#HowTo Create a Hybrid Remote and Office Work Model

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Before the COVID-19 pandemic, working from home was viewed as a novelty by most businesses and their employees. Now that the biggest work from home experiment has become the new normal, most are looking forward to their return to the office.

While offices plan to reopen again, not everyone is running back. Businesses are now learning that the right approach is to take it slow and plan for a more cautious, more flexible hybrid model, which balances the availability of work-from-home with a stable on-premises presence.

This model allows employees to build their work from home schedule at their leisure while still having the opportunity to come into the office to work and connect with their colleagues.

Yet creating the right hybrid work strategy has to come with a concrete plan to ensure that employees are connected whether they are working from home or the office, and also easily organized so that there is always an even balance of personnel between all environments.

Achieving this goal means empathizing with the needs of employees, and from a technological perspective, it relies on creating a more efficient, seamless digital working experience.

Hybrid Model: Hard to Accomplish

From collaboration inefficiencies to security risks, the hybrid model presents various challenges for businesses. IT managers typically are on the frontlines of the hybrid model in terms of dealing with difficulties, while a classic employee experience may only be higher latency or a small bump in the road.

With every new work environment, we tend to see a parallel increase in vulnerabilities and more sophisticated cyber-attacks on employees. These ongoing challenges can create a massive headache for IT managers as they are trying to secure devices, networks, and endpoints. However there are several steps that IT managers can take for a smoother and more secure transition into the new norm.

Networking and security challenges can increase with the new shift to a different work environment. From making sure that employees are using secure devices to network security deployed from the edge, the shift to the hybrid model requires rethinking security and other ideas central to organizations.

By considering the five ideas below, IT managers and their businesses can support a more strategic and efficient hybrid work model for employees.

Restructure Your Security Around Users

The idea of structuring your team to be more agile isn’t new, but it’s just theory until you decide what to focus on. For a hybrid model, being agile means knowing who is accessing what and where within the network, at all times. IT managers should prioritize complete visibility of the corporate network and resources, which will result in a more secure working environment.

Transform Employees into Security Influencers

Instead of putting all the responsibility in the hands of a few IT managers, businesses should look to transform leading employees into security advocates. Security should be a shared responsibility, even if you have a team of experts, and part of this team’s goal should be to educate employees on their security impact and instill its importance within the ranks.

Automate Security Policies

Maximize and simplify all things IT for the employees. When you're able to automate as many things as possible, it increases productivity. This is true when automating security policies for IT managers as well. Removing the manual aspect of security policies and instead, creating profiles that are auto-assigned to users and groups based on their identifiers, results in security becoming more autonomous and allows IT to design and analyze security rather than apply it.

Leverage New Productivity Technology

Working with the hybrid work model can put a toll on IT managers and employees. To make it easier, businesses should determine whether productivity technologies might suit their employees. I recommend trying different external or internal task management tools such as Monday.com, YouTrack, and SmartSheet to allow everyone to visualize the status of cross-department projects. Monitoring all tasks from a distance is key to establishing remote work efficiency.

Always Keep the Human Element Top of Mind

Often businesses underestimate the time and effort needed to complete a new transformation into the hybrid work model. What's most overlooked isn’t the technology but in fact, the human aspect.

IT and security managers should empathize with how employees adjust to remote work and prioritize bandwidth and support for digital tools or even experiences that boost satisfaction. Thinking of the human aspect first and technology second, truly enables a fine-tuned and productive hybrid workforce.

The hybrid work model brings with it a whole range of new challenges, but there are ways for organizations to get ahead while ensuring security and employee productivity. By putting a focus on the needs of employees and structuring technology around this, organizations can adjust to this model now and for the future.

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