Q2 2022 New User Announcements

Welcome Page Header White

Welcome to our new partners as of Q2 of 2022

We wanted to share a warm welcome to those joining us in the last three months.

As many saw their ‘year-end’ come to fruition, it can often be a busy time for those we work with, and we see the activity and use of Verto rise around this quarter as organisations track and manage data from the past year.

Moving forward to Q3, we are looking forward to working closely with some Central Government organisations on Verto implementation, Verto’s roll-out to the wider organisation, and a collaboration of shared comms.

We are continuing to meet more staff from 42 newly formed Integrated Care Systems to understand their individual requirements to becoming joined-up entities.

The Verto 365 app for Microsoft Teams continues to see uptake as more individuals take advantage of the Verto Playground, a free version suitable to everyone, whatever their level or size of business they work for and keep an eye out for some development updates coming soon.

Q2 / 2022 - New clients


Healthcare

Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust

Frimley Health Foundation Trust: Committed to serving the local population by providing health support and guidance to those in most need of the services they provide.

Visit site

Education

Middlesex University London

Middlesex University offer a personalised approach to learning. Their students get skills for life to stay ahead in a changing world.

Visit site

Local Government

Cheshire and Warrington Local Enterprise Partnership

Cheshire and Warrington Local Enterprise Partnership aim to be the healthiest, most sustainable, inclusive and growing economy in the UK.

Visit site

Local Government

West Midlands Combined Authority

The West Midlands Combined Authority is a combined authority for the West Midlands metropolitan county in the United Kingdom. Building a better connected, more prosperous, fairer, greener and healthier West Midlands.

Visit site

Top Collaboration Strategies for Modern Organisations

Proven collaboration methods that empower staff are vital for an organisation to get right. Working together is by far the best way for organisations to make the most of their talent by employing collaboration-centred strategies. But creating a culture of collaboration is not as simple as it might seem. 

To know how to shift the mindset of all workers towards one of knowledge sharing and collaborative working in a positive way is a skill. Today we’re going to tell you how. 

So what is a collaboration strategy?

A collaboration strategy is a method of encouraging collaboration at every level of a business. It is the way in which a business creates and fosters a culture of working together to achieve the best results.

12 Collaboration Strategies

Here are 19 strategies commonly used to foster collaboration in an organisation. 

1) Identify Individual Strengths

The first step in encouraging collaboration is to identify where certain skills lie in your workforce. Take the time to understand the strengths and weaknesses of every employee, and how these skills might be used in a collaborative setting. 

Not every worker is born to lead. Some people have a talent for presentation. Others can plough through complex tasks like a knife through butter. It takes a varied pool of skills to make a team. 

If you can identify where certain capabilities are the strongest, you’ll know how to put together world-beating teams.

2) Make Communication Easy

Communication is the backbone of any organisation, especially one that thrives on collaboration. If you are looking to foster collaboration among your workers, internal communication needs to be in top shape. 

This doesn’t just mean emails and messages between team members. It’s not just about the physical ability to communicate, it’s about how naturally team members communicate with each other. All barriers need to be removed. 

Employees should feel comfortable making suggestions, creating a dialogue and being able to talk with authority and confidence with managers and everyone within their team. . Managers should be able to share resources and work together for the progress of people management across the organisation. 

3) Empower your Team

One of the most effective ways to create a well-oiled team is to delegate responsibilities. Empowering your workers in this way allows everyone to take ownership of their work and realise their own potential. 

With responsibilities shared among team members, collaboration becomes essential. Each person’s workload will have interdependencies with tasks going on elsewhere. This facilitates communication, knowledge sharing and collaborative completion of tasks. 

Your teams also require the ability to communicate seamlessly, ideally with a system where they can speak between each other individually and in groups. Pinging messages back and forth is essential with remote workers, and should be encouraged as early as possible.

4) Advocate for Collaborative Working

Before collaboration can take root in the core of an organisation, the mindset of its workers needs to be open to it. In this modern age of remote and hybrid working, it can be difficult to foster collaboration between people working from their homes. Your job is to prove to them the benefits of collaboration.

Encourage your teams to share ideas and work together on their tasks. If you know your workers’ strengths inside and out, you’ll be able to foster collaboration between workers who differ in their strengths by assigning one of them a task you’ll know lies outside their strengths.

5) Implement Team-focused Work

You can take the above strategy one step further, and specifically assign tasks to small groups. This is common practice in many businesses, where workers from different teams cross-collaborate on clients and cases. 

It might be that two workers from one team are given a task to work on together, even though both of them possess the skills to complete it. While this might not have any obvious benefits where productivity is concerned, it allows workers to discover the benefits of collaboration for themselves.

6) Lead by Example

Leaders of teams and departments need to lead by example, and demonstrate that the culture of your organisation is built around working together. This will inevitably filter down to your employees if demonstrated in a positive light. If you are a team leader, you can demonstrate this to others by showing that you are open to suggestions and general dialogue. 

This is where a separation often emerges between those who truly desire a collaborative environment and those who prefer the idea alone. By demonstrating that you are committed to a collaborative environment, other workers will follow suit.

Hybrid working

7) Define Roles Within your Team

When building a team for collaborative work, defining the roles of each member establishes a sense of structure within the team. If you are aware of the strengths and weaknesses of your workers, you’ll already know who to assign your roles to. 

One exercise in collaboration to try is to let the team choose their own roles as it will give the team a sense of autonomy and ownership over their work. Defining roles within a team helps the group function like a machine, every worker performing their own specific task within the greater project.

8) Assign Diverse Teams

Another thing to consider when putting teams together is how to give every team the widest perspective on their given tasks. Studies have shown that teams of diverse perspectives can foster creative thinking and productivity and chances are you’ll find a wider scope of vision with a group of people who are inherently different. 

You’ll likely find that with a diverse team, the perspective of each is put to better use because of how varied they might be. Allowing each team to take advantage of this is yet another way to demonstrate how effective collaboration can be, rather than just preaching it. 

9) Diminish your Involvement

A diminishing involvement strategy refers to a team leader letting go of the reins after the inception of the project. By playing an active role in the beginning of the project, you can equip your team with everything they need to get started. 

By taking a step back, you encourage your team to work things out together. Each team member can naturally fall into their roles and take ownership of their tasks. However, staying on hand to provide guidance is advised. 

By guiding a team from a distance, you can both ensure the task is handled correctly and allow the team to collaborate and complete the work themselves. 

10) Utilise Collaboration Tools

In the modern working world, no team can function with a centralised system from which to work from. One place where they can share ideas and work on tasks simultaneously while still managing their own activities and time. 

Digital tools can have an immense amount of benefits for collaborative teams, especially if you’re all working remotely. The ability to track progress across individual tasks and the project as a whole makes work management so much easier. 

If your organisation is using MS Teams to communicate, rather than use other platforms for task management, reporting and document management, Verto 365 expands into to MS Teams and brings all this functionality under one roof. 

11) Host Brainstorming Sessions

There are few better ways to encourage collaborative creativity than with brainstorming sessions with your team. Take half an hour away from your screens, head to a breakout space and share ideas in person. If you can conduct these sessions in an environment that feels separate from where you usually work, this can help inspire unique thoughts that might not occur at your desks.  

Additionally, these sessions can encourage the team to gel as people rather than only as colleagues. By understanding the energy of your team, you can help them to develop a synergy with each other. By fostering a welcoming environment where your team feels comfortable voicing their ideas, these sessions can do wonders for encouraging collaboration. 

12) Promote Ad-hoc Collaboration

Alongside setting tasks specifically designed for collaborative working, promoting teamwork in everyday tasks can help encourage a collaborative working culture. This could be something as simple as encouraging open communication between colleagues on their tasks.

By generally promoting collaboration as a good way to work, the benefits of working together will begin to show themselves. This can often be a more seamless strategy for introducing collaboration, as there is no hard switch from solo or siloed working for colleagues to reject. 

13) Create a Shared Resource Hub

Many organisations have a shared cloud drive where company documents, policies and resources are stored. By giving everyone access to the same information you can unify your workforce and give everyone the same basis from which to work together. 

You could even start to encourage certain team members to contribute to the shared drive. Employees could create best practice guides or case study documents that could be useful to the organisation as a whole. This also helps to demonstrate the value and trust you have in your workers, which is essential for building a good working culture. 

14) Utilise Team Building

Out of office team building is a tried and tested method of building rapport between your workers. By taking part in an activity not related to work in any way, team members can get to know each other as people rather than just colleagues. In turn, this will improve the general energy of the office, which is essential for building a culture of collaborative working in your organisation. 

15) Connect on a Human Level

Many of the points we’ve discussed so far are focused around one thing: encouraging your team to connect as people, on a human level. Colleagues that get on and understand each other are far more likely to want to work together than colleagues who don’t. 

Even if they have to work together, colleagues who don’t connect on a human level are less likely to produce good results from collaboration than colleagues who do. Many of the points we’ve made are great ways to start building relationships between your workers, and therefore encourage collaboration to become a natural part of your working environment.

16) Reward Good Teamwork

By rewarding good demonstrations of collaboration you can improve your team’s motivation to do it. Take the time to recognise workers who encourage collaboration themselves, or who achieve good results from working together. 

17) Set Goals Collaboratively 

Working collaboratively is only half the battle in instilling collaboration into your workplace. One way to truly emphasise the importance of working together is to collaborate on project planning and goal setting. This is a great way to show your team how valued their input is, and that collaboration at every level is beneficial. 

This doesn’t just have to be project goals either. If you have a mission statement as an organisation, or some general business goals, you could get your teams involved with their planning too. If you manage a marketing department, speak to each member of the team to see what their thoughts on the general strategy are. 

18) Encourage Real-World Collaboration

Collaboration shouldn’t just be sending messages to each other while tag-teaming a project. Teamwork can only be taken to its furthest point when real-world interactions form the basis of it. This means face to face meetings (or virtual calls) where you can speak as people and understand each other, rather than just through messages and emails. 

Examples of this include breakout sessions, physical task planning with post it notes or sketches, or even days out to brainstorm. This all comes back to encouraging your team to communicate as humans rather than just IM boxes on their screens. 

19) Get Feedback from your Team

The final thing to consider is how well collaboration is being received by your organisation. By getting feedback from your team on various collaboration strategies you’ve employed, you can see how well they are responding. 

Consider their responses to various collaboration activities, see what worked to foster teamwork and what didn’t. From here you can plan a long term strategy for making collaboration a core part of your organisation.

Foster Collaboration with Verto 365

If your organisation uses MS Teams to manage your work, Verto 365 is the logical next step in building a culture of collaboration. With access from the AppSource, Verto 365 pulls together a whole host of collaborative working tools, and embeds them right into Teams. 

Functionality such as Kanban-style boards and Gantt charts, secure document sharing and benefits tracking. All of these features and more, have been brought straight into Microsoft Teams through the Verto 365 app. If this sounds like it could help instil collaboration into your organisation, sign up for a free trial today, or get in touch with our team to learn more!

Editors picks

Nothing found.


Managing a Team: Project Management Best Practices

Managing Meetings Effectively: Top 10 Tips

Meetings at work are so important in order to keep on track with your team and collaborate on ideas. Therefore, it is key that you are managing meetings effectively so that everyone gains from them. Effective meetings leave you energised and feeling like you’ve accomplished something.

So, what is it that makes a meeting effective? There are three main goals with every meeting:

  1. You achieve the objective of the meeting
  2. You take up the minimum amount of time
  3. The meeting leaves participants feeling that a sensible process has been followed

So in order to achieve this, here are our top 10 tips for managing meetings effectively.

1) Set the meeting’s objective

The key to managing meetings properly is to know why you are holding it in the first place. What do you hope to achieve? You must have an agenda at the ready, and know what will be discussed. Good managers do this by planning beforehand, and coming up with a strategy and some talking points for the team.

Knowing exactly what information needs to be covered will help you stay on track and avoid any unrelated tangents. Many organisations struggle with having meetings for meetings’ sake, so in order to rectify this and maximise productivity, every meeting should have a separate agenda and clear goals.

2) Develop a good agenda

In order to achieve the goal set out in each meeting, a thorough agenda is crucial. Generally, an agenda should include a list of actions needed to be updated on or discussed. The agenda should always be shared with participants beforehand, so they can start thinking about ideas and preparing any information that is needed. 

Verto’s Kanban-style boards are a great place to house agenda items, as the cards can hold as much information and as many documents on a subject as is needed. Boards can also be shared with meeting members so they can collaborate on setting the agenda before the meeting date alongside the meeting organiser.

3) Manage time effectively

An obvious, but important point. One of the biggest issues with managing meetings is when they run over time or waste time going over the same ground. A way you can rectify this is to assign one member of the meeting to keep track of time, so you can control how long the meeting goes on for. You should also note that people’s attention span will probably start to decline after half an hour or so. The longer the meeting, the more effort it will take to keep up the energy and discussion.

Having short meetings is an essential part in improving your team’s efficiency, and a key part to managing meetings effectively. It is also worth considering that sometimes it is better to have a meeting last a little longer than usual to ensure the points are covered, than it is to cut a meeting short without the goal of the meeting being achieved. The closer knit your team is, the better their ability to communicate will be, and the less time will be needed for each meeting.

4) Evaluation and delegation  

At the end of each meeting, it is wise to set aside some time to evaluate the processes you went through in the meeting, and determine areas for improvement. Ask your participants what their thoughts were on how the meeting was run, and what they would do differently. This can be a great way to encourage collaborative thinking throughout the team, and to ensure that each member feels satisfied with how the meeting went. 

It is also very important to ensure that every team member knows what is expected of them upon the end of the meeting. When the meeting adjourns, every participant should have a clear idea of what they need to do next, and how to complete the tasks that have been assigned to them. In order to aid this, we recommend calling for anyone who has any further questions to come to you directly, as this may encourage those who are not comfortable voicing concerns to the entire team.

5) Allow for creativity

A successful meeting should not only result in achieving its goal, but it should also encourage ideas to flow. A creative environment is great for this, as it encourages everyone to participate and voice their thoughts on the subject. The worst thing a participant can be is only passively attending, and not really contributing or getting anything out of the meeting. Even if a particular team member is not directly involved with the topic at hand, getting an outside creative perspective can help to see issues in a different light and decide upon creative solutions. 

One great way to achieve this style of meeting is to get the team integrated, and comfortable voicing their opinions, with each other. Everyone should be encouraged to comment or get involved with brainstorming. These types of sessions are ideal for getting your team bouncing ideas off of each other. When everyone contributes their ideas, you will be far more likely to come away from the meeting with a sense of the goal being completed.

6) Selecting the right people

Everyone will have experienced a meeting where they have wondered why they are there. Sometimes, meetings are held when the participants have nothing to input. In order to avoid this, carefully select who you need to be at the meeting. Evaluate in advance who needs to be present for the meeting, and what information needs to be covered. Consider whether anyone’s time will be wasted by attending, and ask your team in advance who has the time, or who would like to be involved in the meeting. This helps – as we’ve just discussed – to provide a more balanced view of the meeting’s subject.

This also helps to avoid team members feeling left out. How many of us have watched meetings take place that we felt we should have been included in? While this may have been down to the host wanting to make the meeting as efficient as possible (like we’ve just spoken about), it can also give team members a feeling that they are not as important. This is another reason to offer your team a place at the meeting by telling them exactly what will be discussed in advance, and will avoid anyone feeling like their opinions do not matter.

7) Be passionate

One of the worst things you can do as a manager is to appear uninterested and bored with the subject you are discussing. If you show a lack of interest, then why should your team show anything different? If you can kick off every meeting with a clear demonstration of passion or positivity for the project, it will encourage everyone else to do the same. 

Showing a good attitude as a leader will also help break through any walls of nervousness that participants may have. Everyone will feel more at ease and more likely to contribute their thoughts to the topic at hand. This then helps stir a sense of collaboration for the meeting and bring about all the benefits that entails. 

8) Take notes

Every meeting should involve notes being taken. Whether there is someone specifically attending the meeting whose job this is or not, when a lot of information is covered, notes are essential. Ideally, every member of the group will be taking notes on the topics that matter most to them and their workload, especially when tasks are being delegated. 

When an additional participant is there solely to take notes, this stops anything from slipping through the cracks. And sending round a breakdown of the meeting afterwards helps to ensure everyone who was present takes away the information that is beneficial to them, and hold them accountable for their actions.

9) Ensure the team is satisfied

The most important thing with every meeting, to ensure that everyone walks away satisfied that the purpose of the meeting has been fulfilled. To ensure maximum satisfaction for everyone taking part in the meeting, there are several things you should keep in mind. 

First of all, make a point to ask anyone who has anything to add to do so, or to come to you after the meeting has ended. Also, at the end of each agenda item, quickly summarise what was said and ask everyone to confirm it as a fair summary. This should also be noted down for sending around the team later. Additionally, make note of items that require further discussion at a later date, such as work that needs to be completed by a set deadline. 

At the end of the meeting, ensure that everyone around the table understands the next steps that are being taken by all, and mention to them that this information will be sent around just for record keeping purposes. This will ensure that everyone has left the meeting knowing everything they need to know, and that everyone who wishes to talk in private can do so. 

10) Closing meetings

Always end meetings on a positive note to keep everyone motivated and assured that you are managing things well. Go around the table and ask for any additional comments, and ensure everyone knows their next steps. It is also handy to set a date for the next meeting, and ask participants if they can commit to it. You can also check with participants to see if they need any more clarification, to make sure everyone understands.

Editors picks

Nothing found.


Project Governance: The Complete Guide

Ensuring project success is virtually impossible without strong project governance. 

Your approach to project governance will fundamentally determine the way your project is managed, and whether the project runs smoothly. In this guide, we’re talking all things project governance, and how you can create a strong framework from which you can manage your project. Let’s get into it.  

What is Project Governance?

Project governance is the way of controlling processes around a project. Being more expansive than defining it as ‘project management’, project governance refers to managing the structure of the project, the people involved, and how decisions are made. 

When approaching your project governance plan for the first time, there are a key set of principles that you need to establish. These principles dictate how the project will be managed on all levels, and will serve as a set of guidelines for you to adhere to.

The Components of Project Governance

1) Delegation of Responsibilities

The first pillar of project governance is roles and responsibilities. Before the project begins, it is vital to establish with which team members certain responsibilities lie. This will create a solid structure for how the project will be managed, and will ensure that everyone involved knows what is expected of them. 

In addition, the communication of these roles and responsibilities throughout the team will ensure that all team members and stakeholders know who to contact regarding certain aspects of the project. For instance, the development lead will know to contact the design lead for anything related to design, and therefore avoiding unnecessary middlemen.

2) Stakeholder Engagement

Stakeholder engagement is key to get right , and setting up a strategy for this is essential. A solid stakeholder engagement strategy will dictate how and when stakeholders are communicated with, the correct wording to use when discussing the project with them, and the goals of each separate party. 

Again, when the team is informed on the stakeholder communication strategy, they will know the aims, and keep their comms with stakeholders to strategy-approved limits and terminology. This helps to keep stakeholders happy and engaged with the progress of the project.

3) Reporting & Data

It is highly likely that project managers will be responsible for managing the flow of data and reporting throughout the project team and / or with stakeholders. One crucial component of your project governance strategy is establishing exactly what data is provided to who, and when. 

Whether this is monthly reporting, quarterly reporting or benefits tracking, establishing this early on will provide consistency throughout the duration of the project. If team members are also responsible for providing data or reports, it is essential they are aware exactly what data they need to provide, and what the deadlines for this are.

4) Risk Management

While risk management is something that fluctuates throughout your project – as risks appear and disappear – the method by which you track these risks should not. Keeping tabs on potential risks can help minimise the actual issues that materialise. Utilising effective risk tracking software can help you gauge what risks you are facing, and help you devise contingency plans in case they come to fruition. 

How you track and manage your risks, what is considered a risk, and the strategy for devising back up plans should be set in stone from the starting line. Beginning a project without the necessary risk management plans in place can spell disaster, which is what makes it such a critical part of project governance. 

5) Quality Control

With quality such an important part of your final project delivery, how exactly are you going to ensure it? What tools are you going to use to manage the quality of your deliverables? What level or standard are you going to hold them to? 

These are all things that need to be considered in your project governance strategy. Without effective methods of quality control, your project may run smoothly, but the end result may fall below the standards that are expected of it.

6) Workflow Management

Making sure workflows are correctly allocated, tracked and managed is a great way to ensure productivity remains high. This can be done using Gantt charts or Kanban boards.

Decide how you are going to delegate workflows, and who is going to be in charge of that  before getting into the meat of the work to change the flow of productivity for the better.

Managing a Team: Project Management Best Practices

Roles within Project Governance

A project doesn’t govern itself, nor is it up to the project manager alone. There are several roles that need to be assigned or formalised before a project can begin, and ensuring everyone involved knows the identity of the below individuals, you’ll be off to a good start. 

1) Project Owner

A project owner is the person who takes ownership of delivering the project. The stakeholders depend on this person to deliver the project and the team members rely on them for guidance and direction.

Typically, this person is the project manager, or a head of department. It could also be an outside party, brought in to specifically manage this project. It may also be more than one person, but deciding on the identity of this person is perhaps the first step in your project governance process.

2) Stakeholders

The stakeholders are the ones who have a vested interest in the project. This could be investors, managers of dependent departments, recipients of project benefits, or anything else. While a project manager may not be able to choose their own stakeholders, defining the background, role, and level of involvement of each one will help you devise a stakeholder management strategy that works for everyone.

3) Team Members

The team members are the ones who keep everything moving. They’re on the ground, working day to day to get things done. These are the people who the project owner / manager assigns tasks to, the ones who deliver data, track benefits, manage risks and create those deliverables that are essential to the project’s continuation and completion. 

Consideration by the project manager of the perspective each person can bring – alongside their talents – can provide a unique opportunity to deliver a high quality end product. 

4) Advisors & Consultants

Sometimes, any of the three above parties may utilise the insight of advisors or consultants. These people bring a specialist perspective on a particular part of the project. Be it branding, consumer relations, timelines, or other dependencies, these people are brought in to assess something specific about the project. They can sometimes provide a unique insight into the project or the target market, due to their specialism or general outside perspective. 

Creating your own Project Governance Structure

Now that you know the components of project governance, it’s time to put it all together and create a strategy for yourself. Here’s how:

  • Define your end goals and the deliverables needed along the way
  • Assign all roles and responsibilities within your project
  • Define your stakeholders, and take time to learn more about them
  • Put together a strategy for engaging your stakeholders
  • Determine how quality is going to measured, tracked and controlled
  • Decide how data and reporting is going to be handled
  • Decide how – and with what tools – the day to days of the project are going to be managed

If you’ve done all of the above, you’ve likely created a project governance strategy. Congratulations!
When deciding which tools to use to manage your project, Verto 365 combines a range of project management tools, which can all be used within Microsoft Teams. Verto 365 provides private and public sector organisations with the tools they need to build, govern, and complete their projects. Start your journey today and sign up for free today. 

Try Verto 365

Editors picks

Nothing found.


New user announcements 2022

Welcome Page Header White

Verto Cloud welcome our new partners in the first quarter of 2022

We have welcomed the start of 2022 here at Verto, as we finally settle into what feels like a ‘normal’ working situation.

This year we are looking forward to expanding our influence within the Private Sector as we gain more traction with organisations seeking to improve the quality of their workforce collaboration, since so many are either returning to the office or settling into a hybrid working environment.

We continue to grow and develop partnerships within the public sector and look forward to the impending formation of Integrated Care Systems to showcase our tools that help create a joined up digital ecosystem for all membership organisations involved.

Finally, to the government sector where our roots are firmly placed. After a great year in 2021 forming new relationships with central government we also continued to develop tools for some of our longest standing clients within local authorities.

The Verto 365 app for Microsoft Teams continues to see uptake as more individuals take advantage of the Verto Playground, a free version suitable to everyone, whatever their level or size of business they work for.

2022- New clients


Non-profit

British Council

Building connections, understanding and trust between people in the UK and other countries through arts and culture, education and the English language.

Visit site

Healthcare

NHS Wales Shared Services Partnership

Supporting NHS Wales through high quality, customer focused support functions and services. Adding value through partnership, innovation and excellence.

Visit site

Local Government

Worcestershire County Council

Aiming to deliver the best possible service by putting residents within their local area first and making every effort to satisfy them.

Visit site

Healthcare

Sirona Health

Help when you or your family or carer need. Help individuals stay as independent as possible. Sirona look after adults and children at home and at school. Their thousands of staff work across Bristol, South Gloucestershire and North Somerset.

Visit site

Hybrid working

What is Hybrid Working? A Complete Guide

Hybrid working, while it wasn’t the norm pre-2020, has been found to provide better balance for workers who are not required to be at work full-time to get their jobs done. While remote working used to be deemed as a bit of a luxury and only offered in a small number of cases, the social etiquette behind a more flexible attitude to working away from the office has become a lot more accepted, and in some cases promoted, as productivity soars.

The Definition of Hybrid Working

Hybrid working nowadays is commonly defined as the ability to split your time at work between the office and working remotely. For most of us, this means working from home or in a local coffee shop, at the library or from co-working spaces to name a few.

Back in 2020, workers were forced to set up shop at home as the only option, and work there for most of the year. Kitchen tables were turned into ad-hoc workspaces, and spare rooms all over the world were turned into offices.

For lots of us, being able to work from home was ideal, and made our lives a bit easier. Having discovered the benefits employees were seeing from home working, many organisations decided to bring in hybrid working options as a permanent fixture.

Why Do Companies Utilise Hybrid Working?

So why exactly has hybrid working stuck with us? Here’s a few benefits that really stick out:

1) Wellbeing

One of the most talked-about aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic is the effect it had on our mental wellbeing. Emerging from this was the revelation that having a better balance between work and life is good for our mental health. The Office of National Statistics states: Of those currently homeworking 85% expected to share their time between their usual place of work and remote working in the future. (source)

 

2) Increased Productivity

Whether it’s the lack of a proper office space at home, or distracting colleagues at work, hybrid working bridges the gap between the two. This allows those who work better in the office to choose to spend their time there, with the same applying for those who work better at home. Moreover, it’s provided the opportunity for workers to really explore where they are most productive, as opposed to forcing productivity from a fixed place, which was the only option previously.

And it’s not all about productivity in the workplace that businesses are focused on. With a growing interest in defining, progressing and tracking wider benefits around Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance (ESG), organisations are looking to drive financial impact by appealing to the conscience of society and what people deem to be important (and no, that’s not the bottom line of your organisation).

By securing an improved work-life balance through fewer days in the workplace and more at home where the washing can be hung out at lunchtime and dependents are able to spend more time with those they love, it shows that productivity can come in many forms. Provided the outcomes are delivered for the work we are paid for, the outcomes we are not paid for, but are equally (if not more) important, will be satisfied leading to wider cultural improvements across the board.

 

3) More Appreciation of the Working Environment

Perhaps the biggest issue that people found with working from home full time is the lack of interaction with their colleagues. With the social element stripped from working, many of us found ourselves losing motivation over time.

This highlighted just how important a good working environment is to get the best out of your employees. When we are given the choice of working from the office or from home, we come to understand the benefits of each environment, and can plan our time accordingly.

 

Is Hybrid Working the Future?

It seems that for many, hybrid working is here to stay, for now. Businesses all over the world are realising the benefits of giving employees a little more freedom. But will it stay with us forever?

According to Nick Bloom, a professor of economics at Stanford University, around 5% of paid working days were from home in the UK and USA. When the pandemic hit in early 2020, this rose to around 50%. This has now dropped to around 25%, with many previously home-working organisations allowing their workers to attend the office two to three days a week.

Time will tell how this rate grows in future. More traditional white-collar organisations such as banks and councils have been keener to retain office working as the norm. While for now, it looks like hybrid working is a favourite among more creative organisations and agencies.

 

Will Hybrid Working Suit You?

So where do you stand on hybrid working? Are you someone who works better from the comfort of home, or do you prefer a bustling office environment. Here are a few things to consider when thinking about how hybrid working might suit you:

 

1) Where are you most productive?

You’ll probably already know whether you are more productive at home or in the office. If you’re someone who struggles to get into the right mindset for work while at home, full time office work might be the better option.

Some of us are equally productive no matter where we are, which makes hybrid working ideal. Some tasks lend themselves to home working, while others benefit from a collaborative environment. If this sounds like you, hybrid working might just be perfect for you.

 

2) Do you have a suitable workspace at home?

Perhaps the biggest issue that the world found with working from home was the lack of a suitable workspace. Many of us had to use our kitchen tables as a desk, which tends not to foster the right headspace for being productive.

Some of us are lucky enough to have a dedicated space at home, such as a spare room converted into an office. If this is you, it sounds like you’re well equipped to handle hybrid working.

 

3) How well do you collaborate from home?

It’s arguably the case that the office environment makes collaborating with colleagues easier. Being able to bounce ideas off each other allows for more creative thinking, which isn’t so easy when working remotely.

Some people find that all they need to collaborate effectively is regular updates via video call, but others thrive on real-world collaboration. It’s up to you to determine if you can collaborate just as well from home as you do in the office however tools such as Microsoft Teams which drives collaboration in digital format are a great way to maintain connection, communication, and collaboration when not physically with your team. Now, power apps, such as Verto 365, are emerging that bring even more of your work capabilities into your MS Teams platform without you having to navigate from one system to another to achieve what you need to.

 

Making Hybrid Work for You

If you are looking to implement a hybrid working model in your workplace, there are a handful of prerequisites that will make the pivot a lot smoother.

 

1) Clearly define your stance on hybrid working

Every worker should be crystal clear on their organisation’s position on hybrid working. Formal policies should be in place that explain how the organisation stands on the hybrid model.

Many organisations have made hybrid working an option, meaning that workers can choose whether to work from home or from the office. Others mandate that their workers attend the office a set amount of days per work, while allowing them to choose one or two days to work from home. If you’re a decision maker in your organisation, it’s up to you to define your policy on hybrid working, and clearly communicate it to your workforce.

 

2) Find a method of communicating effectively

Employees need to be able to communicate seamlessly whether in the office or working remotely. Many organisations spread their communications over multiple channels, which can make things confusing for their workers.

Thousands of organisations around the world are consolidating their communications using platforms like Verto 365. By hosting all company comms and workloads in one place, you improve your employee’s capacity to collaborate and communicate effectively.

 

3) Be aware of the effect on mental wellbeing

Understanding how hybrid working affects the mental wellbeing of you and your teams is absolutely essential. The more you understand this, the better you can communicate with your colleagues.

Some of us can feel somewhat isolated when working from home, which has a significantly negative impact on our mental wellbeing. Being attentive to the mental health needs of your colleagues and employees is absolutely vital to ensure everyone stays happy and productive at work.

 

How to Make Hybrid Working Seamless

A platform like Verto 365 can enhance the benefits hybrid working brings to workers and an organisation. If you’re using Microsoft Teams already for work, Verto 365 helps you control and manage even more from within the same platform. This means collaboration on more of your work can stay in one place so that you don’t have to.

When installed in Microsoft Teams, Verto365 brings its complete range of work and project management tools, and embeds them directly into the MS Teams interface. Work management and planning tools like Kanban Boards and Document Sharing ensures everyone stays on the same page.

 

If you are looking to make hybrid working easier for your organisation, try Verto 365 free today, or request a demonstration from one of our hybrid working experts!

Try Verto 365

Verto Drop-in Session 28.10.2022

Register to gain access to the drop-in session today!

Register to gain access to our Verto drop-in sessions. These sessions are designed to allow you to set the agenda. Drop in anytime between 10:00 and 12:00 on the last Friday of each month where you will have the opportunity to ask the Verto team for any help, support and advice.


Verto Drop-in Session 30.09.2022

Register to gain access to the drop-in session today!

Register to gain access to our Verto drop-in sessions. These sessions are designed to allow you to set the agenda. Drop in anytime between 10:00 and 12:00 on the last Friday of each month where you will have the opportunity to ask the Verto team for any help, support and advice.


Verto Drop-in Session 26.08.2022

Register to gain access to the drop-in session today!

Register to gain access to our Verto drop-in sessions. These sessions are designed to allow you to set the agenda. Drop in anytime between 10:00 and 12:00 on the last Friday of each month where you will have the opportunity to ask the Verto team for any help, support and advice.


Denbighshire County Council case study

95,000+

Population to serve

Verto Project and Performance in equal measure

Denbighshire County Council have been using Verto for their project management for many years now. But as well as mapping and managing the types of large and complex project work expected of a Local Authority organisation, Denbighshire place great importance in tracking all outcomes from each and every project delivered, and have a dedicated arm of the business looking after the measurement information around measuring all project performance through Verto.

The council has recently renewed its Verto contract, which will see the council move into its next 5-year plan as an organisation.

 

The ongoing work

They required one complete system that would help keep control of all the council’s frameworks, of which the main document is the current 5-year Corporate Plan running from 2017 to 2022. The plan concentrates on  5 priority areas, as set by the council, and have been worked on from both the project and performance divisions, all through Verto.

To shape the next plan, the views of the public, stakeholders and staff via surveys, and the learnings from previous consultations will help structure the priorities moving forward to identify what ambitions should be set for the next 5-years. But as well as looking to the next, the current plan also has to be closed off appropriately, which requires functionality from Verto to aid with the coming together of all activities within the time frame, whether the 2017 ambitions were met, and what benefits can be realised.

Our Solution

Having one single system was key to house all the strategies across all priority areas. While Verto was already being used to help run projects, Denbighshire then decided to work closely with Verto on the performance side of things.

They were instrumental in assisting in developing a new build of customised performance management tools that complemented the project tools they already used. While many companies either focus on the projects or performance, and therefore either look for a project system provider, or performance system provider, what Verto can deliver is the opportunity to do both and have all information being fed into, and reported on, one central reservation.

The future

The platform continues to be ever-evolving, the system has to remain logical, up-to-date and useful to the teams who are using it.

The project team are currently in talks with TMI to further develop aspects of the Verto platform, such as reporting and specific language used that reflects terminology that makes sense internally at Denbighshire. Once this is complete, the performance team will also work with TMI to match their functionality in order to maintain a streamlined and intuitive set of tools.