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Navigating the hybrid world: Remote Everything - how tech is allowing us to live our lives by proxy

25 Apr 2022
Peter Terry-Brown 

Peter Terry-Brown

Unified Communications and Connectivity Director
Vodafone Business

The world is at our fingertips – never has that phrase applied more to businesses, thanks to the changes they have made over the last two years.

When we reflect on the lessons we learnt during 2021, technology came out as the top driver of success during the pandemic, and so should be the focus for businesses hoping to run efficiently and effectively, regardless of what the future throws at them.

Thanks to our Fit for the Future (FFTF) report, we know that businesses share this sentiment– 76% of businesses agree that the faster adoption of new technology is a good thing, with most businesses agreeing that greater flexibility in where people work is also beneficial.

This is not much of a surprise, as we only need to reflect on our own experiences to realise that hybrid working is empowering businesses to do things in new ways and is enabling everyone to adopt more balanced lifestyles.

Remote working takes centre stage

We recently caught up with our partner Oracle which, like many businesses, recognises that the expectations of employees are changing, with flexible working arrangements becoming a must-have for employee morale and company culture.

In fact, most businesses say that supporting flexible working hours is becoming more important for the recruitment and retention of staff.

Realising that more people want to work from home, businesses are investing in tech to help support them. A quarter of businesses said they’re planning to make strategic investments to support flexible working hours and are investing in technology to help support remote working, while half of ‘fit for the future’ businesses said the same.

However, embracing a hybrid working model didn’t come without concerns.

73% of businesses report that at least one aspect of company culture is becoming more difficult, with productivity levels being a key concern amongst a third of businesses. Topping the list were issues such as developing and maintaining strong working relationships, keeping up employee morale and motivation and enabling collaboration between individuals and teams.

Despite these concerns, ‘fit for the future’ businesses remain optimistic about the role of technology in enabling their employees to flourish in a hybrid working world.

Adapting to the world of hybrid working

To address concerns around productivity, half of businesses said they’re improving the quality of digital or virtual meetings, while 46% said they were enhancing their IT support system for their employees.

When looking at company culture, our research revealed that ‘fit for the future’ businesses are significantly more likely to continue provisions such as remote social events, setting up digital communities and sending employees messages of solidarity and encouragement beyond the Covid-19 crisis, compared to other businesses.

It’s about transforming company culture and thinking about how to bring teams together with both a physical and virtual mix. In-person interactions will remain important, even in a digital world, as without it you risk losing your innovation.

It is this distinct mindset towards the development and adoption of new technology and hybrid working that enables ‘fit for the future’ organisations to excel in the new working world, not just survive.

Following this change, business leaders also need to rethink the way they attract, hire, train and equip their employees. Adapting the recruiting process to source the best people for the job but also moving to more output-based models, rather than focusing on where and when employees are doing work.

Those that can show they offer flexibility, have strong core values, and cater for a diverse workforce, will be better placed to attract, and retain outstanding candidates.

Any business can become ‘fit for the future’ – it begins by adopting an adaptable, open mindset and looking into the changes that will have most impact for your business. Start your journey now.

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