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How Hybrid Working Will Shape the Way We Work  

As employees take tentative steps to return to the office, many businesses are wrestling with the kind of work model they should adopt. Full-time in the office? Remote? Or somewhere in between?

Research shows that 41% of employers will adopt hybrid working within two years. And only 30% expect to have their workforce fully back in the office before 2023.

Despite the reactionary stance of some companies, the way businesses operate has inevitably changed, and the hybrid model will only continue to gain traction. Even the UK Government recognizes the need to be flexible as it explores the idea of granting new employees the right to request flexible working.

From presenteeism to productivity

A critical mind shift induced by the pandemic has been a focus away from presenteeism. The idea of gauging productivity by time spent in the office is fast being becoming a thing of the past.

Covid-19 has taught companies that outputs and achievements are what matters, not how long employees sit at a desk.

Recognizing this means that as long as they are productive and effective, their location doesn’t matter.

Hybrid working is mainly about listening to employees and tailoring an approach that works for them. For some, the office is preferable as they thrive on human interaction. Younger workers or new hires, for example, may prefer to be based in the office to socialize or learn from colleagues. Others may lack a suitable working environment at home. And for some, working from home but spending occasional time in the office provides the optimal combination.

Creating an office fit for purpose

To cater for these changes, the role of the office is being reappraised. Companies such as Dropbox are completely rethinking the office environment. Considering that workers no longer need permanent spaces in buildings, the company is reducing its office requirements, opting for smaller settings, and developing them into more collaborative spaces.

Going forward, in-office working will focus on meeting customers, learning from others and informal chats. It will support divergent thinking – collaborative activities driven by human connection, such as generating ideas, imagining new processes, and brainstorming that cannot be replicated remotely.

Today, every company needs to determine the purpose of its office space to complement the new working realities.

Overcoming distraction to bring focus

Employees also need the right tools to adapt to hybrid working. The past 18 months have seen an explosion of disparate platforms and apps to support communications, collaboration, process flows, and data management. But do they truly achieve this?

Many of these tools have become ‘weapons of mass distraction’. Instead of helping employees get more done, they interrupt and prevent proper focus. They lead to habitual multitasking, firefighting, and switching – and ultimately, work fragmentation that prevents deep, productive work.

According to one study, once distracted from a task, “it takes an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds to get back to the task.” So the solutions designed to support workers are actually making them less efficient.

At Scoro, we’re helping address this challenge. For us, less is more. Multiple applications and logins fragment thinking and how people work. Reduce these and the time wasted switching between applications, and productivity improves. We’ve developed our platform to allow this.

Whether accessing a calendar, quoting for jobs, or managing invoicing, everything’s integrated into one place and is only a few clicks away. The result? Fewer apps to master and easy access to information reduce the time to complete a task. This approach also helps cut out unnecessary meetings so that employees can focus on critical work.

The emergence of the Chief Time Officer

Productivity is about maximizing time. For any company, time is a critical – but often overlooked – resource. This is especially true for those in the business of time, such as agencies and consultancies, where time is money. But many are missing the chance to maximize both.

Every enterprise has a Chief Financial Officer to control how income and expenditure are used efficiently. But when it comes to the precious commodity of time, this isn’t even considered. However, as our working patterns change, there is an increasing call for a new position – the Chief Time Officer.

Like money, time must be managed similarly. Focusing on time brings commercial and operational benefits, streamlining work and making companies more effective. A Chief Time Officer can help deliver these, while also combating the weapons of mass distraction. But it’s only by introducing such a role that time will become a front-of-mind priority for a business.

Understanding that employees work differently and giving them the autonomy to achieve objectives in their own way will help make hybrid working successful. Meanwhile, businesses must provide the right tools that help, not hinder, their work and reappraise how time is invested across the organization to ensure productivity.

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