Mixing home and office work – hybrid work – is no longer aspiration that was 12 months ago. Companies are assessing whether they need large office complexes and how to best change the working arrangements that best suit the staff and the companies they work for.
In the United Kingdom, the telecoms giant BT plans to reduce its fleet by 300 offices up to only 30. Global Insurance Company Aviva said 95% of its staff prefer more flexible working models. However, not everyone agrees. Many investment banks are keen to have staff back in the office as they believe that working from home can undermine the “apprentice-based” staffing model they use so effectively. Some staff prefer office work, partly for better collaboration, partly for social reasons and partly because the home environment for many, especially young people, is not ideal for working from home .
Finding a hybrid work balance
It is clear that there is a balance to be struck between the staff and their management. Hybrid work is not without risk, as it has implications for the people-process-technology paradigm that underlies all business processes.
However, do it right and it provides an opportunity to an attractive working environment for staff, making it easier to attract staff who value flexibility, while providing the ability to use valuable office space more efficiently.
If you’re wrong, a lot of issues emerge causing friction among staff, reduced collaboration, reduced quality of customer service, and increased costs, to name a few.
the good news For many companies, it is that the ad hoc workarounds created in early 2020 provide an excellent model on which to build robust and sustainable processes that will provide hybrid work. The systems and processes used in these workarounds, typically involving applications such as SharePoint, file shares, Dropbox accounts, email, and spreadsheets, mean they cannot be used “as is.” because they may lack control necessary to provide the transparency and auditability that companies typically need for a range of regulatory and audit requirements.
The best way to strengthen hybrid work?
the fastest, most economical way to enable hybrid work is to find the gaps in systems and processes that do not meet the needs of the business and then fill them with dedicated solutions that meet that immediate need.
Working with our clients, it seems that many basic business processes – CRM, accounting, payroll, etc. particularly well designed for hybrid work environments. Businesses face challenges in areas such as compliance management, policy management, and third-party risk management, which, while not high profile, are still at the heart of the business. and whose importance to the company increased during 2020/21.
Policy management – defining business processes, creating service delivery standards as well as detailing management approval levels for example – has undergone a major transformation in 2020, as office standards and processes have been adapted to accommodate home use. Travel policies have changed several times. Compliance systems and processes – used to assess and measure behavior against standards – have had to be upgraded to keep pace. These standards also had to be applied consistently throughout the supply chain to ensure consistency and reduce risk and impact potential problems.
Unify practices and systems
As we have seen from talking to customers, companies had third party policy and compliance and risk management systems in place before 2020. But they were often spread over different applications, in different departments, resulting in unified oversight across the enterprise extremely difficult. Multiple systems lead to multiple standards and definitions, many conflicts and inconsistencies, and operational inefficiencies that increase costs.
A hybrid work environment, with staff working regularly on several sites, requires unified policy management and compliance ensure that all staff, throughout the company, are always aware of their responsibilities, still of their location.
This should be tested and evaluated regularly, in order to highlight areas and factors of non-compliance. This image should also be escalated into the larger enterprise GRC management perspective. Similar principles should apply to supply chainbecause vendors will face the same issues, and the challenges and disruptions they encounter cannot impact their customers.