The hybrid workplace: Making remote working, work

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December 27, 2021

Companies need to have the right digital platform to enable a hybrid work environment and ensure business continuity.

If the recent global health crisis has taught us anything, it’s that the ability to work digitally is essential for companies to ensure business continuity in an unpredictable world. It’s safe to say, no matter the size, all companies have been impacted by the world events over the last couple of years.

When the pandemic hit, everything changed. Companies had to suddenly make remote working work — almost overnight. While many companies had no prior plan in place for remote working, they knew they had to launch their businesses into the digital workplace if they were going to survive.

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The hybrid work environment has now become the new norm in our emerging digital-first ecosystem. It offers a combination of in-office and remote working  experiences to help ensure productivity.

The good news, from a business perspective is, we’ve discovered that remote working can actually have a very positive impact on the workplace, as traditional work environments take a back seat.

We are now seeing a massive change in the way people use office spaces. Anything that doesn’t require face-to-face interaction, or access to on-site tools is fairgame for remote work. Video conferencing has gone from something that was a “nice-to-have”, to something that is “essential”.

The office is no longer a central space for managing the entire business. Managers are being challenged to consider how they interact with their workers, and how they delegate within the team. It’s important to ensure remote workers have access to the same opportunities as those in the office, and checking in on the psychology of the team is imperative. Feelings of isolation can lead to disengagement and stress. The workforce must feel connected, even when working from home.

Over the longer term, companies need to consider how to address continued collaboration and teamwork as employees move toward a model where, even when they are working together, they won’t always be located in the same physical space. That means people within the remote working landscape won’t have the same impromptu interactions they used to have around the water cooler. Businesses will need to create more bonding opportunities for staff.

It’s also worth thinking about managers’ accountability as they interact with employees, from onboarding new staff and understanding training requirements, to managing productivity and providing guidance — all from a distance.

The hybrid workplace is not a new concept for ALE, as we have been engaged in remote working since 2008. What is new is the growing focus on employee engagement and business processes.

It’s important to understand what kind of support team members need from day-one. Companies will need to rethink how they train and coach their employees to thrive remotely. Additionally, business leaders will need to be coached on how to work more effectively with a remote team and ensure everyone stays engaged.

On the business process side, companies will need to think about business operations workflows, and how to digitise them. Digital transformation is only going to continue.

Hybrid work can be a powerful opportunity for any business, but can’t be implemented overnight. Businesses need to ensure they have the right digital platform to enable the right hybrid landscape to ensure ongoing growth.

Learn more about ALE Digital Age Communications for hybrid work environments.

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Eric Lechelard

Director, Human Resources, Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise International - France

With more than 20 years of experience in telecommunications and IT, and five years as Human Resources Director of the ALE International French entity, Eric Lechelard is responsible for supporting all teams in the ALE International group strategic transformation.

Eric’s expertise in professional services and customer services (customer care) has provided him with a variety of opportunities in the services industry, including management of the professional services teams for Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise. He has led pre-sales, design, architecture, and 24-7 operations activities of all communications and network solutions for a strategic customer; a large US-based hospital group. He was also responsible for ALE global customer support activities, prior to being named Director of ALE International’s Human Resources team.

In addition to an engineering degree in telecommunications and networks, Eric trained in services and sales, and obtained a Master 2 in Human Resources Management at the IAE of Caen in 2017.

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