The pandemic has transformed the working model on a global scale and led professionals worldwide to evaluate their work-life balance and reconsider their priorities. Workers today, value health, well-being and ethical working cultures more than ever. Digital transformation has also changed how companies and management teams view working patterns and invest in their staff.
Shortages in IT professionals have resulted in a more candidate-centric market. Recent years have shown high productivity levels from remote workers, and with many professionals wishing to continue with flexible working patterns, companies are offering long-term remote and hybrid working possibilities.
This article considers whether or not software engineers would prefer to work at home and looks at their reasons. It also considers challenges faced by companies when managing remote and hybrid IT workers. If you’re interested in a career in IT, check out IT jobs in Malta. This article covers some of the areas below:
- Do software engineers want to work from home in Malta?
- Reasons IT professionals prefer the hybrid working model
- Challenges companies face with hybrid working
- Potential solutions to the challenges of managing a hybrid workforce
IT Professionals Working from Home
Due to the demand for software professionals, the IT workforce in Malta has a high percentage of workers from other nations that have relocated to work on the island. Local IT professionals and workers from further afield have different needs and preferences. IT recruitment agencies suggest that most IT companies in Malta offer a hybrid working pattern that is flexible enough to meet the needs of most workers. Worker preferences and reasons for their choices are suggested below:
Commuting: Local IT software developers often prefer to avoid traffic and parking issues and find it practical to work from home whereas international IT professionals often live near the workplace and use public transport or walk to work.
Social interaction: Maltese workers usually have a strong network of friends and social contacts whereas workers from elsewhere are keen to meet and interact with colleagues in the office.
Travel: International workers often travel home to reconnect with their families and companies facilitate this need by implementing measures to enable them to work from their own countries for extended periods of time.
Fewer distractions: While some workers find the office space ideal for avoiding distractions and enabling them to focus on work, other IT workers prefer working in silence to complete tasks that require intense bouts of concentration. They find meetings at work and interruptions from colleagues more of a deterrent for completing tasks.
The rationale behind worker preferences is individual and while there is no one size fits all model, flexible working by its very nature should offer a solution to suit employees and companies.
Challenges of hybrid working for companies
Meeting the diverse needs of IT professionals in Malta presents challenges to IT employers. Hybrid working is often the fairest and most flexible solution for accommodating workers and sustaining engagement and productivity to drive the business forward. Adapting and implementing effective hybrid working systems has presented the following challenges to companies:
Teambuilding: Building team morale when employees are working from different locations is challenging. Team members have fewer opportunities to bond and won’t get the chance to have casual conversations with each other. Employers often have to devise innovative ways to foster team spirit among workers.
Communication: While virtual meeting platforms and videoconferencing systems are widely available, management is finding themselves having to adopt an inclusive approach to ensure that all individuals have access to integrated systems. Some employees might find it more difficult to communicate across digital media. Information sharing with all becomes vital. Updates and messages must be communicated to all employees, whether or home or in the office to ensure that they have the same opportunities at work.
Staff onboarding: Onboarding processes become more complex when introducing new talent to teams when key staff members aren’t physically present at work. New hires face more barriers in establishing good working relationships with colleagues with hybrid work models. While there is software and tech for onboarding, management must be attentive to implement it properly and oversee the process. Training and integrating new workers is an influential factor in staff retention and is an issue we cover in the next section.
Staff retention: While flexible working patterns are a popular solution for IT professionals, workers are more likely to change jobs when they rarely frequent the workplace. With high levels of competition for high-calibre tech talent, companies need to provide optimum conditions for hybrid working and great opportunities for career development to encourage professionals to physically attend the workplace and foster worker loyalty.
Monitoring productivity: Assessing employee engagement when employees are working from other locations is complicated. Team leaders need systems in place to monitor staff performance while allowing them to take responsibility for their own workload. Offering constructive feedback and appraisals to all staff regardless of their location is important to keep them motivated.
Tips for optimising hybrid working
Flexible working is here to stay and has brought numerous benefits to the workplace and workforce. Though it might appear complex to manage at first, with the right tools, resources and technology, the transition can be relatively smooth.
Technology Ensure that all employees have easy access to files and data from their locations. While security is a priority, make it easy for workers to log in to work systems and work on projects at any time. Make use of cloud technology to facilitate document sharing and real-time updates.
Implement Voice over internet protocol (VoIP): This is an essential system to facilitate phone calls outside the office and enable workers to take calls on any device.
Provide business mobile phones: Business phones minimise security problems and are an effective way of managing communications. It also means employees can disconnect at the end of their working day.
Communicate regularly with staff: Provide employees with clear guidelines and information on hybrid working and ensure that there’s always a team leader or manager available that they can see in person. Operate a drop-in policy where employees can call in anytime.
Make the workplace attractive for staff: A welcoming environment is important so will want to physically attend work. Provide opportunities for team interactions and activities. Many companies offer free breakfasts and lunches and organise after-work drinks. Malta with its excellent climate and scenery is an ideal location for hosting outdoor sports events and team activities.
For more information on current IT salaries and job opportunities in Malta, feel free to download our latest IT Salary Survey.