atlas by clearpeople

9 hybrid working challenges and solutions


The shift towards hybrid working has transformed the corporate landscape, offering flexibility and a more balanced approach to work-life integration. However, this evolution brings its own set of challenges, particularly in areas like collaboration, engagement, and data management. Let's explore these hurdles and discover how the Atlas Intelligent Knowledge Platform is uniquely positioned to address them.

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Flexible working is here to stay

On 6 April changes to UK law mean that employees are entitled to request flexible working options as soon as they start their roles, rather than after 26 weeks, as was previously the case. Under the Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Act 2023, employees will also be able to submit requests for greater flexibility twice a year, and will not be required to explain how their working arrangements will impact the wider business. Employers will have to respond to requests within two months. 

The benefits of hybrid and remote working are huge. Two studies by Harvard Business Review2 show that knowledge workers are more productive working from home. Remote work encourages your employees to take ownership of their work and can reduce distractions. But to maximise these digital working benefits you need the right support in place.

1. Overcoming the challenges of collaboration especially when working hybrid

For many businesses offering hybrid working, the ‘silo of one’ has become an issue. Hybrid work can fragment team dynamics, making real-time collaboration more challenging. Disparate locations can also hinder the spontaneous exchanges that drive innovation. The value of collaboration to an organization, particularly one grappling with the challenges of digital working, is clear. Recent Gartner research3 found 71% of HR leaders are more concerned about employee collaboration now than they were before the pandemic. And GoRemotely reports that 50% of employees are more engaged when working in collaborative environments.

That collaboration and teamwork are critical to success is not new. And technology provides people with more options for collaboration. The key is that business leaders need to intentionally create collaboration opportunities for their hybrid and remote workers. The payoff, according to Gartner5, is greater levels of innovation.

Solution: Enhance collaboration by making it easy and frictionless

Creating ways to collaborate means making access to digital workspaces available to the entire workforce. If the organisation uses Microsoft Teams, for example, everyone should be able to access Teams from wherever they are and on any device.

Atlas integrates seamlessly with Microsoft Teams, facilitating real-time collaboration and communication. Its centralized knowledge platform ensures that team members, regardless of location, can access and contribute to shared projects and information.

Making collaboration easy and frictionless is another way to break down silos. If people need to switch to another digital application to chat to a team member, share a document or make notes everyone can see in real-time, collaboration becomes a burden. Enabling people to collaborate in the flow of work, as Atlas does, keeps people focused and makes collaboration productive and rewarding.

2. Engagement can be hard with hybrid working 

Maintaining employee engagement in a hybrid setup requires effort. Without regular face-to-face interactions, employees might feel disconnected from the organization's culture and goals. The physical presence of our co-workers is something we’ve taken for granted. Being in the same physical space keeps us on the same page and reminds us we’re part of a team. Without it, it’s harder to stay engaged. And as a leader, it can be difficult for you to motivate your staff when you don’t know what might be affecting their morale.

Solution: Boost engagement with knowledge

People are increasingly accustomed to a more social digital experience, even at work. Knowledge plays a huge part in how engaged employees are. At the core of the thinking behind Atlas is the idea that knowledge needs to be captured, shared, democratised. When people can tap into all available knowledge, they work smarter and better and are more engaged in their work. Therefore, by centralizing corporate knowledge and resources, Atlas helps sustain a sense of belonging and alignment with organizational goals, enhancing employee engagement and participation.

3. Lower barriers to adoption 

Teaching people new things is difficult! Even more so when you’re trying to teach someone a piece of technology using that technology – a situation many of us found ourselves in with remote working software. It’s slow-going getting people up to speed with new solutions.

Having a company intranet with a help centre full of how-to videos, FAQs and forums where people can ask questions helps employees learn how to use new technology and processes and troubleshoot issues. (Learn more about effective onboarding in a hybrid work environment in this blog.)

Solution: Streamline adoption with familiat tools

When things are designed with a people-first principle they become more user-friendly and easier to figure out. With its intuitive interface and integration with familiar tools like Microsoft 365, Atlas lowers barriers to adoption, encouraging employees to embrace new technologies with minimal resistance.

4. From sprawl of data to a unified experience

As people spread out, so do their files. Slow internet connections, VPN difficulties, and clunky legacy software can lead employees to store information wherever they can access in the moment. Often this isn’t a place anyone else would think to look! Annoying in the office – disastrous when working remotely.

The decentralization inherent in hybrid models exacerbates data sprawl, with information scattered across various platforms and locations, leading to inefficiencies.

Solution: Unified data and experience

Atlas automatically tags content when it’s saved, making it easily searchable. Atlas centralizes information, making it easier for people to find what they’re looking for. Instead of having to search for a document in email, chat and a SharePoint library, for example, a single search query will collate all related information.

Atlas takes this principle further, using tools and AI to target and customise content and surface all knowledge relevant to the context. This means that people find knowledge even if they didn’t know it was available and get the information most relevant to them. Serving up relevant and requested information also helps filter out ‘noise’ and distractions. 

5. Hard-to-find resources 

Locating specific documents or data becomes time-consuming, impacting productivity and decision-making. This is especially more difficult for new employees who have to navigate an idiosyncratic shared file system. It’s important for information to be shared intuitively so that people can find what they need.

The user-experience needs to be simply and friendly. A fast, comprehensive search experience is essential. Information and people who can help need to be easily found and contacted and knowledge sharing should be applauded.

Solution: Accessible resources on one platform

Atlas provides a unified experience of the information you need to get your work done, combined with powerful search capabilities and enhanced with AI. This ensures that employees can quickly find the resources they need, boosting productivity and efficiency.

“We weren’t quite sure what the possibilities were with this kind of tech transformation, and I am pleasantly surprised at how quick and easy the Atlas platform is in refining searches and enabling me to find the information I need within seconds. A lot of that has come from the workshops we’ve had with ClearPeople.”

View case study and video

6. Too many apps

The proliferation of applications meant to aid productivity often leads to confusion and app fatigue among employees. According to RingCentral6 the average person has 60-90 apps and 69% of workers waste up to an hour per day navigating between them all. Ugh!

This has been exacerbated by digital working as people juggle communications software on top of collaboration platforms, as well as all the programs they use for their primary job.

Solution: App consolidation

A solution like Atlas provides a single digital platform from which you can access all the apps you use at work. By offering a comprehensive suite of collaboration, knowledge management, and productivity tools, Atlas reduces the need for multiple apps, alleviating app overload. Even better, Atlas provides a more intuitive, user-friendly interface to Microsoft 365 technology making it easier to use and allowing you to use it in the flow of work. Being able to access all the digital tools you need in one place is a valuable hybrid working solution.

7. Too many silos

Outside the physical workspace it’s easy for teams and individuals to become insular. Lack of communication can end up with people duplicating each other’s work or failing to share vital knowledge. This is a costly inefficiency - poor communication and collaboration costs UK companies £8,000 per employee, every year, according to a report by Mitel7

Solution: Break down silos

Changing silos requires a cultural shift, one that values knowledge and rewards those who share it readily. Atlas promotes knowledge sharing and collaboration across departments, breaking down silos and fostering a more cohesive organizational culture. Atlas supports this by centralizing information, collaboration and communication. In other words, you don’t need to leave the application you’re working in to email a file to someone or to search for a document. By removing the friction of these tasks, you allow people to work across team boundaries freely.

8. Security concerns

The expanded digital footprint of hybrid work introduces complex security challenges, with increased risks of data breaches and cyberattacks.With employees logging in remotely, new vulnerabilities are created. These are exacerbated if frustration with slow legacy software leads people to use unauthorised programs for file sharing or digital communication. And IT support is more complicated to manage from a distance, leading people to seek their own workarounds for problems.

Solution: Robust security for hybrid work model 

Technology like Microsoft 365 has underlying infrastructure features that support your security requirements. Added to that, Atlas ensures that data is protected, supporting secure access and collaboration in a hybrid work model. Atlas also provides a user-friendly interface that enables people to self-serve within the governance framework set by your IT team.

9. Fatigue

The blurring of boundaries between work and home can lead to burnout and fatigue, affecting employee well-being and performance. Many businesses have attempted to address remote working challenges by creating a ‘virtual office’. But trying to simulate the physical office has proven to be counterproductive. “[Many] of the strategies that organisations are employing to ensure productivity are actually exacerbating these fatigue drivers, says Alexia Cambon, Gartner8. ”

Solution: Mitigate fatigue

Fatigue can be eased when managers instead focus on taking advantage of the flexibility and opportunities of digital working. Encouraging conscious collaboration is key. Atlas's efficient organization of information, helps employees manage their workload more effectively, contributing to a healthier work-life balance and reducing burnout.

In addition, tools like Microsoft Viva Insights offers employees and their managers ways to manage this, including booking in ‘focus time’ and identifying trends work trends that can either be healthy and therefore encouraged or unhealthy and therefore can be addressed.

Managing a hybrid work environment – a checklist

Hybrid or fully remote working presents challenges, yes, but there are also digital working solutions and opportunities. These solutions can be found in everything from shifts in company culture and management to technology. Here’s a checklist for you to see how your company is handling these new work challenges.

  1. Setting clear expectations
  2. Providing the proper tools and support
  3. Making communication mindful and strategic
  4. Creating inclusive employee experiences

A robust digital working solution can support cultural changes such as democratising knowledge, setting clear expectations and enabling flexible working. It provides a tangible solution in the form of a digital space in which to collaborate, find information and communicate. And by making it easier for people to access information and tools and do their work it grows inclusivity and employee engagement. In short, a robust digital workspace helps people and businesses meet and solve the challenges of hybrid and remote working.








All the digital workplace insights you need to overcome hybrid working challenges.

This useful guide:

Digital Workplace eBook cover 3D 335x134
  • Introduces the 4 pillars of successful flexible work.
  • Explains the landscape of the modern digital workplace.
  • Unlocks the value of a digital workplace.
  • Gives you 8 steps to building a successful digital workplace.
  • Defines 7 digital workplace adoption principles.

Page length:
13 pages

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Author bio

Katie Wakelin

Katie Wakelin

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