Tax & Accounting Blog

Hybrid working. We’ve adapted. But where is this all heading?

Accountancy Practices, Blog, Tax, Technology February 2, 2022

In the fast-paced technological environment we are living in, the meaning of hybrid working could, and probably will change rapidly over the coming years. What did hybrid working look like to you 20 years ago? What did it look like 2 years ago and where will it be in the next 20 years? I’m sure we will all be back in the office 5 days a week, but who knows maybe it will be through virtual reality headsets.

According to the Office of National Statistics, over 11 million people work from home around Britain. This is a 48% increase since 2018. Let that sink in, 48%. But what does that actually look like? In many cases, like myself, it’s the change from going into an office 5 days per week, to going through a period of working from home for 5 days per week, to now a more ‘flexible’ approach. 3-4 days working from home, 1-2 days in the office – I mean what else are we going to do with all our spare bedrooms converted into home offices? Out with the spare bed, in with the office desk! My visiting family will have to sleep on the floor.

With such an increase in hybrid working, what does that mean for employees and employers. It looks like it’s working, companies are still productive, maybe even more so in some cases. Reduced overheads, Office needs, travel expenses – we’ve adapted. But where is this all heading?

What to look out for?

Because the world we live in is so fast paced, we need to be ever vigilant and aware of the changes that are occurring. We must aim to stay ahead of the times, at least plotting the course of change and allowing for that adaptability within your workplace whether, employer or employee. What have been the benefits of hybrid working, but also consider the negatives. What’s been easier and what’s been more difficult? Will these changes grow as the years go on? How can you adapt?

I’ve done so by integrating tools into my work life to make things easier. Pre-empting the new requests and demands of my role, by getting ahead of these changes and putting tools and content in place to provide the solution. This has allowed me to foresee the direction hybrid working is going but also maintain a healthy work/life balance.

In solving some of these challenges early on in this new hybrid working lifestyle, I’m in more of a position to actually do the things I enjoy at work. Whether it be to help with larger projects, spend time creating content I’m truly proud of. Yes, I’ve got to put in the work to maintain this, but it’s never a question of whether the effort is worth it, it’s whether or not I can do more.
Is this a trend you’re seeing amongst your colleagues or employees? Job satisfaction is a major factor in productivity and staff turnover. In 2020 sick leave amongst employees dropped almost half of that in 2019. A period of time where we saw working from home increase. Are you noticing this trend as well?

What are the options?

So, looking at the changes and ahead to pre-empt challenges, what can you do? It’s clear to me that job satisfaction is key and with the recent transition to hybrid working. In my experience, productivity is still high and work/life balances are being maintained, if not improved upon. Yet staff turnover is still high. To me, this means we need both to retain talent, and to attract new talent. So how can you do that? I would advise reflecting on your own hybrid working experience and identifying the positives. Do they reflect any of the changes I have mentioned (from my own experience) earlier? If so, shout about them to your candidates. Get the word out that this is a great place to work.

Of course, there are other elements that lend to this positive working environment and those are the tools that you are using. I mentioned earlier that I used the tools of my job, and the content I can create, to balance with my work/life environment. If you’ve got software at your disposal, then make it work for you, and if it doesn’t, then maybe it’s time to find something that does.

What software can help with hybrid working?

The first thing I think about when it comes to software and hybrid working, is cloud. Cloud offers a variety of benefits. Firstly, the ability to access it from anywhere, anytime – home, the office, on the road. All you have to do is just login, simple. But, what this also means, is it lifts those IT burdens away from day to day work life. How many times have you been frustrated with server upgrades or software updates, with the cloud someone else does it.

We also need to able to see everything that’s going on in one place. Visibility is crucial, so you need a solution that gives you up to date information on jobs, client data and where your staff are. If it helps instill confidence in your clients, even better!

Once you have got these elements in place, you are also future proofing your business. We all want to see our management team looking to the future, to not only ensure the continuity of the business but the happiness of the employees. We must be customer obsessed but sometimes we must be employee obsessed as well.

Your software needs to be agile and allow you to adapt, attract new talent and make your lives easier not harder.

To find out more about how our software can help with your hybrid working visit our website.

Written by James Bowers-Lee, Digita Pre-Sales Consultant