ARTICLE

Strategy in the hybrid working era:
Does your organisation have the agility for success?

Man creating a strategy in the hybrid working era.

An unexpected experiment

The onset of the pandemic forced organisations into an unexpected experiment in remote working. Yet, despite the suddenness of the disruption, many organisations demonstrated their ability to adapt quickly to change, even if remote working wasn’t in their immediate plans. Ultimately at the heart of this success was technology, which has completely transformed what is possible for how we work: If national lockdowns had happened just five years ago, businesses would likely have faced much more severe disruption.

For many leaders of organisations, the past years have had a significant impact on shaping their strategy for the future, providing the perfect case study that work does not have to be tied to one location.

But hybrid working represents just one part of a wider conversation about adaptability. It wasn’t just that companies with the right tools adjusted quickly to remote working specifically, it’s that they were able to adapt to any change more quickly, because their business model was more resilient to the unexpected.

Adaptability is the new insurance

One of the main legacies of the pandemic is a newfound awareness that organisations can have their markets and ways of working turned upside down at short notice.

While the scale of the disruption can be considered unique, the reality is that change is becoming the new ‘business as usual’. Societal trends and technology innovations are moving faster and faster, bringing more opportunities with them. What your organisation needs is to be more future-proof: gaining the ability to adapt to these changes more easily, making the business more agile and resilient for both now and the long term.

Work professional researching how to improve your agility

How to improve your agility

Keeping up with a rapidly evolving landscape and taking advantage of new technologies and capabilities involves a new approach. Instead of creating five-year plans, consultants have long been advising an approach of ‘continual evolution.’ Rather than seeing change as ‘an event’, it should be approached as a constant state, with organisations introducing ongoing digital transformation.

In order to support a more agile business model, leaders should be looking to identify ways of working which limit how they can adapt and replace them with newer, more efficient processes that accurately reflect the times:

  • From rigid processes to digital workflows – Good examples are back-office processes which depend on the processing of physical paperwork and the on-site presence of workers to manage them, such as Accounts Payable and HR onboarding. To become more agile, leaders should be looking to optimise the way these processes are managed for greater efficiency. In addition to tying the company to a central, physical location, workflows that involve a lot of manual paperwork and physical intervention from your team will consume a lot of their time. Digital workflow technologies not only free up your workers to focus on more valuable tasks, but ensure they can still oversee the work from any location
  • From physical infrastructure to the cloud – It’s no secret that cloud-based infrastructure has a lot of benefits for organisations today. However, hybrid working can present the final incentive to overhaul legacy on-premise infrastructure. This will have a multitude of advantages beyond allowing teams to work from anywhere, including being able to more easily implement and scale relevant new cloud-based innovations as they become available on the market, instead of having to worry about complex (and time-consuming) legacy integration
By focusing on these priority tasks, companies will not only be better prepared to navigate the hybrid world, but also more agile in every way. Implementing processes and infrastructure that have as few physical and geographical dependencies as possible, helps to assure business continuity wherever staff are, even in a crisis.

The agility for success

In the immediate aftermath of the pandemic, the organisations who thrived were those with sufficient digital tools to rapidly pivot to online sales, remote working, and even entirely new revenue streams and business models.

All of these changes relied to an extent on advanced digital transformation: Organisations with well-developed online retail capabilities could easily pause operations in their physical shops and scale their online offering. Office-based companies with advanced digital workflows and collaboration tools could rapidly switch to large-scale remote working, without having to overhaul complex manual processes and retrain staff at scale. From moving to hybrid working to adapting to unpredicted future changes, the key to future-proof success is building agility into your organisation through continuous digital transformation.

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