In the second article in this series of blogs about introducing or making changes to hybrid working arrangments, Anne Broome revisits the ideas we originally shared in our report, How to Make Hybrid Working Work.
After recommending treating any change to your hybrid working arrangements as a change programme, Anne turns her attention to the importance of data.
Understand the stories behind your data
Understanding the nuances of an organisation and its people is crucial when adapting or creating hybrid working arrangements. When this understanding is informed with data, you will be equipped to take an evidence-based, strategic approach.
Quantitative and qualitative data play a crucial role in understanding the current state, designing the future, and tracking the success of implementation when changing your approach to hybrid working.
There are several circumstances when these data will enable better decisions, from creating or adapting the approach, to designing office space, to performance management.
Using data when designing or adapting a hybrid workspace
Data forms a key part of informing the design of a hybrid organisation, from understanding how people work to creating optimal workspaces.
Collecting data on how people work and their activities can provide accurate insight from which to design a hybrid work policy. The difference between how people would work on a collaborative, functional or cross-functional team project versus leadership sessions, administrative tasks, or concentrated, individual work will vary significantly. Similarly, people working with tangible equipment or products need spaces adapted for this type of work.
Activity analysis to understand the types of work completed at a functional, team or individual level may influence the hybrid model that is the best fit for an organisation. This is also an excellent opportunity to review and potentially improve the value add and non-value add activity in an organisation’s processes.
Understanding how people work will also provide valuable insight into the collaboration that happens in your organisation and how it happens.
Understanding the time spent in meetings – and whether these are online or in the office – will provide insights into work patterns that enable a hybrid approach that supports outputs, focus and deadlines.
Using data to understand how people work will also allow an organisation to create an office environment and workspace that supports effective work and provides a great working experience for employees. Hybrid offices of the future may be designed to provide open-plan collaborative spaces or quiet library-style areas.
Gathering data about how and when desk space is used and whether meeting rooms are routinely over or under capacity, will help space planners understand the future requirements for office space, and specifically the need for collaborative spaces, hot desks, innovation hubs, and one-to-one meeting areas.
“Employees are being tempted back to the office for social and networking reasons.”
Research has shown that employees are being tempted back to the office for social and networking reasons. Understanding how people work and combining this with their personal drivers for returning to the office will support the creation of a productive and pleasant working environment.
Another dimension is looking at where people best work. This may be in a central office, a branch, shop or warehouse. Alternatively, it might be on-site with a supplier, at home or even in a cafe. Gathering data on where people are most productive will inform the hybrid working strategy and ensure employees have the devices, security, and connectivity they need to work from all locations.
Talking to people and collecting qualitative insights will help us understand the stories behind the data. Involving leaders in focus groups to discuss needs and options can be powerful in ensuring policies and decisions are closely connected to the employees who work with them.
Using data post-implementation
As with any change programme, it is important to monitor the success of a new hybrid approach once the change has been implemented.
One of the most controversial elements of hybrid working is related to its impact on productivity, with the debate broadly divided between workers who think they are more productive at home and bosses who believe the reverse!
Data can also be used to support processes that may change due to hybrid work. For example, KPIs and measures for performance management may change. Productivity measures will need to focus on outcomes rather than presenteeism in the office and will form a part of a potentially new look performance management approach (more on this in a later blog).
Measuring and analysing a hybrid work policy post-implementation is important to measure the success and take any corrective action required. Understanding employee sentiment, team cohesion and collaboration will enable an organisation to monitor the success of a change to the hybrid policy and act where necessary. Employee perception of and satisfaction with a hybrid work model will play a crucial role in retaining employees.
There is a variety of ways in which rich insights can be gleaned from data. Understanding the stories behind the data – not just the numbers – will support the successful implementation or adaptation of hybrid working arrangements or any change project.
According to a study by Capgemini Invent, organisational change success increases by 27 per cent when there is a high level of data maturity in the organisation; by 23 per cent when there is data-driven leadership; and by 26 per cent within a data-driven culture.
So put data at the heart of any change to your hybrid working arrangements to maximise your chances of success.Talk to us about helping you change your approach to hybrid
1 Work Trend Index Special Report. Hybrid Work Is Just Work. Are We Doing It Wrong? Sept 2022 and What have the past three years taught us about hybrid working?. The Guardian, MarchDownload How TO MAKE hybrid working work