The transition to hybrid work over the last two years has challenged the business, from how to bring together remote teams to the integration of new staff. Many managers look at how they have traditionally done things and ask if there is a better way.
Digital start-ups answer that question by challenging traditional ways technology is used in the workplace and developing a variety of tools aimed at making hybrid work more effective.
One of the main problems with hybrid workplaces is the difficulty of recreating the valuable connections we make through direct contact. Many employers respond by forming a team to come to the office on a particular day. But this can delay decision-making — the “let’s talk about it when we are in the office” effect — and alternately leave the workplace overcrowded and almost empty.
Hubble’s co-founder and CEO Tushar Agarwal is trying to solve the problem. “We found it difficult for businesses to achieve the right balance between team office and remote work, which is impacting office budgets,” he says. ..
Hubble has developed a technology that helps employers analyze how office space is used and where it can be made more efficient. Agarwal explains that companies are building an “on-demand workspace” network for remote workers by calculating the ideal combination of office space between fixed assets such as headquarters and a “flex” budget. increase. The technology then helps employers find and book remote workspaces. You can also design benefits for telecommuting teams, such as delivering cocktail-making kits to employees instead of Friday’s drink trolleys.
Agarwal estimates that by hybridizing, clients saved about 30% compared to pre-Covid office costs. Employees can access workspaces closer to where they live if they don’t want to commute to headquarters. The same is true if many colleagues live in one area and want to work together.
This personalization of office space shows the potential for technology to solve practical problems associated with hybrid work. Other entrepreneurs, such as Anna Rasmussen, are trying to overcome the personal barriers created by hybrid work: how to keep employees happy and productive. Rasmussen is the founder and CEO of OpenBlend, building performance management software that combines traditional goals with other factors such as happiness and motivation.
“One of the main problems with hybrid work is that you can’t pass in front of people and see your feelings, so if someone is having a hard time, you may not know about it,” Rasmussen said. Says.
OpenBlend allows managers and their teams to check the status of their tasks at any time. It also helps managers understand the personal factors that can affect the success of a team’s work.
OpenBlend was launched before the pandemic, but Rasmussen says demand is growing. “Mass layoffs require clients to hire many new team members. As a manager, knowing your direct reports makes it easier to get the most out of your direct reports. .. This has made the onboarding process easier for everyone, “she says.
This increase in staff churn also raises salary and benefits issues. Zara Nanu is Gapsquare’s co-founder and chief executive officer. Gapsquare is a company that monitors salary data to ensure that the company is fairly rewarding its staff. She says that when employers hire, they often offer salaries at market rates rather than benchmarking against what they pay for other employees doing the same job. This can create a salary gap, as market rates are usually higher than the salaries given internally.
Hybrid work is also exacerbating wage inequality, according to Nanu. “”[Pay] Often it’s about who is in the meeting or office on the day the new project is discussed, and who is in the room when the new role is created. What we’ve seen from many customers over the past year is that many of the people who still enter the office are men. Now we have to ask the question of how to build a structure to keep people from being left behind. “
During the pandemic, the gender pay gap fell below the priority list, and the UK government suspended companies from requiring companies to publish wage gap figures. Gap square data allows companies to see if proximity bias is affecting salaries.
Nanu warns that the way information is interpreted depends on who is reading it. “We need to see how companies are using the data. Will they use it to generate fair wages, or” more people should come to the office “? Is not it? As you can see from the data, people who come to the office receive a promotion. “
The slow return to many physical workplaces in 2021, even before the arrival of the Omicron variant, indicates that staff are unlikely to return to their old working style.
Agarwal said: “Pre-Covid, the office was all-around and didn’t work. During Covid, working at home was all-around and didn’t work. At Postcovid, work weeks are tailored to organizations, teams, and individuals. Personalized. We’ve seen personalization permeate every aspect of our lives. It’s believed that ultimately employees can be more empowered to decide where and how they work. It’s an exciting watershed moment. “
For Rasmussen, the advantage of the new workplace technology is that it allows enterprises to be more agile in the transition to a hybrid work environment. Instead of installing complex software solutions, she argues that individual managers can start by trying them out.
“Not all of these processes and steps are needed. Only two people are having a conversation, which is a better conversation. It should be the same at home or in the office.”
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