return to the office of Business Process Outsourcing companies and the Telecommuting Act in place, it leaves BPO companies in the country a middle ground: Hybrid Work.

 

What is hybrid work?

In the post-COVID-19 future, C-suite executives expect an increase in hybrid work.

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In a 2021 McKinsey survey with over 100 C-level respondents, nine out of ten organizations will be combining remote and on-site working.

 

By now, you may have already heard the statement “The Future of Work is Hybrid” and it’s proving to be more than just a buzzword. But what does hybrid working really mean?

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In the Philippines, a company that follows a hybrid work model is a workplace that gives employees the option to work on-site/in the office or remotely following a schedule – providing employees with the flexibility to work wherever they want to on days that they are not required to report on-site.

 

This type of work arrangement gives employees security and peace of mind amidst the ongoing pandemic (plus freedom over their time and resources) while also satisfying the need for companies to have a workforce in the office.

 

Additionally, the hybrid work arrangement has allowed for an easier transition for companies returning to the office, especially with government-mandated pandemic safety protocols in place!

 

How to make hybrid work actually work for your business?

 

Let’s be honest, most businesses are still used to the traditional ways of working like setting face-to-face meetings to collaborate or monitoring the productivity of associates by watching what they do on a daily basis. With this kind of mindset, hybrid work might seem more like a burden than a solution. So how do you start making the shift?

Change the way you think about productivity

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In the age of hybrid work, productivity should not be measured by time spent in the office or the visibility of work to others. To begin this change, start by working on your team and management’s mindset. Build trust in your employees and think on an output/outcome basis!

 

In a 2020 study by the global staffing firm Robert Half, 45% of professionals report putting in more than 8 hours of work a day – with 68 percent saying they work during weekends when working remotely. Keep in mind that these data do not glamorize overworking. It just goes to show that your employees are not out to take advantage of your company.

 

Given the right support and guidance, employees will go above and beyond without managers or supervisors having to watch their every move!

 

Use your data to your advantage!

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Reviewing quantifiable information is key. When planning for hybrid work, use the data available to you to make informed decisions! 

 

Align with your stakeholders, analyze your staff’s needs, discover what works best for your team right now and what they’re going to be needing in the future, and create a plan based on your finding. Taking a data-backed approach to your hybrid work planning will help you to plan sustainable solutions that will make hybrid working as future-proof as possible for your business.

 

Align with your employees

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More than just looking at the data, it is also important to take the time to talk to your employees about the upcoming changes. This will help you understand what is currently working best for them, what tools or supports are essential to ensure that they sustain or improve their performance when the new work model is implemented, and set clear expectations for both employees and management.

 

In order to do this, hold interviews for the leadership team and employees alike. Have in-depth discussions with them or host focus group discussions to get a better understanding of their pain points, their roadblocks, and their needs to make the shift as seamless as possible.

 

Bring your connections to the cloud!

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With the hybrid work model, you’ll only see your colleagues in person a few times a week or maybe not even for months! This working model can get lonely at times – like when one employee gets a different office schedule than their work best friend! But it also goes deeper than that. Hybrid work may also make some employees feel out of the loop when it comes to updated practices or important conversations. That’s why it’s important to bring your connections to the cloud!

 

Equip your employees with the tools and tactics they need to effectively communicate. Additionally, while tools and tactics are important, it is also imperative that management listens to their employees when communicating. Regularly check on the state and needs of your employees, understand what they need now, and forecast their needs in the future. Keeping your employees motivated and at ease during this transition will make or break the success of hybrid work for your business.

 

Find what hybrid work model works best for your company

The words “work” and “office” used to be synonymous – interchangeable, even. But the pandemic has taught us that work isn’t a place and it can be wherever employees perform at their best. With this in mind, hybrid work arrangements offer different models that companies can explore to find what works best for their business.

Optimizing the hybrid virtual continuum

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Some of the most common hybrid work types include:

  • Remote-first wherein employees are allowed to work remotely whenever they want, from wherever they want, but with few exceptions. Companies that make use of a remote-first model look very similar to fully-remote companies with the distinctive difference being that remote-first companies have physical offices available for their employees to work from.
  • Office-occasional companies have employees who come to work on-site based on a schedule – e.g. working remotely from Monday to Wednesday and reporting to the office on Thursdays and Fridays or with set dates chosen by employees or their managers/supervisors – providing a combination of face-to-face and virtual collaboration and individual/independent work. These businesses generally have stronger remote work regulations compared to remote-first companies.
  • The Office-first, remote-allowed option uses the office as the preferred and primary place for working with options for remote work commonly implemented among the leadership team or upper management roles that require face-to-face interactions or collaborations.

 

 

Remember, these are only the most common hybrid work models, explore the potential of the hybrid work arrangement and feel free to modify to what works best for your business and your employees.

 

Custom-fit solutions for your business

There is no perfect plan to get hybrid work to work for you – each company will have its own perfect recipe built on months and months of trial, testing, and revisions. But with a better understanding of the hybrid work model, you can equip your business with the benefits of both remote and in-office work arrangements.

 

Once you see the benefits of giving your employees remote work independence, take a look at location independence with different models of outsourcing.

Get in touch with Sourcefit and book a free consultation to learn more!