If we've learned anything during the pandemic, it's this: Work isn’t a place. It’s what we do. And this sentiment remains true even as more people head back to the office.
We’re entering the next phase of hybrid work -- one in which we shift from a sudden, short-term arrangement to a permanent, long-term reality. While your business may feel it’s “on track” with this new dynamic, the job of nurturing an ongoing hybrid work culture – one intentionally built for efficiency, collaboration and productivity – will never be complete.
Creating a long-term hybrid workplace means valuing the evolving needs of employees and the work they do. It all starts with a re-designed workplace – one that meets the new health and safety expectations of employees; one that seamlessly integrates technologies that executives and employees can easily embrace; and one that provides a sense of connectedness and collaboration regardless of location.
As you think about improving your hybrid workplace, keep in mind technofactors designed to:
- Provide intelligent workspace experiences (at home and at work)
- Ensure productivity
- Increase employee flexibility
- Achieve bottom line goals
Here are some considerations IT leaders can make to create a highly effective hybrid workplace for the future.
Re-Examine At-Home and On-Site Workspace
As the hybrid workplace becomes our permanent reality, IT professionals should continue to monitor and adapt to ongoing change. The goal? To successfully deliver a positive remote work experience for employees.
- In what ways can you further enhance how employees work both at home and in the workplace?
- What additional changes could help foster event more engagement and productivity across your hybrid workplace?
- Should you upgrade your conference room AV technologies to reduce issues when employees are meeting from both home and office?
- Should you offer employees a stipend to install a higher bandwidth connection at home?
In addition to how employees get work done remotely, IT must also have a voice in the re-deployment of technology as office footprints adjust to today's workforce requirements.
Many companies have shed their excess real estate and/or they're signed up for conveniently located co-working spaces that allow employees to gather in person when needed. No matter the real estate decision, consider how IT can invest in new technologies that enable employees to become even more productive.
Microsoft, for example, stepped up in a variety of ways to help organizations create hybrid work environments that employees embrace. The company added new features to Microsoft Teams and Outlook designed to help people with their wellbeing and productivity. And Microsoft provides tools to help people connect more easily with colleagues, schedule time for focused work and breaks, and see insights and patterns personalized for individuals, managers and leaders.
Enhance Workspace Flexibility
A study from salesforce.com reveals that employees who feel their voices are heard are 4.6x more likely to feel empowered to perform their best work. To build a strong hybrid work culture, employers must ensure their employees, at every level, can share their challenges and successes.
One giant objective for IT is to leverage virtual strategies that enable employees to hear, see and work together no matter where they are. This is especially important because many employees no longer meet face-to-face regularly. As a result, they don’t chat about projects spontaneously while getting coffee or lunch and their ability to share information about workplace experiences has declined dramatically.
IT can support hybrid work environments that create a spontaneous feel with unified communication tools that help employees stay connected. With the right tools in place, companies can reach new levels of productivity.
Once luxuries, platforms like Microsoft Teams, Zoom and Webex are now vital. Employees need AV tools to virtually bring groups together for scheduled and impromptu sessions. And the technology they use must be easy to spin up and integrated into your digital operations so it's secure, seamless, and simple.
How you use your existing tools (and how you plan to implement new and improved tools) will make or break the hybrid work culture at your organization.
Prepare for Tech’s Impact on People and the Bottom Line
In the past 40 years, massive shifts like the proliferation of desktop computers and access to data have changed how work gets done. But the 2020 pandemic served as a forcing function to adopt a hybrid workforce. And technology holds the key for making this new, blended workforce successful.
In the simplest terms, workers want access to tools that make it easier to collaboration and be more productive.
The new tech you research, test and deploy to employees may provide an enormous benefit to your bottom line. Plus, using technology in clever ways to implement flexible working benefits the entire team. When employees can work together effortlessly – from anywhere – morale will improve and productivity will rise.
If you're still transitioning to a hybrid workforce and workplace model, be sure to examine your current technology suite and determine how a few tweaks can support the process. Need help getting started? Contact us.