We can hear the siren call to return to the office as mandates and restrictions lift all around the world. With this movement, companies are reinventing their work structure and breaking glass ceilings to stay ahead. Many are looking to create a hybrid workplace for engineers because of the benefits it can bring.
However, a few misconceptions about hybrid work intimidate companies into implementing this particular work setup. One fact rings true, though: engineers want the freedom of a hybrid workplace, according to The State of Remote Engineering: The 2021 Edition.
Hybrid work serves as a happy medium for engineers to spend some time at home and some at the office. If you want to attract and retain engineers, creating a hybrid workplace for them where they feel safe, productive, and happy is the way to do it.
Creating a Successful Hybrid Workplace for Engineers
To get you started on implementing a hybrid work setup, here are some tips on how you can successfully create a hybrid workplace for your engineering teams.
1. Make Sure You’re Technologically Prepared
Hybrid work is made possible and efficient through technology. Before jumping the gun and implementing a hybrid work structure, make sure you have sufficient tools and approaches to make the transition a smooth ride for you and your engineering teams. Here are some of the technological tools and solutions you can check out to identify what you can incorporate into your current process.
- Virtual Spaces
According to a Stanford University study in 2021, the video chat meeting fatigue we are all experiencing is indeed real. The study found that the exhaustion we’re feeling is caused by design flaws in video chat platforms that facilitate excessive amounts of close-up eye contact, seeing yourself in real-time, lack of mobility, and excessive cognitive load.
There is a need to address connectivity in hybrid work. To answer the call, there have been so many new virtual meeting spaces being introduced to us that try to remedy the causes of meeting fatigue without sacrificing real-time connections. Here is a list of new tech tools and platforms worth checking out:
Gather is a virtual world that provides free customizable spaces for anyone who wants to organize a get-together. It requires you to choose an avatar before you can enter. Imagine an old-school 8-bit game where, instead of saving a princess or fighting monsters, you get to meet and interact with other people!
What’s amazing about Gather is the freedom to walk around shared space and its video conferencing capabilities that allow you to join or leave conversations by proximity. Gather is 18 months old and has over four million users. It can be used to create virtual campuses for classes and host game nights and parties, which can be a great exercise for everyone transitioning to a hybrid workspace.
Totem is a micro-social network phone application designed to cater to corporate teams. It works like a private Facebook where people are encouraged to share team successes or photos of pets while providing real-time and accurate data on employee engagement and organizational culture.
It was developed to deepen personal and professional connections within a business. What we love about Totem is that it essentially provides analytics without conducting surveys on a platform that works similar to one we all use.
Used by big companies such as Harvard, NASA, PayPal, and Amazon, Wonder is a virtual space that puts a new spin on video conferencing. Thousands of users can interact through a simple webpage full of bubbles, each one containing a photo of a person in the space, moving between white circles meant to represent tables on which people can video chat.
Wonder is also designed to simulate in-person events where a large number of people can freely jump between conversations while still having a bird’s eye view of a larger space.
- Messaging and Video Conferencing Platforms
If your organization needs to conduct online meetings in their simplicity and essence, here are some of the go-to tech tools you can check out if you haven’t yet. These tools all feature video conferencing and file-sharing capabilities.
With remote work, employees have grown accustomed to accessing video conferencing platforms at the tip of their fingers. Therefore, this flexibility should seamlessly translate into the office setup. Ensure that your office spaces are wired for video conferencing that can easily connect your teams inside and outside your organization.
- Touchless Technology
Today, contact with communal surfaces and spaces has become a point of contention as concerns over employee well-being and health continue to linger. To address this, see if adopting touchless technology in the workplace can set new norms to incorporate health and safety in the employee experience you provide.
Aside from virtual spaces, touchless technology includes various applications and use cases, such as:
- Touchless desks or room check-ins
- No contact sign-in apps
- Employee QR codes
- Hands-free faucets and automatic soap dispensers and sanitizers
- Automated physical entrances
- Infrared Sensors
2. Make Sure You’re Logistically Prepared
Developments may have taken place throughout the pandemic, which changed your workforce. You might have hired new people or lost some, on top of the anticipation that not everyone is coming in on the same day.
Before you open the physical doors of your office to your engineers, consider how you can create a safe space for them to practice social distancing while enabling mobility, accessibility, and collaboration. Here are some office logistics ideas:
- Refresh Office Layout
If you know the volume of people you expect to accommodate daily, reduce the footprint of individual office spaces accordingly. Make sure that there’s enough space for your engineers to spread out and conduct meetings.
- Project Spaces
If you need space that’s physically separate from the business-as-usual environment of your office to accommodate fixed-term projects that require creativity and innovation, set up a project space. Giving a project a dedicated space adds a sense of importance, legitimacy, and focus.
- Overflow Spaces
Overflow space is an extra office space to house more people whenever necessary. If you have project-based engineering teams, consider checking out overflow spaces that will house temporary teams.
3. Measure and Improve Your Hybrid Workplace
Using data analytics will help you make informed decisions and give you valuable insights to assess whether the hybrid workplace works for you and your engineering teams. Data on the effectiveness of your employed spaces, both virtual and physical, can help determine your next steps.
Workplace Analytics can answer these questions:
- When is the best time to meet with everyone?
- What meeting space encourages the most engagement?
- How much of the workforce prefers on-site or remote work?
- Is this sustainable for long-term implementation?
- Can the current strategy accommodate change, disruption, and future challenges?
Adapting to the Hybrid Workplace for Engineers
Restructuring your entire workplace may seem like a tremendous task, but keep in mind that embracing hybrid work will enable your organization to thrive in the new normal. One thing is for sure, workplace needs will continue to be fluid for years to come. Prepare for a continually evolving environment by remaining flexible and adaptable. It’s the hybrid workplace today, and we can only wait to see what’s waiting for us tomorrow.
GO HYBRID WITH THE BEST ENGINEERS FROM AGILE WPS
You’ll need the best engineers on your side to step into the new normal. We at Agile Workplace Staffing can help you find competent, reliable, and excellent engineers that can help make your transition to hybrid work smooth and successful.
Through our talent sourcing capabilities, we will build the bridge between you and a wide range of talented professionals across the engineering industry. Agile WPS specializes in bringing together great engineers with great companies. Connect with us today, and let’s start putting together the team of engineers that will bring your organization into a new era of work.