The pandemic accelerated workplace transformation efforts as overnight, people shifted from office amenities to kitchen table collaboration. Throughout this blog series, I’ve discussed how hybrid work will redefine what it means to work and collaborate in a more distributed, yet more connected world.
We’re entering the next phase of hybrid work as many organizations rapidly adjusted by putting stopgap measures in place to ensure business continuity and are starting to plan how to safely get people back into the office. Now’s the time to ask: what’s our long-term strategy for hybrid work and how can we ensure it’s successful?
A long-term strategy for the future of work
Hybrid work is more than extending flexibility to employees. It’s an opportunity to fundamentally improve how work gets done, teams collaborate and the experience of the entire workforce. To reap the benefits of the hybrid workplace, you need a long-term strategy with the goal of delivering intelligent workplace experiences that extends beyond the walls of the office.
Visit the links below to read how you can lay the foundation for hybrid work:
- Create a hybrid workplace blueprint
- Equip remote workers with the right tools
- Leverage technology to provide a safe return to the office
Delivering next-gen experiences in every space
The workplace of the past was about being present in a physical location. The future is all about flexibility and blended in-person and remote collaboration. For the hybrid workplace to truly redefine your business, physical spaces must merge with virtual spaces, and technology is needed to assist people throughout their day. This takes intuitive software and intelligent devices that not only provide for great collaboration but also deliver insights to continuously improve experiences and enables you to easily deploy and manage your solution on a platform that is secure and reliable.
With intelligent workplace solutions designed for hybrid work, you can eliminate common meeting frustrations, optimize spaces with agility and create more productive environments where everyone on the team, in-person or remote, has a first-class experience.
The right strategy involves identifying the new purpose of the office and the technology to support it, evaluating and addressing remote work challenges, and investing in the right collaboration platform that provides the best solution for the new world of work.
The office strategy
In the hybrid workplace, the office serves a new purpose. The office is the central hub for people to participate in rich collaboration experiences, build rapport with colleagues and engage in training and education.
But the hybrid work model brings a new set of challenges for the office. As Zeus Kerravala, founder and Principal Analyst with ZK Research, shared at the WebexOne conference: “The hybrid workplace winds up looking a lot like college did where you do a majority of your work at home and you go to a physical location one to two days a week… You have to be prepared for an organization where everybody is in the office and no one is in the office and every possible combination in between.”
With a rotating cast of office workers, technology will be needed to assist employees in finding the right spaces to work and collaborate. Many organizations are planning changes like moving from dedicated desks to hoteling or hot desking where spaces are shared and temporarily reserved. New devices like the Webex Desk Hub, turns any space into your personal space.
This is just one example of how technology is enabling hybrid work. Intelligent devices that provide features like room booking, wayfinding, touchless controls and environmental sensors equips every space with intelligent, technology-driven experiences.
In addition, with the rise of hybrid work, 98% of people say that meetings in the future will involve remote participants. So even when people are in the office, video conferencing devices will need to be readily available to connect to participants who are working from home. These devices should provide a better than being there experience where technology provides additional value above and beyond an in-person meeting.
As part of your long-term office strategy, consider the following:
- How will employees know a desk will be available when they get to an office?
- How can they easily book and navigate to spaces?
- Can they expect a consistent and familiar collaboration experience whether they are in the office or at home?
- Will we be able to easily deploy and manage devices in the office and to remote workers?
- Do we have insight into how people are working?
- Can we track usage and do we have the ability to continuously optimize spaces?
The work from home strategy
Many of us were thrust into remote working when the pandemic hit and we’re now realizing the struggles. The stopgap and fragmented collaboration solutions that many organizations adopted were critical to keep business moving, but they create friction and frustration. In a recent survey on the future of work, 98% of the workforce said they are frustrated with their experience with video meeting technology at home. For hybrid work to be successful, it’s critical that this is addressed.
In a hybrid workplace, it’s likely that your workforce will be spending half or more of their working days at home. Employees need access to high-quality collaboration tools that provides the capabilities you’d expect from an office. And with so many people connecting virtually, there interactions need to be as close to meeting in-person as it can be. That means high-fidelity video and face-to-face communication that foster relationships and collaboration.
While many organizations believe a laptop is good enough, it’s apparent that remote workers need better experiences. Dedicated collaboration devices for the home office promote fatigue-free, natural experiences with easy access to the same collaboration capabilities you’d expect to find in the office.
Different types of work require different types of collaboration capabilities. Determining which employees need which capabilities isn’t an easy task and will take analytics to continually optimization. Outfitting every home office with high-end collaboration solutions can get expensive and if they go unused, it’s an unnecessary expense. A good starting point is to determine which groups require an experience that is similar to in-office meeting room experiences. Equip those employees with a collaboration device that will allow them to co-create, share ideas and enjoy a high-quality experience throughout their day.
As part of your long-term work from home strategy, consider the following:
- Are employees happy with their collaboration experience when working from home?
- Do they have easy access to the collaboration tools that support the type of work they doing?
- Can they remove distractions like messy backgrounds, keyboard clicks and dogs barking?
- Can they co-create and work together as they would in an office setting?
- Can we easily monitor and manage their devices and experience?
The platform strategy
The most important decision when designing a hybrid workplace is the collaboration platform. To ensure that everyone has a seat at the table, no matter where they are located, every employee must to be enabled with a full-featured, intuitive collaboration experience that allows them to message, meet, call, share content, and authentically connect. A platform that provides these key capabilities, provides a consistent experience whether at home or in the office and interoperates with the software people use every day will keep the workforce engaged and productive.
As part of your long-term hybrid work strategy, consider the following:
- Does the technology employees use provide a consistent experience at home and in the office?
- What capabilities will you need to enable hybrid work, and can your current toolset deliver those capabilities?
- Can we easily monitor and manage devices and features from anywhere?
- Is my vendor investing in AI capabilities that remove distractions, create frictionless collaboration experiences and help make the workforce more productive?
- Does the platform add value beyond video conferencing?
A successful strategy for hybrid work starts by evaluating the tools you’re using today. As your building your strategy, look at the friction points people have today when working from home and in the office and consider how hybrid work will evolve over time. Building a long-term strategy with a solid collaboration platform will ensure that your organization is well positioned to adjust and excel in the years to come.
Learn more about Hybrid Workplace solutions and read “The Collaboration How-To Guide for the Hybrid Workplace”