Readily adaptable working environments have been a defining characteristic of successful organizations since the global pandemic. Workplaces across industries were initially forced to transition to a fully remote structure and have moved toward “hybrid” working arrangements to accommodate updated expectations over the past year.

According to HBR, hybrid work—a combination of in-office and at-home work—factors into planning for 72% of corporate leaders in the U.S. And for good reason; more than half of U.S. workers believe that hybrid working arrangements allow them to be more creative, solve problems more effectively, and build stronger relationships. 

Getting the hybrid workplace right is easier said than done, and many institutions have struggled to find the right balance. Without a crystal ball, it’s impossible to know exactly what our working lives will look like over the next decade. But institutions can still take future-proofing steps to bolster their tech stack and streamline their processes ahead of unforeseen circumstances.

In this post, we’ll explore three ways to future-proof your organization in the era of hybrid work and ensure successful collaboration from anywhere.

Stay connected through the cloud

Digital transformation is one of the core challenges of the transition toward hybrid work, especially for large and well-established institutions. Fortunately, the cloud offers a host of benefits that make it easy to keep faculty, staff, and students connected:

  • Scalability: Without expensive software to install and license, you can add access for anyone who needs it.
  • Access: Cloud-based apps and software are accessible from anywhere, regardless of the software or hardware on the machine you’re using. Workers can start a project in the office and pick it up the next day from home without a hitch. 
  • Support: Both in-office and remote employees enjoy the same level of access to tech support, whether they’re at the home office or hundreds of miles away.
  • Communication: Cloud-based tech enables regular check-ins, streamlined communication workflows, measurable progress tracking, and feedback gathering so that everyone involved in the research process understands what’s next and how their work fits into the bigger picture.

Maintain a single source of truth

Miscommunications are all too easy with less face-to-face interaction, as digital communication can sometimes get misinterpreted or lost in the fray. When project updates are passed along through a jumble of texts, emails, phone calls, hard-copy documents, and other formats, it’s no wonder that updates are lost or misunderstood. 

Research projects can experience massive delays simply because the next person who needs to take action isn’t even aware the ball is in their court.

Maintaining a single source of truth for the entire research lifecycle solves this problem. With a single reference point for all project updates, tasks, and approvals, nothing gets lost in the digital void of someone’s inbox. 

Creating a shared source of truth makes it easy for stakeholders across the board to see where every project sits and to take any actions needed from them. It’s also simple for administrators to pull macro-level reports demonstrating their organization’s prowess. 

Leverage the power of integrations

One of the most common mistakes institutions make with their tech is cobbling together a kaleidoscope of software without ensuring that the bigger picture makes sense. The result is a tangled web of processes that look very much the same as—or even worse than—the old manual way of doing things.

Look for software that supports the full research life cycle, specializes in your field, and integrates directly with your existing software. 

Rolling out any new piece of tech can be a painful process—after all, no one likes change. Save yourself the time and trouble of splicing together software and seek options that support your existing workflows without overcomplicating them.

Another telltale sign of a future-proofed technology tool is one that is continually being upgraded and improved. There’s no telling what your institution will require down the line; be careful not to invest valuable research dollars in tools that must be replaced because they can’t keep pace with you or your other software providers as you grow.

The forecast for 2023: increased workload and reduced staff

In our recent Benchmark Report, 50% of respondents told us they were bracing for an anticipated increase in workload—and that’s after 84% already saw a bump in 2022. This increased demand is often accompanied by significant budget reduction, which means that every dollar you invest must work harder than ever to support your institution and your team efficiently. 

You may not be able to predict the future, but by future-proofing your working environment, you can be ready for it. Request a demo to learn how Cayuse can help your research administration team prepare for anything.