The pandemic has managed to accelerate workplace transformation efforts as people shifted from office to digital collaboration from home. Technology has enabled employees to work remotely for more than a decade. But the pandemic has brought it into sharp focus as entire organizations had to adopt remote working. From rapidly adjusting with stopgap measures to ensuring business continuity, to planning on how to get the workforce safely back into the office, we are entering the next phase of hybrid work!
Hybrid transformation of work is more than just extending flexibility to employees. It’s an opportunity to fundamentally change how work gets done, how teams collaborate, and changing workforce experience for the better. Organizations that are emerging stronger from the pandemic are the ones that are thinking strategically with a long-term vision in focus. Laying the foundation for the hybrid workplace strategy as early as possible, will ensure that your organization is ready to adjust and excel in the years to come.
Now is the time to ask: What’s your long-term strategy for hybrid work and how can you ensure its success?
DESIGNING THE BLUEPRINT
To reap the benefits of the hybrid workplace, you need a long-term strategy with the goal of delivering intelligent user experience that extends beyond the walls of the office. Till an year ago, the workplace was about being present in a physical location. The future is all about flexibility and blended in-person and remote collaboration. While the hybrid workplace has the potential of helping companies reduce their real estate footprint with fewer people in the office every day, the office is not going anywhere.
The office is a center for people to participate in rich collaboration experiences, build rapport with colleagues, and engage in training and education. With a hybrid workplace, you can expect a rotational presence of employees where the traditional setup may not be sufficient. We’re entering a phase where coming back into the office means new protocols and policies to keep employees safe with the added challenge of supporting both in-office and remote workers.
CONSIDERATIONS FOR THE FUTURE
The most critical decision when designing a hybrid workplace is choosing a collaboration platform. To ensure that everyone has a seat at the table, irrespective of where they are physically available, every employee must be enabled with a full-feature, intuitive experience, that allows them to communicate, share content, and connect. With the rise of hybrid work in this new normal, 98% of people expect meetings in the future to involve remote participants. So even when people are back in the office, video conferencing devices must be readily available to connect to remote working participants.
Technology will be required to help employees find the suitable space to work and collaborate on a short-term basis. Many organizations are planning to move from dedicated desks to hot-desking where work spaces are shared and temporarily reserved. For the foreseeable future, the hybrid workplace model must include cleaning and sanitizing protocols along with mask and social distancing guidelines. It must leverage digital signage to keep office members informed of all health and safety initiatives being conducted.
With more employees working remotely, your hardware must be flexible enough to support different UCC platforms, software, and LAN connections to provide enterprise-level security and privacy. Launching a hybrid workplace model will require businesses to provide essential training and adoption programs to boost device and platform utilization. Lastly, it is imperative to have a strategic plan with insights based on user experience and data utilization. This data is essential for measuring your success. For instance, consider these two key dimensions when you develop your digital workplace key performance indicators (KPIs): IT alignment with business goals and employee experience. Typical KPIs include technology cost per employee, workplace and technology utilization rates, experience gap (between personal and work devices and apps), and IT NPS, etc.
The right hybrid workplace strategy involves:
- Identifying the new purpose of the office and the technology to support it
- Evaluating and addressing remote work challenges
- Investing in the right collaboration platform and tools that provide the most balanced solution for the new way of working
With remote working still going on, now is the time to set the ground running for the next hybrid workplace transformation. It’s an excellent time to start running proofs of concept via experiments with different workplace transformation devices and features. Test intelligent alerting and digital assistants for touchless interactions and gather feedback. After all, the hybrid workplace model is all about helping people get their jobs done safely, securely, and efficiently.