The Collaborative Hybrid Workplace
Sometimes great ideas arise in times of greatest challenge. In the business world, an idea whose time seems to have come is the hybrid workplace.
The days of physically reporting to an office every weekday aren't likely to resume in the foreseeable future. According to a new PwC report, It’s Time to Reimagine Where and When Work Will Get Done, knowledge workers have become accustomed to working remotely and would prefer to split time between the office and home.1
And while this model embraces the flexibility that employees and employers both seek, it also creates some challenges that could impact a company’s culture, employee engagement, the way work gets done, and how office space is used.
That’s because hybrid work poses different challenges than purely remote work.
In the early days of the pandemic in 2020, IT departments worked to transition their entire organizations to work-from-home (WFH) as quickly as possible. This meant beefing up virtual private network (VPN) infrastructures, adopting or increasing access to collaboration platforms, providing networking peripherals, and troubleshooting remotely. A year on, most companies have successfully enabled their remote workers, albeit, with some hiccups along the way.
Now, IT departments must contemplate how to manage every possible employee work scenario: 100% WFH, full-time on-site, or a hybrid.
For example, Google, a leader in nontraditional workspaces and office perks, recently announced that the company would offer a hybrid workweek. Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai said moving forward, that most Googlers will spend approximately three days a week in the office and two days “wherever they work best.” He emphasized that the company was testing new multipurpose offices and private workspaces while exploring advanced video technology that would allow employees in the office and those joining virtually to have a comparable experience.2
The term inclusive hybrid work describes an environment that offers equity between physical and virtual users. This idea is rooted in the user experience. Can users easily connect into collaboration platforms that are open and more secure, no matter the vendor? Can they share content, brainstorm with digital whiteboards, and access other advanced features that offer deep collaboration regardless of the user’s location?
Supporting an Inclusive and Collaborative Hybrid Work Environment
The real key to inclusiveness in hybrid work environments is interoperability between systems. Without it, IT departments must choose between collaboration platforms when deciding which to make available, where, and to whom.
The result is a hodgepodge of video conferencing technologies, VoIP systems, and generic visual collaboration platforms that don’t integrate well together or offer the same features. And when users outside of the network—such as customers and suppliers—want to collaborate remotely, it gets ever trickier. IT teams must be on standby to provide instructions on which applications to download in advance, what peripheral to have handy, and how to troubleshoot audio and video quality.
Plan for This New World of Work
To plan for this new world of work, IT leaders should look for a collaboration system that is flexible, simple to operate, and more secure. Inclusive hybrid work should be frictionless, and leaders should focus on collaboration systems that provide the maximum benefit—and the least amount of hassle—across their entire ecosystem of users.
If your organization plans to pursue hybrid work, ask yourself these five questions as you look for the best collaboration platform for your organization:
- Can users join, share content, and switch presenters easily without the need for dongles and other network peripherals?
- Does the platform support different devices and provide high quality audio and video?
- Does the platform connect to all major user devices?
- Does the platform connect to all major operating systems?
- Does the platform interoperate with multiple unified communication platforms simultaneously and seamlessly?
Managing the IT infrastructure behind today’s modern workplaces is no simple feat, but enterprises willing to embrace inclusive hybrid work can expect greater user satisfaction and improved collaboration across their organizations.
To learn more about more secure and seamless collaboration with the Intel Unite® solution, click here.3 4