The hybrid or blended work model initially brought about by the global COVID-19 pandemic is reshaping the future of workplaces as well as work arrangements. Most companies have shifted to a hybrid model, as it enables a happy medium of combining working remotely with going to the office, and it is being hailed as the new normal.

Jessica Kruger

These days, many companies are not committing to office space, says Jessica Kruger, Product Marketing Manager at Tarsus On Demand. “Workforces can now work at any time and from any place. If they have no power due to load shedding, for example, they can work from a coffee shop or they could rent space for a day in one of many shared spaces, if needed.”

She says this means that businesses need to change their environment to suit their employees’ needs. “The real benefit of a hybrid work model is that staff members can opt to work wherever and whenever they please. In this way, they can work around the times they need to drop children at school or extracurricular activities, or even fit in an appointment with the doctor or dentist.

There is no black, white, or grey anymore, there’s a mixture of opportunity to work from anywhere, adds Kruger. “If we learned anything from the shift to remote work, it’s that we are fully able to organise our working days to meet the needs of our own schedules. These days, we are able to work around our life, not our life around our work.”

For businesses, she says, it’s about understanding the needs of their employees. “A blended model can not only facilitate flexibility, it can empower individuals to work to their strengths, which in turn enhances productivity. Companies who encourage a culture that looks at hybrid working environments as an excellent alternative to working only from the office, can find a good balance of creativity and collaboration. Staff members who prefer peace and quiet to focus on the task at hand can work at home, and those who thrive in an office setting can be given the option of doing so. Everyone is empowered to work where and when they are most productive.”

According to Kruger, the corporate environment no longer exists, there is no more “8 to 5”,. “Companies are adjusting to staff needs these days, not the other way around. Working hours are no longer restricted, and businesses need to be agile and adaptable to their employees, even if they still have a 60% at the office, 40% remote working arrangement.”

She stresses that to make a success of the hybrid environment, companies need to have the correct measures in place. “They need to have that trust even if their employees are not strictly online during traditional hours that the work is still getting done. Employees, teams, managers, and the companies themselves will get the best out of a blended work model once they understand their own environment and business needs.”

To prepare appropriately, companies need to have certain tools and systems in place too, Kruger explains. “They need to have good Internet connections. They need to have conference rooms set up, and the right software in place both at the offices and in their employees’ homes – software that works across home and office environments. They also need complimentary hardware installed to ensure they can hold hybrid meetings, and that collaboration and interaction between staff members can still happen.”

She adds a caveat: “There are dangers in hybrid environments too. In an era of “Bring Your Own Everything” the attack surface is far broader, and security needs to extend beyond the corporate perimeter, and cover applications, endpoints and environments. For example, users working from a coffee shop run the risk of connecting to unsecured Wi-Fi, which can pose a serious security threat. Getting hacked can give attackers a foot in the door of the company network, and enable them to move laterally, performing reconnaissance and exfiltrating information.”

She says organisations should ensure they have the right tools in place, such as firewalls, identity and access management, risk management and multi-factor authentication – all of which add a much-needed extra layers of security.

Moreover, to keep company data safe, they should employ a cloud-based solution that focuses on mobile device management (MDM) and mobile application management (MAM). “With a good solution, companies can control how their devices are used, including mobile phones, tablets, and laptops. They have the ability to configure specific policies to control applications, for instance, that could prevent emails from being sent to any individuals outside the business if they chose to. A good solution would also allow employees in the company to use their personal devices for work, and at the same time, ensure that proprietary company data stays protected and kept isolated from personal data.”

For more information, contact the Tarsus On Demand team