It’s tempting, during the busy budget season, to simply update last year’s spreadsheets. But, if your organization switched to a hybrid workplace in the last few years, or you’re planning to, you need a different and better approach to budgeting.
Our three-step budgeting process helps identify and prioritize the areas where your limited resources can make a long-term impact for your hybrid workplace.
3-step budgeting process for hybrid workplaces
Organizations choose to become or remain hybrid because it allows them to leverage their assets—people, technology, and space—more effectively. Employees are usually the driving force behind this decision, so hybrid’s positive employee impact is no surprise:
- Reduced absenteeism
- Reduced expenses
- Increased employee productivity and satisfaction
- Improved employee retention
- Access to a wider talent pool
Using this three-step process aligns your budget with your hybrid workplace model.
1: State the top three reasons you chose a hybrid model, for example, to increase employee retention, reduce expenses, and improve communication.
2: Ask whether your current budget supports these reasons for going hybrid.
3: Identify where you need to invest to support these reasons for switching to hybrid and to get the results you desire.
4 components of a hybrid workplace
Instead of a collection of departments, envision a workplace comprised of four components: people, processes, technology, and space. This perspective helps you determine the resources required to support and optimize your hybrid workplace.
People: How can you strengthen, align, prepare, and support your people, regardless of their department?
Processes: What processes can you improve to better support hybrid work?
Technology: Do you have the best technology and tools you can afford to fully support hybrid work?
Space: Do you need to modify your office space? Does it support your new way of working? Does it facilitate the culture you want to have?
Hybrid budget priorities
When you have a new workplace model, you don’t always know what you need to know, which is especially critical when budgeting. From our research and client experience, we know what most organizations miss and how much they can benefit when they invest in these six areas.
Training is an essential requirement for hybrid work’s People component. Employees and managers rarely receive training in the skills required for this new way of working. They may not know the best way to simultaneously communicate with team members working in the office and at home, or how to successfully manage relationships with both groups.
Talented professionals seek employers who provide training opportunities. If you aspire to be an employer of choice and keep current employees happy, productive, and fulfilled, you must support them with hybrid-specific training so, they can be their best at work.
Managers in hybrid environments get squeezed. Caught in the middle between leadership and employees, they must help the organization achieve its goals while helping their team achieve individual and departmental goals. They’re responsible for holding others accountable while being culture carriers of the organization.
Managing people in a hybrid environment takes special skills—many haven’t developed them, and it can cost organizations. Unskilled managers unable to adjust to a hybrid workplace may undercut targeted retention efforts. Your organization will only achieve its hybrid workplace goals with well-trained and supported people.
Digitization brings benefits to the Processes, Technology, and Space components of a hybrid workplace. Operate more efficiently by reducing paperwork and digitizing records and files. Digitization also eliminates paper file storage costs and increases staff’s access to records and files, while ensuring people with permission get that access.
Policies affect People and Processes. Traditional office policies and procedures may not be ideal for the hybrid workplace. You may need new policies that intentionally respect work/life boundaries or proactively address issues, such as cyberbullying. Review existing policies, processes, and procedures related to time-off requests, interaction with members and customers, and other issues affected by the switch to hybrid. Investing in a policy review confirms your policies support your workplace model’s goals and ensures your organization’s compliance with federal and state regulations.
Hybrid communication is not easy. People, Processes and Technology are intertwined in communications. You must thoughtfully design new protocols and invest in communication tools, like Slack and MS Teams, and training to make communications more effective.
Invest in technology that supports communications and file storage/access, two critical components of an effective hybrid workplace. Conduct an audit to ensure everyone has access to broadband, laptops, computer accessories, and collaboration/communication tools like Slack and MS Teams. Then make sure to train, train, and re-train.
Reconsider your office space. Redesign the space to support the reasons staff come together. This may require fewer desks but more huddle space for teams, along with whiteboards and tech screens. Learn more about optimizing office space design during our October 20 webinar.
Putting all the hybrid pieces together in the budgeting process
Start with your three reasons for going hybrid:
- Increase employee retention and offer more flexibility for work/life balance.
- Reduce expenses with a smaller office footprint, less rent, and less office equipment and supplies.
- Implement better tools and practices to improve communication.
Now, the corresponding budget priorities become clearer:
- Invest in manager and employee training to improve skills, morale, job satisfaction, and retention.
- Reduce storage, printer, and paper costs by digitizing records.
- Improve communications by investing in Slack and MS Teams.
A hybrid workforce model requires a different budgeting lens. Take the time to clearly identify your objectives so you can budget for and intentionally invest in the 4 components: people, processes, technology, and space of a successful hybrid workplace.
If you’d like help planning, optimizing, or budgeting for a hybrid or remote workforce model, please contact us to schedule a conversation.