The pandemic meant all non-essential sectors, such as universities, had to dramatically shift to remote working, which came with challenges but also benefits. Many have discovered that they are more productive working from home, they are also more well rested and especially in the warmer months, working from home is actually better for the environment! Now, having overcome the initial issues with remote working, we are all looking for a way to incorporate the good into our post-lockdown normal. This is easily possible with hybrid working.
Over the past year, most universities have returned to in-person teaching, with the option for some remote learning. This works because students need face-to-face teaching to ensure engagement, but a university is more than just its teaching staff! There is also the administrative and governing staff. This is where the hybrid model can benefit the higher education sector.
How Does Hybrid Working Actually Work:
There are 3 different models for a hybrid work environment:
- Remote-first — If you choose to take this approach, you will mirror a remote organisation. All employees would work online, with certain exceptions for those who need to be client-facing.
- 50/50 — This is an office-preferred model. There is an option to come into an office space or stay home, depending on the employee’s personal preferences. However, the office space is more likely to be communal and smaller than it has been in the past.
- Office-first, remote-permitted — This was the pre-Covid norm for many organisations. The majority of organisations required that employees came into an office space, but allowed those who found it difficult to work remotely.
What Are The Benefits Of Hybrid Working:
1. Happier Employees:
Not only are your employees more productive, but they are happier and healthier. Working from home saves them the commute, and the money and time that comes with travelling to and from work every day! Happier workers, means they are more likely to want to work hard, but also that they are more likely to want to stay in their current employment. This saves universities from the risk of brain drain and from the wave of the great resignation that has already begun.
2. Talent Gain:
Whilst the mitigation of talent loss may be enough to convince you to switch to a hybrid model, there is also the benefit of talent gain. You will be able to hire staff from all over the country, so you can be sure to hire the best person for the job, whether they’re in Aberdeen or Abington. Hybrid work means they will only have to commute once a week or once a month or once a year, depending on your institution’s decisions.
3. Space Saved:
This also means that you can have a larger worker pool without needing more office space. In fact, you can even reduce your office size! If you switch to a desk and office sharing model, then you will be able to cut down massively on costs! Of course, this won’t be possible for senior or student-facing roles, as you still need to be accessible to students! Saving space in terms of offices will not only save you money, but it is also good for the environment, as you will use less energy providing heat and electricity.
4. Accessible Management:
With hybrid meetings, you will find that your senior staff will be able to attend more meetings than previously, meaning that they will be able to stay more up-to-date on the ongoings of projects. This also means that there will be more access to management to mentor and develop skills, which will only make your university that much more successful!
Why Should Universities Switch To A Hybrid Model:
Universities are finding themselves in an increasingly difficult position. Talent loss to overseas universities post-brexit, a decrease in international students due to the pandemic, budget costs and extensive striking. Keeping your workers fulfilled is a simple way to ensure your profitability. Most universities will have trialled the hybrid model already, there just needs to be more investment in this experiment to see the positive long-term results!
Tips For Hybrid Working:
- Make sure everyone feels involved — this means that it is best to have weekly scheduled meetings, be that formal or informal, both for the team and the senior managers. It is also important to have a monthly catchup with a larger group of teams, running your university should be viewed as a collaborative project!
- Be flexible with people’s ability to work certain hours — people may have adjusted to having certain hours off like longer lunch breaks, exercise classes in the middle of the day or child caring responsibilities. Others may not want to take public transport at rush hours and so prefer to work later. However, it is essential that employees ensure they are available for scheduled meetings.
- Focus on output not hours — As long as they are putting in the time and effort when working and ensuring all projects are completed to an appropriate standard within deadlines, then 9-to-5 hours are not necessary. This, again, will not apply to any employees with scheduled office hours, or any front-facing staff!
- Invest in software that is hybrid working inclusive — You need to make sure that all your employees have the same access to information. Accessibility is also important. Any product that you procure needs to be secure and user-friendly.
How Can Convene Improve Your Hybrid Working?
Convene is an award-winning Board Portal that is designed to enhance communication at every stage of the meeting process. From drafting the meeting minutes to creating a secure audit trail, we can improve your security at every step of the process. This will help you with your hybrid working because we can streamline your communication from start-to-finish and ensure that you have the most successful collaborative working experience.
Our software now comes as an integration with Microsoft Teams, which provides the benefits of both Teams and a Board Portal. This includes integrated voting, annotation, Board Pack access, and e-Sign, as well as extensive reporting features.
- Convene will support your pre-meeting process by allowing you to make an agenda and board pack with a simple drag-and-drop. No more waiting for the last document to come in before you send out the board pack!
- Enhance communication during the meeting with meeting notes, voting features, and action items - as well as numerous other features!
- Convene is purpose-built for security. With 256-bit encryption and granular access controls, you can rest assured your data protection is fully-GDPR compliant.
- The software is the perfect mid-point between cost and functionality. Don’t sacrifice premium features to stay within budget when you can have quality and cost-efficiency.
- We are a trusted organisation across numerous industries. Our customer success case studies are a testament to the quality of the service we provide.