Now that the worst seems to be over, and we try to pick up our old lives, covid still leaves its marks on corporate life. Working remotely turned out better than expected for most employees. It seems that the majority wants to hold on to this habit. Things are different in the office now too. It's less crowded. Antje Mentens, manager at staffing specialist Walters People, shares her view on hybrid working, and which impact it has on the office life.
The pandemic brought along a lot of changes for everyone. Maybe one of the most important amendments, that is still tangible today, is hybrid working. In full lockdown, work had to be done from home as much as possible. But now the pandemic’s worst seems to be over, most employees still choose to telework part-time. Is the demise of the office upon us/near then?
Antje Mentens, does not think that is the case. In the past couple of months, the question ‘How do we make sure staff members remain productive at home?’ shifted to ‘How do we keep them on board?”. The office may play a significant role in that. It is namely a place where employees can come together after a long time. For most, it is a joyful reunion and a first real introduction for juniors and starters. On top of that, a change of environment often stimulates the level of productivity.
Refining skill set
Hybrid working is here to stay, it does not seem to be going away soon. Both working from home and working in the office is a part of that. Antje: “The new way of working also means that the skill set of employees has changed tremendously. They need to be more technical and more communicative. For example: following a meeting from distance can bring some IT problems. Reacting fast to these kind of problems is essential. The same goes for communicating. Being heard in an online meeting is slightly more difficult than being heard in a physical meeting with colleagues.
In addition, offices gradually look different. A simple row of desks is less and less of an option. Today, workers come to the office primarily to be with their colleagues. "Organisations that respond to this by making the office atmosphere a little more homely will find that this has a positive effect on their staffs' well-being," says Antje.
“The downfall of the office seems grossly exaggerated” concludes Antje. “Hybrid working does change our working lives, but that is certainly not a bad thing. It is mainly a matter of keeping a close eye on trends and responding to them. Think, for example, of upgrading on technical skills, so that working at home goes just as smoothly as at the office."