The future of return to work: adapting to hybrid work environments
Work as we know it has undeniably changed and most companies have had to adapt to remote working. However, with the future still uncertain, it’s important to adapt your business to accommodate remote working indefinitely, returning to work, or a mix of the two. And while this brings new challenges such as a lack of visibility to employees, possible productivity issues, and even safety and security risks, companies need to focus on their fundamentals, seek unified technology solutions. and adapt to the rapidly changing work environments of the future.
For businesses that cannot survive remotely, safety and security measures must be in place before allowing employees to return to work. Along with the challenges of remote working, many businesses have obviously experienced a financial downturn. According to a study by the SMB group, “53% of SME revenues have declined since March, when the COVID-19 pandemic began. This means that organizations must rethink traditional models and remove inefficient processes to survive. Knowing that no one knows what to expect, it is essential that businesses use this time to develop updated strategies and implement new technologies, learning from businesses that are thriving during this difficult time.
Avi Levinson, director of property management at Royal York, has found new ways to thrive, including embracing remote work without planning to return to the office. Royal York specifically deals with the property management of single family homes, which means it works with a large number of landlords and tenants. As a business reliant on in-person engagement, it’s hard to imagine a world where Royal York can be successful without hosting in-person presentations. Human relations are essential in this type of business. Yet they defied the odds by creating new processes and using technology to empower their workforce. Instead of continuing to operate as before in an environment where it clearly wouldn’t work, Royal York used technology to adapt quickly. By automating various elements of their customer journey and providing staff with the information they need both in the office and working with clients (via virtual projections and more), they have been able to reinvent traditional property management and increase the internal productivity so that they can handle more business with the same workforce. This increase in revenue has allowed them to expand their businesses and even hire new employees to keep pace with the growth.
Royal York was able to take its entire business from a distance, placing more emphasis on collaboration and communication processes and tools. For businesses that can’t go entirely remotely, collaboration is still essential and tools need to be integrated with relevant business applications to ensure teams have the right context to be effective. Fully integrated tools can automate manual and repetitive tasks, whether it’s automating project management or your customer journey. For example, if you use spreadsheets to track sales or a project and need to update details and notes separately in your CRM, it will help reduce wasted time and prevent your business from running more smoothly. Continuing to automate customer touchpoints throughout their lifecycle will also contribute to retention and revenue growth.
For companies that choose to return to work, their model needs to fit both a workplace and employees still working from home, but collaboration tools are only one piece of the puzzle. Most companies find that their people are still communicating and collaborating successfully, but their technology needs to go beyond and contribute to business results rather than just productivity. Royal York was able to do this by using collaboration software in the context of a new work paradigm that integrates collaboration, productivity and communication tools into other business processes.
It is essential to look beyond the surface capabilities of these tools and ensure that they fit well into the ecosystem your teams are already using, expanding access to the information and tools they have. need, where they need it. When your sales team views a customer record in CRM, for example, they should be able to see more than just customer information. They should have a clear picture that includes everything from their last payment and any open support tickets to the last time they were on your website to what they rated you in a recent survey. By providing all of this information in one place, you will not only automate processes, but also help employees do their jobs better, especially if they are remotely.
It’s completely understandable to be overwhelmed by new hybrid work environments and what’s to come. However, whether your business chooses to return to work in the office soon or to work remotely indefinitely, collaboration and productivity tools paired with a dynamic strategy to improve employee experience and productivity will enable growth. It’s obvious that collaboration software is at the forefront of hybrid work environments, but let’s look beyond that. Using this technology in the context of a new work paradigm to establish data consistency across your organization will allow easy adaptation and new growth in a changing work environment.
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