Key to success: Making hybrid work accessible for everyone
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Key to success: Making hybrid work accessible for everyone

Key to success: Making hybrid work accessible for everyone

Being competitive and building a resilient workforce requires a commitment to inclusivity, which must be represented in all hybrid work tools

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In the last two years the Covid-19 pandemic has undoubtedly transformed how remote working is perceived, removing any stigma that may have previously been associated with the phrase ‘working from home.’ According to a recent study by Michael Page Middle East, around 50 per cent of job seekers in Dubai and Abu Dhabi said their productivity remained the same when working remotely, while more than 44 per cent in Dubai believe it increased.

Furthermore, 98 per cent of UAE businesses plan to invest in technology in the next 12-18 months to support a hybrid workforce, compared to 89 per cent globally, indicating that the country is on track to become a global hub for remote working, as envisioned and supported by the UAE leadership. However, it is much more complicated than simply purchasing new solutions and waiting for productivity and well-being to miraculously increase. It’s a one-of-a-kind management situation with both problems and potential. In the current economy, being competitive and establishing a resilient workforce necessitates a commitment to inclusivity, which must be reflected in all hybrid work tools, processes, and solutions. It’s the only way to ensure that every employee is heard, connected and prepared to succeed.

Responsibility to exceed employee expectations
Organisations should recognise that it is their responsibility to provide employees with a high-quality mixed work experience. Doing so will help attract and retain talent, because most employees – when shopping for new opportunities – are looking for organisations that support hybrid work environments. Meeting staff expectations is as much about the physical environment as it is the digital tools provided.

Prioritise inclusive collaboration
Collaboration and communication will be front of mind for me in 2022, given their significance in driving creativity. Given how well physical offices can help employees discuss and problem-solve together in real-time, hybrid work can make all three more difficult if we’re not careful. In fact, 42 per cent employees think hybrid working acts as a barrier for collaboration and relationship building.

Remote working, in particular, has seen the introduction/expansion of new technology in the UAE. Employees claiming higher job satisfaction, increased work/life balance, greater flexibility, elimination of tedious commutes, and, most crucially for firms struggling through a worldwide crisis, a potential decrease in overhead spending have all been highlighted in recent months. However, I understand that not everyone can or wants to work from home, and future arrangements will be different. For many, the past few months have acted as a stark reminder of how much they value workplace social interaction and returning to work feels like a return to normalcy.

If we keep a laser-like focus on designing human-centric and intuitive employee experiences, we believe the technology industry can play a significant role in easing and enabling the shift to a hybrid work culture. Business leaders’ actions now will determine whether their employees struggle or prosper in the future workplace in the months and years ahead.

Narayan Venkataraman is the interim managing director at HP Middle East and Turkey

Read: Managers will play a key role in the sustainable success of hybrid work in MEA

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