Hybrid workspaces offer many benefits, from increased business resilience and scalability to a better work-life balance for employees. As with any way of working, though, hybrid work environments do come with some challenges, particularly as businesses make the shift from a traditional central office model. However, with the right strategy and management tactics in place, organisations can overcome these and build a stronger hybrid workplace. In this blog, we’ll talk about four of the most common challenges in hybrid workspaces and how to solve them in a manner that expands your business capabilities.
1. Managing devices
In a traditional office environment, the IT team may have direct contact with the infrastructure - computers, printers and other devices - that they manage. In a hybrid work environment, many of the devices are in remote locations. Each remote worker is likely to have a laptop and printer for their home office, while any centralised workspaces will still need to be equipped with shared hardware, such as printers.
Fortunately, there’s an easy solution. Ensuring that all devices are web-enabled will allow your IT team to manage hardware using the cloud. A cloud-enabled printer, for example, can be set up remotely, monitored for security threats, updated as required, and new consumables ordered as needed, all without the need for IT to be physically present. By investing only in devices that are cloud-ready, you’ll be making your IT team’s job a lot easier, while also future-proofing your hardware for years to come.
2. Data security
Data security is one of the most significant challenges of a hybrid work environment. And throughout the pandemic, cyber attacks have increased by as much as 400 percent. More devices mean more endpoints that must be secured. Data stored in the cloud or document management systems (DMS) must be protected. And employees are often the largest risk of all, with phishing attacks now making up approximately 70 percent of cybercrime as threat actors attempt to gain access to people’s credentials.
The first step to improving your data protection is to conduct a security audit to identify vulnerabilities. Once you know where improvements are needed, there are a number of steps you can take to secure your data, including:
- Buying hardware with business-level security features, such as specialised home office printers with data encryption and network authentication
- Implementing Content Services security features, such as access controls, user authentication and secure backup
- Establishing a mobile security or bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policy
- Ensuring you understand your responsibilities for securing your cloud environment and implementing best practices, such as strong passwords, two-factor authentication and regular network security updates
- Conducting cybersecurity awareness training workshops with staff and informing them of current threats, such as phishing attacks
3. Inefficient workflows
In an office, employees have the benefit of being able to collaborate with one another physically. In a hybrid work environment, these opportunities for interaction move to online, and workflows could quickly become a challenge if the right tools are not implemented.
With the right tools in place, businesses can streamline processes while also achieving efficiencies in productivity and accuracy. One of the key solutions to invest in is an Enterprise Content Management (ECM), a central repository for documents that also uses the power of automation and artificial intelligence (AI) to streamline processes.
An ECM has the ability to set reminders for employees to complete different actions throughout a workflow. Version control can enable multiple team members to work on the same document at once, regardless of location. AI can automatically identify and classify documents, while also reducing processing errors, leaving staff free for other tasks. An approvals workflow can prompt managers to review requests without the employee spending valuable time chasing them down remotely.
Combining an ECM with other Content Services tools, such as e-signatures, instant messages, video conferencing and mobile printing, can quickly streamline your organisation’s processes and future-proof your business operations.
4. Remote employees
The final challenge common to hybrid workspaces is the isolation of team members, particularly those who work remotely. Managers must be deliberate in how they relate to their hybrid workforce, including all employees in collaborative meetings, social events and celebrations, regardless of their location. Additionally, they must consider the unity of the organisation as a whole, as adopting a hybrid work environment could exacerbate any business silos that could already exist between teams, reducing agility and resilience.
Fortunately, by implementing a hybrid workplace strategy, you have the opportunity to establish new best practices and ways of working. Start by investing in a business collaboration tool, such as Microsoft Teams, that will help you create a central digital environment where all staff interact, as well as provide space for subgroups to manage the day-to-day functions of their department independently. Then provide guidelines for how employees should communicate with one another, such as when to use a video call, or encouraging everyone to sign into meeting links individually, even when co-located. You’ll be surprised by how effective small changes like these can be in creating a sense of cohesion across your hybrid workforce.
Once you overcome these four challenges, your hybrid workspace is likely to be stronger and better prepared to help support future growth. For more information on implementing an effective hybrid workplace strategy, download our Smarter Workplaces Guide: Driving business transformation and resilience with hybrid work environments.
Kyocera Document Solutions provides innovative products, software and ICT services for hybrid work environments, enabling businesses to implement smart workplace solutions that drive business transformation and resilience.