While hybrid work is increasingly familiar territory for some, it is a seismic shift in how work happens for many organisations.
Linda Trim, director at Giant Leap, says: “The blend of on and offline interactions means we have to think about the needs of people as they adopt a new way of working, and how the workplace and technology need to change to help them be successful.”
Businesses that have returned to the office have found people need to be re-energised and rebuild their “muscle memory” for being in the workplace.
“Feeling part of a strong community actually helps people achieve more and boosts productivity, engagement, innovation and retention. Many leading organisations are making changes before people return to the office so workers can see and feel their organisation cares and is taking action to meet their needs in a new era of hybrid work.”
People need to know their organisation is doing everything possible to keep them safe and mitigate the spread of disease. “Workers are particularly concerned about cleanliness,” Trim notes.
Psychological safety is increasingly important at a time where work is changing. Employees need to know that it’s okay to speak up, share ideas, ask questions and make mistakes – without negative ramifications.
In a time where people are working from diverse locations, people need their workplace to help create community and “social glue” that builds cooperation and team cohesion. Strong communities have a sense of shared purpose, as well as shared leadership. With high levels of trust and engagement, communities allow people to learn, adapt and demonstrate resilience.
“Hybrid work will require new spaces and technology to help people be effective. People need places for 1-on-1 or small group video calls, either enclosed or with greater acoustic privacy at their desk,” says Trim. Groups need new collaborative spaces that support both in-office and remote participants equally – where everyone can see and be seen, hear and be heard. Spaces should be designed for a better virtual presence with important elements like cameras, acoustics, content and lighting.
Physical comfort is critical for hybrid workers, especially if they are spending a lot of time on video. People’s wellbeing has suffered, and they need places and experiences that help them rejuvenate and reset throughout the day. People also need to be comfortable with how work is changing, how to use new kinds of spaces and new technologies to collaborate with hybrid teams.
Living through a crisis and changing ways of working, people now crave more certainty. They want to be able to have more choice and control over:
- Where they work within the office
- When they work at the office or home
- How they work, alone and with teammates
Hybrid work is the biggest opportunity organisations have to reinvent their culture. People and leaders need to adjust expectations about how work happens.
“But thinking about a hybrid workplace as a community designed to support the needs of the people as they embrace new ways of working and interacting can be a dramatic and positive change that emerges from the pandemic,” Trim concludes.
Most of the small businesses are going to run on really low budgets. When an office is needed we often see that the company struggles to create it. That is mainly because of the fact that the small budget is spent on items that are not at all necessary. It is really important to be sure that you are going to get the essentials.
Obviously, the basic office supplies that are needed for one company may be completely different than those needed for another small business. For instance, in the event you run a business that often prints documents for clients, you will surely need a good supply of printer ink before you open your doors. However, if your business is mainly connected to the online world, printer ink will not be that needed.
What you need to do is to assess the specific basic needs the office has when the business is launched. Besides that, you will need basic office supplies. They are almost always needed to make operations professional and smooth. The appropriate supplies are always going to be needed when home based businesses are operated. In this case you want to separate the business and the home for tax, business and practical reasons so office basics will be even more important.
1. Office Essentials
The small business has some pretty simple office essentials that have to be taken into account. This includes comfortable office chairs that are ergonomically correct and desks. Then, you most likely need proper task lighting and file cabinets that can be locked. Larger whiteboards or an erasable calendar can be added so that scheduling becomes simpler while adding to planning projects and deadline tracking.
2. Office Equipment
Since this is 2017, there is a huge possibility you will have to invest in a laptop computer or a desktop computer for every single employee. If you need paperwork, pairing everything with printer access will be necessary. You will most likely need internet access and business email accounts should be set up to make everything as professional as possible. Besides the office equipment, you will need common supplies. This does include ink cartridges, printer paper, heavyweight stationary (you may want to print it with a letterhead and business name) and sometimes you will also need a larger scale printer or a copier, based on business scope. Learn more here on how to build a successful startup.
3. A Communication System
For starters, you will need to set up a phone system. As customers call you, a professional and prompt response has to come in. The phone system that has some individual extensions and at least voice mail is something that is seen as a basic. When there is no receptionist, remote phone management is an opportunity. The alternative to the regular phone system that is now gaining popularity is using VoIP based phone systems. They take advantage of the internet to handle phone calls, similarly to what Skype is used for at home. Using Skype is not professional because of quality concerns. However, other options are going to be available through VoIP. These systems offer many interesting advantages that will only make the business better at prices that are much lower than what you initially expect. Cloud based solutions help you to save even more and offer professional services, which is exactly what customers expect.
4. Business Forms
In order to appropriately track and budget expenses, to manage billing, formalise contractual agreements, account receivables and more, it is important to have business documents. That includes invoices, agreement letters and business contracts. Such materials are important as they will help you to run the business in a more fluid way, especially from the financial standpoint. At the same time, the business forms help the company to properly manage budgets, keep records and prepare the taxes. When vendor disputes appear, as an example, the forms help to set things straight.
5. Marketing Materials
Many small businesses invest the budget they have in office equipment and forget about marketing material. Nobody should do this if success is desired. A part of your startup budget should be added to marketing materials. Promotion will always be necessary so you want to produce business cards and even flyers or brochures when launching a local business. When it is possible, create a website that offers a company overview, products descriptions, services descriptions and testimonials as soon as they appear.
As you can easily see, there are many things that have to be taken into account when you set up any office for a small business. We talked about the essentials that are almost always needed but you should use your due diligence, of course. In some cases you can get rid of some of the essentials mentioned but you should be careful. In so many situations a launch without the office essentials will lead to business operations that are not as effective as they should be.
By Ady Wilson for www.businesscomputingworld.co.uk
Not so long ago, analytics was the domain of data scientists and statisticians who guarded the enterprise from the complexities of all data-related things.