People having a group discussion around a meeting table about workplace management.

8 ways HR can improve hybrid working

In this blog, we’ll discuss Planon’s perspective on the role of HR, our experiences, focus and strategies behind a hybrid working model and how we’ve been able to adapt to a hybrid working model ourselves, while continuing to operate a smooth running and efficient HR department.

Business isn’t just a game of profit. People are at the core of any successful organization, and ensuring they have everything they need to run the company like a well-oiled machine doesn’t just come down to the size of their paycheck. Their emotions, attitudes towards their jobs and employers, as well as their office experience and work-life balance are also crucial for maintaining a thriving business. And at the center of all that is Human Resources (HR).

Working together with Facility Management (FM) and Information Technology (IT), from strategy to operation, an organization’s HR department does far more than simply managing the employee life cycle and administering employee benefits. One of the most important HR responsibilities is to ensure employees stay healthy as well as engaged, which means optimizing their working environment for their well-being.

In this blog, we’ll discuss Planon’s perspective on the role of HR, our experiences, focus and strategies behind a hybrid working model and how - by incorporating the right tooling - we’ve been able to adapt to a hybrid working model ourselves, while continuing to operate a smooth running and efficient HR department.

The role of HR within a hybrid working model

Planon already had a partial hybrid working model in place before COVID-19 hit, so this period was less turbulent for us than it could have been. If anything, as the fundamentals were already in place, it just accelerated the implementation of our strategy. Most of the company was already digitalized and hybrid-enabled. Still, the integration of HR did need specific tooling - and time - to ensure a fully functioning hybrid environment. And this meant that combining employee well-being, engagement, and performance was challenging.

What’s more, it’s become clear that hybrid working isn’t only a matter of digitalization. When businesses have to set up a completely new hybrid work environment to thrive, the responsibility for the workplace becomes a joint effort between HR and FM, with IT on hand for support with tooling and digitalization.

At the same time, HR has an ongoing commitment to the role of ‘lifetime employability’, a model which ensures people are healthy and fit for their job at all times during their entire career, leading to more sustainable employment.

How to achieve sustainable ‘lifetime employability’

Lifetime employability is vital when it comes to running a successful business that not only retains staff, but has their trust and dedication. This is about responsibility, for both the employer and the employee, ensuring people at all levels stay relevant and fit for work at all times. But how is that achieved?

Hybrid working is one of the main elements, offering employees flexibility to choose the most appropriate workspace based on their activities and commitments. This supports the work-life balance, allowing them to live a healthier, more balanced life while also optimizing their performance. It’s about trust, and the flexibility on both sides keeps everyone happy.

At Planon, we’ve set up a healthy hybrid workplace model that covers working at different remote locations - even during traveling– as well as health and well-being aspects. We encourage employees to make conscious choices that have a more sustainable footprint, such as not traveling into the office every day. But we also created sports facilities and a beach bar in our office to promote more healthy lifestyles and enable social collaboration. By doing this, employees are more likely to be efficient and productive, which is good for the organization and also for themselves

How Planon adopted a healthy hybrid working model

Here are eight ways Planon has adopted a healthy hybrid model and maintained a smooth-running HR department:

  • Using CO2 sensors, we monitor indoor air quality. If we see levels rising we can open a window.
  • We facilitate the home-office through delivering assets and allowances to ensure a well-equipped workspace.
  • We use our own software to monitor our office spaces. We observe which desks are used more than others. With this data, we can recognize employee preferences and understand why and how to adapt our workplace setup.
  • Our employees can make reservations for their workspace before leaving for work. They scan a unique QR code upon entering the facilities. This maintains security and helps with the payroll administration on commuting allowances. It also means we can ensure the number of workspaces and workspace sizes don’t exceed what’s needed.
  • We encourage more daily steps by placing the best coffee machine on the ground floor. Now, employees naturally leave their respective floors and walk down the stairs to get a better quality refreshment.
  • We offer gym facilities and physical activities such as yoga classes. Healthy lunches are available on site. Furthermore, our social events help ensure social connections that are proven to stimulate better collaboration and the sense of belonging and engagement. All in all, our people are happy to commute to the office from time to time and experience a better work-life balance at the same time.
  • We introduced dedicated team days where the full team comes to the office to support the social collaboration.
  • Our employees decide themselves how often they come to the office and work from home or any other desired location.

We believe every organization can adopt these, or equivalent methods, to achieve a successful hybrid working model where HR plays an important role.

Wanda Stoop-Zijlstra, Planon's Executive VP HR in the headquarter in Nijmegen.

Wanda Stoop-Zijlstra

EVP Human Resources

Wanda joined Planon in 1994 and has been an integral part of the company’s development. Since 2002, Wanda has been leading the HR organization and activities, managing the set-up, professionalization and continuous development needed to support the company’s fast-paced growth.

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