Businesses uncertain over hybrid working model, survey finds

Innovation, productivity and cyber security risks are central themes

Aon’s Business Risk Index found 60 per cent of businesses were unsure about how hybrid working would affect innovation, with concerns that having some employees located at home while others were in the office would hinder the organisation’s ability to innovate.

Aon’s Business Risk Index found 60 per cent of businesses were unsure about how hybrid working would affect innovation, with concerns that having some employees located at home while others were in the office would hinder the organisation’s ability to innovate.

 

Businesses are facing uncertainty about how to manage the transition to a new hybrid working model, a new survey has revealed, with concerns around innovation, productivity and cyber security risks.

Aon’s Business Risk Index found 60 per cent of businesses were unsure about how hybrid working would affect innovation, with concerns that having some employees located at home while others were in the office would hinder the organisation’s ability to innovate.

Confident

Less than a quarter said they were confident that a hybrid working model will not restrict innovation within their business.

The risk index surveyed 160 businesses across Ireland on the main business risks facing employers as they plan the return to office.

One in four said they were concerned about a fall in productivity as a result of a move to hybrid working.

However, more than half of Irish companies said they would provide greater flexibility for employees, with 40 per cent intending to use technology or other means to enhance collaboration amongst staff.

Almost two-thirds of employers said company culture is more critical for business success than strategy or business models. However, only 44 per cent said they had placed more emphasis on developing their organisational culture as a result.

A chief concern for business leaders was cyber security, with almost half of Irish businesses saying phishing was the biggest current cyber risk to their organisation.

Some 24 per cent are concerned about ransomware attacks.

However, only 40 per cent have provided cyber-security training to employees over the past 18 months, and 40 per cent have enhanced their data recovery and back-up systems.

“With the gradual return to office now underway, business leaders are now planning how to successfully evolve their working model while mitigating the risks associated with the future of work,” said Peter Brady, chief executive of commercial risk & health solutions, Aon in Ireland.

Decisions

“From navigating a changing cybersecurity landscape to maintaining productivity, the pandemic is reshaping businesses view of risk and sharpened the importance of making better decisions.

He encouraged Irish business leaders to review whether they have the right technology and cyber security strategy as well as a supportive culture in place to foster creativity regardless of employee location.

“Leaders must take action to foster an organisational culture that nurtures collaboration and prioritises outcomes rather than processes. By taking decisions today to address these risks, companies can ensure hybrid working becomes a business opportunity rather than a business barrier.

Placing greater focus on company culture, flexibility and cyber resilience will ensure that company leaders maintain a productive and innovative workforce,” he said.