Do You Really Need An Office in 2022? Or Better Tools Instead?

Blog
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November 5, 2021
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By
Nicholas K

Back in March 2020, Malaysians in the workforce were abruptly subjected to one of the most unique, challenging work arrangements in recent times: the Movement Control Order (MCO). At the time, the restriction was imposed for a 14-day period, although as we now know, this was eventually extended, and adapted to the various stages of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The pandemic arguably accelerated digitalisation efforts around the globe, with businesses in affected regions forced to reduce the number of workers — often-times, to zero — at physical workplaces. However, as the nation moves towards the endemic stage of COVID-19, workers are gradually returning to the physical office, with SOPs dictated according to the National Recovery Plan

Still, you might be wondering: do you really need a physical office in 2022? Or do you simply need better digital tools instead? Let’s find out. 

Hybrid work models are here to stay… for now

According to a recent survey from the CBRE Group, physical workplaces are making a comeback in Asia, with companies in the region looking to expand physical office space over the next couple of years. Conversely, another report from Loom found that 90% of respondents were happy working from home — or at least, for a portion of their working hours.

However, there are still clear challenges to the hybrid work model. Depending on circumstances, some workers have found working-from-home arrangements difficult to navigate due to factors such as distractions, or even a lack of social stimulation for many who live/work alone. 

But the biggest challenge for many is finding relevant information and data that are necessary for workers to complete their daily duties and tasks at work. This can range from simple, day-to-day tasks like time tracking or daily check-ins to work — all the way to more complex resources such as employee handbooks, or policies. 

While workers progressively return to the physical office during the endemic, what has become apparent is that hybrid work models will continue to play their part. At the end of the day, the importance of a good Business Continuity Plan — including hybrid and remote models — is crucial in ensuring that your business/company is future-proofed for anything and everything that the future holds.  

So, what if you choose to maintain a hybrid work model?

On the flip side, hybrid work models come with a plethora of tangible benefits — to both employers and employees. For one, the increased flexibility can empower employees to work more efficiently, with certain times of the day, or even locations, proving to be more conducive for certain deep-focus tasks. And of course, employers stand to save from the standard costs of a physical workplace (rent, maintenance, utilities). 

As evidenced by the data above, a hybrid model can also improve employee satisfaction and retention, with many workers also championing the improved work-life balance that this way of work can offer. There is a caveat to all of this: sometimes, the fine line between professional and personal lives can be easily blurred — particularly when working from home. 

At the end of the day, you don’t really need to have a physical office in 2022, although this can also depend on the industry of your business. But if you’re looking to maintain a hybrid work model for your business in 2022, the key to making it work is to ensure that you have the right digital tools

What sort of tools are we talking about?

Lee Kathryn, the Head of Digi-X, recently shared about the types of tools that have helped the Digi-X team work efficiently, remotely. These were, and continue to be part of the daily lives of team members — whether they’re working remotely, or in the physical office. In case you missed it, here are the essential tools & processes you’ll need if the hybrid work model is to truly replace the office for your company: 

Daily check-ins on altHR

If half of your team is planning to work from home, and the other half is on the other side of the globe, it’s pivotal that you have a daily check-in model. This means that you, as an employer/HR professional, can track the daily status of your employees; this covers a clocking-in time, as well as other information like location, or even health status. 

The best app for this? altHR. We’ll discuss this solution in greater detail — just keep reading on. 

HR & Communication: altHR

For HR and comms-related matters, you needn’t look any further than altHR. The HR super app, which is also used by over 1,500 employees in Digi Telecommunications, covers four key areas in this regard: Core HR, Employee Engagement, Digital Workplace, and Perks & Benefits. This ensures that the end-to-end of all HR matters is covered in one single, accessible place for all employees (and employers, too). 

Read more about that here

Project Management tools

Online project management tools are available in abundance, and you’ll need a suitable option for your team to become more asynchronous — which will minimise the need for a high number of meetings everyday. Additionally, this can be used to share pre-reads out before meetings to ensure that all participants are up to date (saving more time in meetings, of course).  

Cloud-based storage and phone lines 

Additionally, cloud-based tools are the future, and you’re best advised to invest in one of the variety of cloud storage options out there, such as Google Drive or Microsoft OneDrive. This makes it easier for team members to collaborate, wherever they are, and it also helps to reduce the nitty gritty of managing manual, physical servers or hard drives. 

This cloud-based approach should also extend to phone lines, with VoIP lines such as Omni Hotline proving to be a life-saviour for many Customer Service teams during the pandemic. All the benefits of a physical landline (including a landline prefix) — coupled with the digital benefits of a cloud-based phone system — and accessible via Android & iOS smartphones. 

Need more HR help?

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You might not need an office, but you need the right digital tools 

Working from home has become second nature for many of us — and this shouldn’t stop now. But it’s essential that the transition — from the office, to the office, or to a hybrid model — is made as seamless as possible for your business to survive, and thrive in the new digital era. This involves the use of various processes and tools, such as Digi’s super app, altHR.

From Time-Tracking and Check-Ins modules to help you keep track of your employees, to Onboarding and Highlights modules to keep new and existing employees updated with the latest announcements from management, altHR is a must-have for all successful businesses in Malaysia looking to navigate the new normal.

Keeping track of everything can be challenging, particularly for employers and HR professionals in the SME sector — but it doesn’t have to be. The world is going increasingly digital these days, and this trend is set to continue in the years to come. HR professionals are often faced with daunting, often tedious tasks on a daily basis — tasks that have become even more difficult to handle in light of the ongoing COVID-19 situation. 

But help is available, if you know where to look. We’ll streamline your HR processes by managing and automating day-to-day tasks, so you won’t have to worry about things like paperwork, privacy concerns, time-tracking, or onboarding challenges. Instead, focus on the crucial pillars of your business, and the happiness of your employees.

Sign up for altHR

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Download our FREE Workplace Guide

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