The pandemic turned our lives upside down. It brought about significant changes in the way people worked throughout the world.
Traditional in-office work models were replaced overnight with remote work. For a majority of the employee population, it turns out all they needed was a laptop and a stable internet connection to keep going. For businesses, it was technology that took center stage.
Remote work has its own challenges, but employees could still work on business deliverables while enjoying flexibility like never before. It led to the debate if working from the office was necessary as employees could be productive from home.
Organizations that forced employees to work from the office saw top talent, leaving them high and dry. Today a hybrid or remote work model is one of the first things prospective employees look for.
The article will look at in-office, hybrid, and work-from-home models, the role of technology, and how CTOs can create a supportive environment regardless of the work model.
How Effective are In-Office, Work-From-Home, and Hybrid Work Models?
Working from home has become a norm for many companies in the past couple of years. So how did the employees fare? According to the 2021 Owl Labs’ report on the State of Remote Work, it was found that for 90% of employees, productivity did not suffer. On the contrary, they were as productive or more working from home.
84% of employees reported that they would be more than happy to work from home. Interestingly, they were even willing to take a pay cut.
As working from offices was deemed safe, employees were given a chance to work in a hybrid mode, splitting time between working from home and the office.
According to a survey by DeskTime, it was found that, though marginal, hybrid workers were the most productive. Remote and in-office workers followed closely behind.
If we go by these surveys, all of these work models deliver similar results in terms of productivity and effectiveness. As a CTO, you need to figure out a digital strategy that will work regardless of the chosen work model.
What are the Drawbacks of These Work Models?
Remote workers are as effective as in-office workers, but the problem is that they work longer hours. According to the DeskTime survey mentioned above, remote workers worked for an hour more than in-office and hybrid workers.
Employees may be happy working from home initially, but the extra hours can blur the lines between personal and professional lives. Workers have reported feeling lonely. This can lead to burnout in the long run.
A hybrid work model was supposed to be the answer, but juggling between home and office is difficult. It does not give employees the chance to set into a routine, and it can get exhausting. Hybrid could still be the answer going forward but it needs much better organization and planning.
Interestingly even with these drawbacks, employees are not ready to work from the office full-time. A survey by McKinsey found that Americans are looking to embrace flexible work. 87% of the employee respondents work remotely one or more days per week.
What Do CTOs Think About the Changing Work Environment?
Hiring and retaining top talent while maintaining the budget is one of the top challenges faced by companies.
According to Narek Verdian, CTO of Glovo the competition for skilled tech workers is at an all-time high as entirely remote positions are now a reality. His company is currently focusing on better managing the hybrid workforce as they believe in face-to-face collaboration.
Another challenge is the software used. According to Tomas Vocetka, CTO of Omio, it is time to identify core business tools. This process is essential to cut down costs, streamline tools and manage security.
Remote work may be viable for small organizations. But when organizations reach a particular stage, a hybrid work model may be the practical option as we advance.
The right work model depends on the unique requirements of your business. Considering factors like employee demands, productivity, budget, IT infrastructure, security, talent, and mental well-being of employees may help you decide.
How Can CTOs Help Businesses Move Forward?
Regardless of the work model, here are some practices businesses can implement to leverage technology going forward.
Understand What Your Employees Need
It is your employees who will be using the technology you bring in and the processes you set. So, involving them in the big picture would be a good idea.
Your ultimate goal is to ensure they have all the tools necessary to work independently and collaborate when needed. Try to understand their pain points. You can use surveys to get their opinions.
This way, you can develop a solution best suited to your team’s needs. They will also be more open to the changes you implement.
Build a Supportive Infrastructure
The above survey may help you identify gaps in your existing systems. For example, the ticketing software you use may be outdated. It could be the reason teams cannot effectively collaborate, and customer satisfaction is low.
On the other hand, you may have invested in good ticketing software, but your employees are underutilizing its features. In this case, training is what your employees need.
A supportive infrastructure means investing in technologies that help protect data and applications and lets employees work, connect and complete deliverables without any technical bottlenecks.
As a CTO, you can lessen the burden on your employees, hire the right technical talent and automate processes by working with an MSP.
For example, you can leverage services like IT help desk service providers and let a skilled third-party team handle queries for employees and customers. This frees up employee time which can be better spent on core business objectives.
The choice of the right work model is a difficult one. Some companies like JPMorgan Chase do not stand by remote work as they believe it translates into losing culture and character. In contrast, companies like PwC are embracing a hybrid work model to let employees be more agile.
Work from home and hybrid are work models that are here to stay. As a CTO, you must work with your employees to understand what works best for them while they continue driving businesses forward.