Aug 02 2023

4 Challenges Nonprofits Face with Hybrid Work, and How to Overcome Them

With the hybrid setup here to stay, nonprofits must increase their capabilities to cater to employees.

While it’s no secret that some employers are eager for employees to return to the office, employees have largely preferred remote work since it became mainstream during the pandemic.

The compromise has been hybrid work, and it’s not likely to go away anytime soon: 85 percent of employees working in a hybrid setup want to keep that model — so much so that 71 percent who prefer hybrid work say they’re likely to look for another job if their current employer doesn’t offer it.

That’s part of why the National Council of Nonprofits says it’s important for nonprofit organizations to develop the capacity to engage hybrid and remote employees.

Of course, wanting to be hybrid-capable and actually becoming hybrid-capable are two different things. Here are four challenges nonprofits may face when optimizing their hybrid work capabilities, and how to deal with them.

Click the banner below to learn how to best support a digital work environment.

1. Address New Cyberthreats by Bolstering Security

Cyberattacks are the top concern when securing a hybrid or remote workforce. Whether employees are using company-issued devices or their own, extending work beyond an enterprise’s network means that nonprofits should consider implementing advanced security strategies that protect data in dispersed environments.

One such strategy is a zero-trust security approach, which requires all users to be authenticated, authorized and continuously validated to gain access to an organization’s applications and data, whether or not the user is within the organization’s network. Zero-trust makes it possible to find a balance between security and accessibility for a distributed workforce. In short, with identity and access management tools and microsegmentation, zero trust can bolster a nonprofit’s defenses for hybrid and remote employees.

LEARN MORE: Cybersecurity solutions to keep systems, data and employees safe.

2. Outfit Employees with the Technology Needed to Work Onsite and Remotely

The hybrid model requires two work setups — in-office and remote — and their needs aren’t always identical. For instance, while a desktop computer may be advantageous in an office, a laptop may be most useful outside of the office so employees can work at home, from the coffee shop, during travel and elsewhere.

Depending on their job responsibilities, some employees may even be better off using a tablet. Nonprofit IT leaders must think within this flexible framework and prioritize the needs of individual users when setting up the tech for their office and remote work environments.

Outfitting employees with office chairs and high-quality audio and video solutions such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams can go a long way. But the hybrid model gives employees the power to customize their work suite directly.

71%

The percentage of employees who prefer hybrid work and will look for a new job if their employer doesn’t offer it

Source: mckinsey.com, “Hybrid work: Making it fit with your diversity, equity, and inclusion strategy,” April 20, 2022

3. Increase Accessibility by Finding Personalized Solutions for Employees

Hybrid work can be particularly challenging for people with limited vision, hearing or other disabilities. Navigating a traditional computer or catching every word on a Zoom call, for example, may pose difficulties or create extra stress. In these instances, helping employees find personalized solutions is imperative to a nonprofit’s hybrid success — it’s simply a part of equipping employees with the right tools to do their jobs well.

Fortunately, between text-to-speech and speech-to-text software, screen readers and cognitive aids, there’s no shortage of tools available for nonprofits to deploy.

EXPLORE: How to be more efficient as you manage remote and hybrid work. 

4. Cultivate a Company Culture Where Employees Can Be Open 

In the office, there may be uniformity — a series of seemingly identical chairs and desks. At home, however, each employee’s setup is unique. To promote a culture of community and collegiality, nonprofits must recognize this fact to ensure that employees feel safe, comfortable and respected (even if, say, their dog barks in the background or their toddler interrupts a meeting). These small tactics can also fend off work-from-home burnout and Zoom fatigue.

It’s not uncommon for employees to fear that voicing a personal need might negatively affect them — 43 percent of people with less visible disabilities keep them hidden from their employer for that reason, reports Personnel Today.

Remote work makes it even easier for employees to keep things hidden, but it also creates a rare opportunity for authenticity. If a nonprofit wants to get the most out of its team, it should cultivate a hybrid company culture that allows employees to show up as their authentic selves.

Pekic / Getty Images
Close

Become an Insider

Unlock white papers, personalized recommendations and other premium content for an in-depth look at evolving IT