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March 24, 2022

Finding Success with a Hybrid Workforce

by Steve Pace

Like many companies, we are adapting to and creating our new normal. At Forward Networks, this will be a hybrid work strategy, where employees will have flexibility but come into the office two or three days a week. Our new approach is based on employee input and designed to create a collaborative environment while protecting the work from home flexibility many employees have come to love. You may wonder, why are we opting for a hybrid workplace?

Benefits of a Hybrid Workplace

A hybrid work strategy offers a multitude of benefits that best creates a happy and productive environment for all employees. It enables employees who require in-person collaboration – such as engineering departments – to come into the office and work on projects as needed while affording the option to work at home on days when they need to concentrate on individual tasks.

This approach also helps us recruit the best talent for the job without being tied to specific regions. As we’ve embraced remote collaboration technologies, our teams are finding ways to build relationships and collaborate effectively no matter where they are located.

In the past year, we’ve proven that engineering can be done productively in a remote setting, allowing us to expand our recruitment pool nationwide. For these employees, a hybrid work environment may mean coming into the office monthly or quarterly so they can build relationships with coworkers from all departments without having to move. As a result, Forward Networks’ workforce grew by approximately 40% during the pandemic.

Security is in our DNA

While hybrid workplaces are beneficial, they can come with challenges. Cybersecurity is among the biggest concerns of hybrid or remote working and rightfully so. Cybersecurity risks have undoubtedly increased as a dispersed workforce makes data management trickier. With cybercrimes becoming more sophisticated over time, these risks will only continue to become more abundant.

Luckily, security is an inherent part of our culture, and employees help each other reduce risk. We believe that security is not only technology driven – it’s a mindset. Even the smallest efforts can go a long way. For example, reminding each other to use secure links for virtual meetings. It’s critical for companies, including ours, to have guard rails built into operations so that they can approach security and potential threats in a proactive manner.

Beyond cybersecurity, remote or hybrid work can bring new challenges for leadership. Management is going the extra mile to create an inclusive culture that has a conscious approach to relationship building.

A Bonded Culture

Transition is inevitable in the business world, but when companies need a stable culture, hiring individuals that fit is critical. At Forward Networks, even as we conduct a fully remote hiring process, we work hard to get to know the candidate beyond what was on their resume. This ensures that we hire individuals that are the right fit in terms of attitude and aptitude. New hires often tell management that they’re really happy to be here and the experience of joining is unlike anything they’ve experienced in their careers; they feel “at home,” which is the highest compliment we could ask for.

We’re also dedicated to creating an environment where people can work in the manner that allows them to be their most productive, while embracing their personality. This involves fostering good communication and creating an open, honest environment that embraces each individual’s personal and professional contributions. For example, we strive to emulate the in-person experience as much as possible, such as setting up social channels solely for employees to get out of their work mode and catch up on topics outside of the workplace. Similarly, hosting game nights (e.g., remote bingo, Family Feud, Name that Tune, etc.) or cocktail hours are some of the activities we’ve put in place to bridge the gap.

At the end of the day, we are people first and professionals second. It is mission-critical to give people the flexibility to work the way they need to – enabling employees to work as their best selves. That way, employees are able to thrive at work, which ultimately helps the company achieve long-term success.

Interested in joining our team? Check out our open positions on our careers page.

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