4:00 AM 15th January 2022
Saturday Essay: Harness The Workplace Revolution With Hybrid WorkingMatt Dykes, COO, Abzorb considers how we harness the benefits of the workplace revolution with hybrid working
Photo by Headway on Unsplash
The workplace will most probably never be the same again after 40% of the global workforce worked from home during lockdown in the COVID pandemic and look like they will continue to do so until the Omicron wave passes. Businesses need to harness the workplace revolution and capitalise on the opportunities in the changing market that have occurred in the pandemic such as new consumer behaviours.
It’s a Different World
At present with cases of the Omicron variant increasing employees in the UK have been told to work at home if possible but when the numbers decrease employers will want their teams to return to the office. However, after experiencing the benefits of working at home some will still want to remain working from home, while others want to return to the office, and some will want the benefits of both worlds. Companies are now having to implement a hybrid working policy to meet the new expectations of employees and changing their processes accordingly.
Matt Dykes, COO, Abzorb
This new way of working will revolutionise the workplace but will also bring about challenges particularly as we enter the unknown. Businesses should seize every opportunity to support hybrid working, to attract and retain talent, and welcome a new culture and re-design the office space.
Time for Re-set
A Gartner, Inc. survey revealed that 82% of respondents intend to offer remote working some of the time as employees return to the workplace. Businesses will have to evaluate their strategies for this new world and to meet the expectations of employees. It is key to involve employees in the decision-making process, asking them how and where they want to work and the technology, they require to do their jobs more effectively. By involving them you demonstrate that their opinions matter which in turn will empower them and create a greater sense of belonging to the company, and that you have used the conditions of the pandemic to learn, grow and improve.
Time for a Plan
Since the world has changed and will continue to do so, every business will need to construct a new plan, whether that’s reviewing the products and services that they offer or reviewing their communications and the operational processes. The plan should be flexible enough to accommodate the required changes to hybrid working practices, businesses should ask:
Which employees can work remotely full time without affecting the business?
Which employees can work in a hybrid capacity?
Which employees need to work full time in the office?
What technology does each different segment of employees require? – Do different teams require different technology?
Can they transport the technology to and from the office and home?
How and where shall they re-design the office to include collaboration areas?
Time to Listen
Businesses have spent the last 18 months ensuring that their employees are able to work from home, using existing technology and or deploying new technology to ensure business continuity. It is no longer just about technology and what is required to do your job, it is about transformation and how technology can be deployed to transform internal and external communications, business processes and customer experience.
We work closely with customers to fully understand their business, their objectives, and the challenges they face to ascertain what technology they require to benefit their business.
Time to Boost Mobile Coverage
During the pandemic with everyone working at home the broadband networks have been operating to full capacity and for many, particularly those based in rural areas have experienced poor connectivity. To boost mobile coverage, we advise customers what network coverage is the strongest in the area and use the one to access the internet, whether it is Vodafone, O2 and EE. This is a reliable and cost-effective back-up solution for employees that don’t have a fixed line option
Connecting it all Together
According to Gartner, in the aftermath of the Covid-19 crisis, the worldwide end-user spending on public cloud services is forecast to grow 18.4% in 2021 to total $304.9 billion.
This is because by hosting technology in the cloud your infrastructure is secure which is a vital step in a business continuity plan, ensuring that your customer’s business can operate seamlessly during a disaster. It also provides more flexibility, is more cost-effective, resilient, and easy to scale up or down.
Unified Communications Solutions have been the heart of remote collaboration connectivity, where thousands have joined conference and video conference calls and worked together on shared documents and sent instant messages to each other.
Integration is the Answer
A hybrid workforce will present challenges to the IT department, and mobile and UC solutions need to be integrated into both front and back-office systems to ensure that operations and processes work seamlessly. This way you ensure that technology works in an integrated and unified manner and not in isolation where it will reap less benefits.
Seek guidance on your technology roadmap to help you select and implement technology to achieve your objectives. Technology is about transformation and is an evolving process that grows with the business and its needs, rather than deploying a one-off quick fix solution.
Keeping it Simple
We make it our mission to ‘keep it simple’ and demystify the complexities of mobile and unified communications to customers. After the last 18 months we have all had it tough, and customers are grateful for simplifying their technology requirements and demonstrating through pilots that the technology works and integrates with their existing systems and can also articulate the benefits and use case studies to prove it.
Time to Trust
Historically, companies have struggled with employees being based at home and if they weren’t sitting in the office and seen then they weren’t trusted that they we were getting on with their work. Now, with the world of hybrid working managers must give employees more choice and control, employees have experienced freedom that they may never have experienced before. Businesses need to accept that employees should be given the autonomy to get on with their jobs within their own schedules if possible. Of course, employees need to still deliver results and managers can use software solutions that measure their performance and KPIs.
The COVID pandemic was unthinkable but out of it there have been some major changes that maybe advantageous and we believe the world of hybrid working will be a good thing for many businesses. It will enable employees to have a true work life balance and companies to save money on office workspace and change the way they have previously managed their staff and now will be more empathetic and flexible to employees’ new expectations. Harness the advantages of hybrid working and the required technology to support this new way of working now.