The move toward a decentralized office space and retail environment has accelerated in the past year and a half.
There are various reasons for the acceleration toward a decentralized office space but suffice to say, the reality is that remote and hybrid work is becoming more the norm than in years past.
In fact, since 2018, when only 7% of US workers worked remotely as an option, that percentage has grown to 26% in 2021.
In the workspace, that means that your organization will need to redesign and reconfigure the workflow moving forward.
Making the transition from the traditional model to become more flexible for both your needs and employee needs.
Industries considered “professional,” such as law and finance, were early adopters of remote options for workers, but the expansion of professions has grown due to various factors.
Additionally, remote work stemmed from more sizable corporations than smaller startups, but even that fact has been changing.
Significant caveats to remote work include employee privacy, legal, and other employment concerns.
Still, facts bear out the case that remote work can be more productive and have reported higher job satisfaction than centralized employment options.
Moving forward, the shift toward a decentralized office and retail space can benefit your bottom-line and employee performance.
That said, considering a move to decentralizing your office and workflow includes deciding on either being fully remote or offering a hybrid model.
Strategically adapting to these situations will be the defining factor in your organization’s survival or failure.
Fully Remote Work Options
If fully remote work is the strategy for your organization, there are a few things to consider prior to going that route.
Alleviating the problems between work/life balance is something that employers and employees alike need to consider with full-remote work. This imbalance stems from the ease of accessibility to work, as well as asynchronous work hours.
One way to alleviate this disparity in work/life balance is to include off-hours messaging that takes pressure off in-person communications.
An Artificial Intelligence (AI) bot will allow for quicker response times as well as allowing for 24-hour response.
While AI is typically a tool for improved customer service, considering ways that it may help employee communication and problem solving is a good idea.
While 24-hour response times seem counterintuitive to reinforcing the work/life balance, an AI bot will make it easier for employees and customers to access important decisions and solutions that will allow employees that need asynchronous hours to still be productive.
For your organization, having AI installed on your website is a great interactive tool for employees and clients alike.
A simple WordPress chat plugin that can be installed on the backside administration of your website will allow all employees, whether onsite, remote, or hybrid, have an opportunity to resolve issues and communicate regardless of whether they are working traditional hours or not.
Hybrid Work Options
Offering a hybrid option for employees can be a great compromise. Traffic and commute times are significant job dissatisfaction, so regularly eliminating that stress from the workday will help improve job satisfaction.
That said, most employees would embrace a hybrid model for personal interaction, face-to-face problem solving, as well as a break from the alienation of working remotely.
The challenge with a hybrid model is for the employer, do you require everyone to attend on the same day, or does the department schedule it?
On the employee side, the hybrid model does bring up issues of finding flexible child care, which may be more challenging to schedule regularly than an all-or-none, remote, or onsite work requirement.
Offering more flexible work hours, workflow, and in-person requirements is something that every organization needs to consider in this new environment.
The acceleration of offsite, remote work is gaining speed and momentum, and the disruption across all spheres of business and customer services will continue in the near future.
Choosing between fully remote or hybrid work models is the wave of the future and to stay competitive in acquiring and retaining strong employees and bettering customer retention will require most organizations to pivot accordingly.
That said, decentralized work spaces do come with some limitations and concerns that stem from the definition of employment, legal aspects of remote work (liability chief among them), the roles and scopes of remote employment, privacy issues, and more.
Taking a strategic approach to these challenges as you adapt to the traditional work disruption will be the difference between survival and failure for your organization.