11 Apr Building a business case for hybrid working
Nowadays, we hear ‘hybrid working’ so often that we can be forgiven for thinking it’s easy. But for organisations that want to introduce a hybrid working model, and implement the technology to support it, the conversation can feel perilous. So how can you build a constructive business case that meets the needs of your people, stakeholders and operations?
What is hybrid working?
Let’s start with the basics. There are different types of hybrid working.
1. Every employee has complete flexibility to work at will on-site or remotely.
2. Every employee has a designated rota of on-site and remote days.
3. Some employees work fully on-site, some employees work fully remote.
4. Some employees have flexibility, some work full-time in one location.
There could even be other permutations but none of the options are right or wrong. Depending on your sector, your core services, and the size of your organisation, any of them could apply to you. You might already know which of these setups will suit you best.
But like any large scale project, the first step is to consider the perspectives of your key stakeholders and your people. Find out what they need to communicate and collaborate effectively. You can then build a business case that gathers all the data, resources and insights. It must also balance the potential ROI of switching to a hybrid working model.
The three factors you need to consider when talking to stakeholders
Depending on where your stakeholders sit within the business, three arguments are likely to be raised: productivity, staffing and culture. These core principles were introduced by Mark Mortensen, an associate professor in organisational behaviour, following hundreds of hours of interviews with business leaders in 2021.
Keeping these principles at the forefront of your mind will ensure you’re well equipped going into conversations with key stakeholders, helping you develop a critical standpoint on the different needs and perspectives within your organisation.
Some argue that working side-by-side in an office allows for seamless communication. While others may say their team has been even more productive in remote working conditions where they can manage their schedule and be free of office distractions. Whichever side of the debate you’re on, hybrid working clearly impacts collaboration.
This conversation is particularly relevant for your colleagues in operations tasked with identifying the optimal form of working arrangements to ensure your organisation delivers on its promises.
The question of a great resignation proves that some employees will quit if not granted some flexibility. It also stands to reason that companies who don’t offer this will be at a disadvantage when attracting and retaining quality talent. Ensuring this factor is taken into account is an important objective for HR.
There are widely differing opinions on whether it’s possible to communicate company cultural beliefs and behaviours in a remote world and how to best do so. As culture is often implicitly understood, this argument is difficult to substantiate.
The important takeaway is that hybrid working shouldn’t erode the culture that has made your organisation what it is and actively seek ways to support it. Your hybrid working model should also build a culture of trust, where management trusts employees to stay engaged and productive from remote locations.
What are the operational benefits of hybrid working?
To make hybrid a true success, you need robust technology. Ensure your business and your people achieve their goals from any location. As a result of implementing this technology, you stand to optimise efficiency. To define success, you need to explore what a positive outcome looks like for you, whether that be gains in productivity, business growth or staff retention.
Communication and collaboration tools can remove everyday friction and enable your teams to connect, collaborate and create seamlessly wherever they are. By replicating the ease of jumping on a video call remotely in an in office environment you can make the office a destination again, where employees can come together to collaborate and seek inspiration. And when meetings run smoothly, applications work reliably, and collaboration is frictionless, your business is more productive and, in turn, more competitive.
To power these applications, you will need infrastructure to carry and store the communication traffic as well as the cybersecurity measures to protect you from network breaches. Putting all this in place requires expertise from a trusted partner. The agility and flexibility these types of solutions provide will substantially accelerate the digital transformation of your organisation.
By identifying the positive impact of the technology investments you could make to support your hybrid working model, you can impress your stakeholders most concerned with productivity and culture.
What are the people benefits of hybrid working?
Hybrid working has several people benefits, including increased morale and employee engagement. It also boosts employee retention and creates an enhanced talent pool.
It also empowers organisations to become more diverse and inclusive by enabling access to talented individuals who may have previously been unable to apply, due to inflexible set working hours or locations. This can only be positive, leading to diverse views and experiences which can generate creativity and productivity.
Surveying UK businesses on their remote working practices, the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) has also revealed the following stats which support long-term flexible or hybrid working models. Not only do these statistics show a positive outlook for employees it also shows gains for employers. By putting people at the centre of decision making, it improves overall outcomes and user adoption.
- 46% of employees believe they have seen increased wellbeing simply for having greater flexibility of their working hours.
- 34% of the respondents believe that flexible working leads to creative collaboration via IT.
- 33% felt that there was a reduction in distractions.1
Ricoh can help you enable hybrid working
As an organisation, we see hybrid working as the keystone to unlocking human potential, innovation and productivity. We work with organisations to implement successful hybrid working models. We also grant our own people flexible-first hybrid working arrangements. Explore our digital workspace solutions.
Hybrid working may seem ubiquitous, but by its very nature, it is rewriting the rules of the workplace. It is important to understand all the perspectives around you to lead change within your organisation in a positive way. If you are the person in your business pushing the hybrid working agenda, we can help you formalise your plans by introducing you to innovative digital workspace solutions and through discovery with our expert digital consultants, contact our team to find out more.
Or discover our on-demand webinars, giving you the latest advice and guidance from industry experts to help you to navigate the changing business landscape.