Hybrid work is a workplace trend that won’t go away any time soon. With a revolving door of employees in the office and the necessity for proper technological alignment, businesses must ensure seamless operations even through scattered employee locations and schedules.
Excel has been around for over 30 years, and it continues to be a useful, robust tool for workplace tasks and operations, from data organization to business growth. But can you still use Excel effectively in a hybrid workplace? We think so.
Today we’ll cover a few common issues that arise from the switch from office to hybrid work models, and some tips and tricks on how to use Excel in a hybrid workplace to maximize productivity and effectiveness.
Hybrid Work Environments
A hybrid work model entails flexibility where employees can spend some of their workweek working remotely (from home), and the remainder in the office. Different employees may have different office vs home schedules to accommodate social distancing requirements or simple office operations.
Many employers report higher workplace morale in hybrid models, as employees find more work-life balance. Cooking meals, finding more time in the day with removed commutes, and simple home comforts all make for a more well-rounded work experience.
But hybrid work comes with a few challenges, namely:
Lack of Inclusion and Collaboration: Video calls and emails don’t always appropriately provide recognition for someone’s work. If an employee is shy or more introverted, they may feel more isolated while working from home. A lack of inclusion may also pose obstacles to effective collaboration.
Access: In a hybrid model, some employees might not have access to the same resources or materials as someone in the office. To ensure everyone is on the same page, businesses must take extra care to ensure all remote-working team members can view or access the same documents and programs as team members in the office.
Technology: Many companies have introduced new technology to promote a more seamless hybrid work experience. But with new technology comes increased learning curves and confusion as to which technology is necessary or not. Employees may find difficulty with connectivity, issues with IT support, and a lack of productivity if they spend too much time on new technologies.
Security: Bringing the office home poses security risks, as seen by the 90% of companies that reported a security breach in the last two years while embracing a hybrid work model.
Hybrid work is beneficial for productivity and morale but certainly comes with some challenges. Now, let’s look at some tips and tricks on how to use Excel effectively in a hybrid workplace, and in a way that may solve some of the above challenges.
How to Use Excel in a Hybrid Workplace
Excel is still an effective tool for countless business tasks, whether it’s project management, performance reporting, data sharing and entry, task management — you name it! But certain hybrid workplace challenges might hinder the effectiveness of Excel in day-to-day operations. Access issues might hinder employees from seeing the data. A lack of communication may result in certain team members not hearing about certain updates.
Here are some best practices — tips and tricks — to use Excel effectively in the workplace:
1. Choose “Group” Over “Hide”
It’s tempting to use Excel’s “hide” features. You can clean up your spreadsheet and provide an overview of data, with hidden areas masked and accessible only for when you need more detail. Problem is, Excel has many “hide” features that can hinder an employee’s ability to access information. This rings especially true in the hybrid work era, as it’s not as simple to walk over to someone’s desk to ask a question or for you to quickly clarify the presence of hidden information face-to-face.
To avoid access issues and even possible miscalculations, opt for the “group” option instead. You’ll still be able to separate information and your team members can choose to expand or collapse certain areas of the document.
2. Make Use of “Sheet View”
In a hybrid work model, you may use co-authored Excel documents where more than one person, even a superior, can access the spreadsheet you’re working on. If you don’t want someone to see you working until you’ve completed a task, make use of Excel’s sheet view function on Excel Online! With sheet view, you can create a version of the spreadsheet that only you can see.
3. Edit in Real-Time
Remove the location barriers in a hybrid work environment by collaborating on a project in real-time. Team members can work simultaneously on the same document as long as they’re hooked into Microsoft 365.
4. Brush Up on Excel Shortcuts
Some companies wrongfully attribute a lack of productivity to a work-from-home model. In most cases, that’s not true; but it can be if employees are having a harder time with technology. To combat any lost time, now’s a great time to brush up on Excel shortcuts.
Instead of moving and clicking your mouse a few times to accomplish a task, use shortcuts to quicken the process by achieving the same result with the tap of a key or two. From navigation to opening and selection, you can find productivity in your day-to-day operations with a few shortcuts.
5. Automate Your Tasks
A common challenge in hybrid environments is a lack of collaboration, inclusion, and communication across the team. Indeed, both managers and employees must make an effort and create more time to ensure adequate communication within the team. Make more time for that by automating your tasks in Excel.
The VBA (Virtual Basic of Applications) tool helps you automate the tasks you do every day. This can shorten your data entry process from hours to minutes, helping you find more time to address the challenges that come with hybrid work models.
Excel can help you maximize employee productivity and satisfaction in a hybrid work model. To use it effectively, make sure your team is aware of shortcuts, task automation, as well as group and sheet view functions.
Interested in learning more about how you can drive business growth with Excel? Contact ExcelHelp today to learn how we can support your goals.