Even before the start of the novel Coronavirus crisis, many IT companies kept relaxed rules about enjoying the benefits of home offices. However, with the near-universal adoption of the practice ever since the spring of 2020, it has become clear that the “traditional” working model is gone for good and the world is heavily migrating towards a hybrid work model, said Uptime Development’s CEO Michał Jankowski.
Jankowski explained that many companies have been wary about allowing their employees to work from home – because if they do, how do you measure their progress, ensure the flow of information, and make sure that everything that needs to get done gets done? “This usually wasn’t an issue with more modern companies, but employees working for more traditional companies could only dream of working from home,” he said.
However, due to the situation that enveloped the world, nearly everyone had to adapt and find ways to make working from outside the office work. “Unsurprisingly, most companies saw that giving their employees the opportunity to work from their preferred location did not harm productivity, and in most cases improved it,” said Jankowski. “The crisis has been a catalyst for change in many ways, but the rapid change of the most common working models has probably been the best that has come out of it.”
However, the learning curve has been steep and brought along something unexpected. “Whilst most people working in the IT sector are no strangers to working from home or even from another country from time to time, a lot of companies had to adapt to the new situation very quickly and map out a work-from-home infrastructure in a matter of weeks or even days,” said the CEO. “Most of them managed it fine, but there are still teething problems, mostly related to managing the flow of information to all employees.”
But the learning curve has not only been steep for companies but for employees as well. “Several studies conducted before the start of the crisis showed that given the opportunity, more than 75% of people would prefer to work from home full time,” noted Jankowski. “However, now that this has been a reality for quite a while, this number has drastically shrunk and less than half of all employees want to work from home full time, indicating that they’d rather have more say over from where they work.”
This means that people want the option to work from home, but still have the choice to work from an office if they so wish. “The most common wish is to work from home 3-4 days a week and have 1-2 on-site days, whilst having the option to regulate for themselves where they choose to work on any given day,” said Jankowski.
The answer is a hybrid work model
All of this has led to the rapid adoption of a hybrid work model. “This means that people are given the flexibility they need. There’s still an office to go to, but nobody is forced to go there. Rather it functions as a backup when people need to hold meetings, work in peace, or just have a change of scenery from their home office,” said the CEO.
Jankowski explained that this approach gives people more control of their time and their workflow. “This is an approach that we’ve deployed at Uptime for years now and we see that it works well – people can work from home if they so wish, or even from another country, but they still have the option to enjoy the benefits the office environment can offer,” marked Jankowski. “Be it socializing, peace and quiet, or just good coffee.”
However, Jankowski noted that he understands that this model cannot be implemented for all roles and all companies. “Every role and every company are different. For example, if a position is one where being on-site is unavoidable, i.e., due to needing access to certain machinery, it’s understandable that this approach wouldn’t work,” said Jankowski. “In addition to that, if a company’s employees fail to achieve their goals without being in the office, it’s understandable that this model might be an issue.”
He noted, however, that the latter is more a question of culture than anything else. “The culture can be changed to make people understand the value of their work and the importance of taking responsibility for their duties, but that is not something that can be achieved overnight, rather it demands years of deliberate and non-stop work.”
“Luckily, here at Uptime we’ve been focusing on empowering our employees from day one, meaning we’ve always given people flexibility and the option to choose for themselves, but also to take responsibility for their work and their actions,” noted Jankowski. “This means that migrating fully to hybrid work has been relatively easy, and so far, everyone seems to be enjoying it.”