Despite all the difficulties the Corona pandemic imposed on us, it showed us that work productivity while working remotely can be both effective and efficient.
After the outbreak of this pandemic, we accepted the remote working model, adjusted well to it, and have been working this way for almost two years. Now we are taking a step forward. By introducing a hybrid working model, we are enabling flexibility and empowering our staff to combine remote and in-office work, as needed and in accordance with the guidelines and the recommendations enforced by health representatives.
The origins of remote work in Seavus
While the flexible remote working model has recently emerged as a new global phenomenon, it is not a novelty to Seavus' employees. As a company that employs more than 900 professionals in 16 offices around the world, we had embraced the practice of working from home long before this pandemic. This primarily stemmed from our strategic approach of working with distributed teams, which are characterized by diversified team members from different locations that work together on the same projects. In order to accommodate the different time zones our employees live in, and to address their obligations, which differ from country to country, each of the team members was given the option to work from home.
In 2020, the COVID19 pandemic forced many companies to switch to remote work. Fortunately, thanks to our already established practice and excellent organization, we swiftly prepared, set up, and secured the systems and processes in all our offices around the globe so that we would be able to work from the safety of our homes. As of the emergence of the global pandemic, the majority of our employees were able to easily switch to working from home and were not required to come to our offices anymore. Seavus’ highest priority has always been to take care of our employees’ health and support them in difficult times by keeping them motivated and engaged. In that spirit, we have organized various informal activities, such as virtual sports challenges, online yoga, and aerobics classes, virtual cooking and cocktail parties, online gaming tournaments, and much more. Thanks to the good organization, advanced technologies, and constant support of our management, the employees showcased a high level of productivity and dedication, while maintaining an improved work-life balance.
Employees’ stand on remote work
We highly value and appreciate the opinions of our professionals, and therefore we conducted an inquiry at the end of 2020, checking employees' stand on the remote working model, which had already been set in place. More than 60% of the participants responded that the increased flexibility in organizing their working hours helps them better manage their work-life balance. Asked about what helps them stay efficient while working remotely, more than 30% mentioned the advantages of the remote setup, such as the safe location, reduced noise, fewer distractions, and flexibility for better time management. About 25% of the participants stated that it was the personal level of responsibility and accountability, which pointed out their effective work routines and practices, time-management skills, planning skills, work ethic, self-discipline, commitment, dedication, will, striving for achievement, etc. Less than 2% of the respondents expressed that they would appreciate going back to working at the office premises, compared to 55% of them who prefer to work remotely, either regularly or at least when they would need to.
The COVID-19 pandemic and lockdowns have been difficult for everyone, but while most employees long for things to get back to “normal,” the normal doesn’t necessarily involve a return to the physical office locations and the traditional way of working. According to a report released by Microsoft, over 70% of employees would appreciate for the remote work options to continue in some form, while 65% would like more time in person with their teams.
Introducing the hybrid approach to work
Given that Seavus has recently introduced a hybrid working model, we asked Olivera Gegovska, an HR Manager at Seavus, to tell us how they have spoken about the hybrid work approach with employees.
2020 was, without doubt, one of the most transformative years in recent history. The pandemic brought many changes in our everyday lives, jobs, and visions. It was also a starting point of a new way of work. Switching to remote work went smoothly for us as we had already practiced this model many years before the pandemic. All the necessary processes, standards, and tools that enabled this approach were set in their positions long before.
One of the most important features in this process is communication. Therefore, we strengthened the already established transparent and inclusive way of communication. We may not have been able to see each other in person, but we communicated on a daily basis as never before. And we still do. During these discussions, our employees shared their opinion that the hybrid working model suited their needs the best, so we decided to implement it across the company. We are offering flexibility that supports our employees and our teams, while at the same time making sure our clients still see us as a reliable partner in business. We nurture and extend this culture of growth, flexibility, responsibility, a delegation of accountability, and trust across all levels in our company.
The Benefits of the Hybrid Working Model
Despite the many complexities and challenges of living and working in a global pandemic, the hybrid work shows many benefits both for the organizations and employees on multiple levels. These benefits include a better work-life balance, greater ability to focus, fewer distractions when working, more time for family and friends, reduction of commute time and costs, increased productivity, as well as higher levels of motivation. Hybrid work enables each employee to fit their work and life together in a way that works for them. This reduces stress and helps prevent burnout.
Fully remote work reduces human interactions, which can affect employees’ mental state. Therefore, it’s important to create a safe workspace environment, in which the teams can collaborate and work together.
Olivera Gegovska, HR Manager at Seavus, outlines the benefits that hybrid work will bring to employees.
The hybrid working model reflects our strive for a more flexible workplace, having in mind the best interest of our company and staff. Our offices in Skopje are currently under reconstruction and will become our new hybrid co-workspace, which will help us work together effectively across various work surroundings.
While working remotely, we realized that the flexibility afforded by this working model allowed many employees to become more productive while at the same time enjoy a better work-life balance.
Some of the key benefits the hybrid work model has brought to our employees include greater flexibility, more opportunities for continuous learning, and improved collaboration. Also, it has led to increased productivity, employee satisfaction, and better outcomes for their mental health and wellbeing.
We can acknowledge for sure that the option to choose whether to work from home or in a physical office space is one of the reasons why a hybrid working model is here to stay.