To truly optimize time spent in the office, we should use digital storytelling tools to create interactions and connections that have the most lasting impact in the least amount of time. Digital storytelling is the perfect tool for this because it can create immersive experiences that have an emotional impact – fast. This makes them more engaging, and more memorable.
Time in the office should be rationally optimized, and this entails taking a careful look at what actually needs to be done in-person. According to PwC’s 2021 US Remote Work Survey, executives who want to optimize their hybrid offices should strive to “Communicate what people can expect to accomplish at home and in the office.” In other words, we need to make sure that what is done in-office cannot be done elsewhere.
The goal of being present should be to generate productive output – sure, but critically executives need to do something else, according to the report: “to make visits to the office an experience that enhances relationships and the company culture.”
There’s no easy way to do this remotely, so it should be a primary objective for time spent in-office. There are numerous digital storytelling tools that can assist in achieving this ‘soft’ value, while meeting a variety of additional, strategically important end-goals.
Staying flexible about location
Everywhere you look, executives are ‘energized and enthused’ about our imminent return to the office – possibly more than the rest of the company. Research from the Future Forum has shown that while 44% of executives want staff to return full time, only 17% of the employees feel the same way.
While staff are excited about restoring the social aspects of working, there is a clear preference for spending at least some of our time conducting focused work at home.
There is considerable variability in expectations, however. When we look at different people’s preferences for the number of days spent in the office, we continue to see a divergence of opinion; 75% of executives would be happy with 3 to 5 days in the office, versus only 34% of their employees. There is also a big difference in how people feel about home working in general, often falling along demographic and ‘life-stage’ lines. Given that 57% of knowledge workers are open to a new job, it’s imperative that executives create a flexible office environment that works for everyone, to avoid losing valuable staff. Again, digital storytelling technologies can assist in this – especially those powered by the Hyro platform, because it can handle the complexity and flexibility demanded for hosting hybrid events. This makes it already capable of managing hybrid working and collaboration too.
The enduring value of hybrid work
Hybrid working has a value that persists far beyond dealing with the coronavirus pandemic. It adds structural resilience to the workforce, who are able to continue working remotely in case of localized IT problems or transportation issues.
It is reasonable to assume that, thanks to a distributed workforce, absenteeism due to ‘regular’ infectious diseases like influenza will be greatly reduced – and, should the next pandemic suddenly surprise us, we’re already prepared. This builds-in resilience to our teams, by creating and supporting a broad-based, more diverse workforce.
Hybrid and remote working has demonstrated that it is highly productive and efficient – more so than the old ways.
In the early stages of the pandemic, productivity increased substantially when workers were able to get on with focused work at home. However as it dragged on, this productivity waned as more time was spent in endless meetings. Many workers felt that progress started to stall due to a lack of sufficient time, and the disappearance of spontaneous interactions in the office which would normally catalyze cross-departmental solutions.
Mental well-being has also played a role, as many workers started to miss out on the positive feedback of social interactions with colleagues.
The consensus now supports the need for a hybrid workplace that enables workers to conduct focused work-sprints at home, and then coming into the office well-rested, and fully prepared for purposeful meetings and team-working.
The role of executives is to facilitate this with new methods and technologies that make the most from time spent in犀利士 the office, and enable hybrid teams to collaborate seamlessly on projects – wherever they are.