Is hybrid work or working from home the new normal? And how will teams communicate and collaborate in 2021 and beyond?
As part of our SmartCom Summit 2021, Remco De Kramer (Senior Product Manager Modern Work at Microsoft), Jasper Maters (Regional Sales Director Benelux and Nordics at AudioCodes), and Bertrand Pourcelot (Head of International Sales & Marketing at Enreach Group) joined forces with Rob Scott (Publisher at UC Today) to discuss the future of collaboration in the modern workplace and how this might change in the nearby future.
Let’s dive in headfirst!
A big jump forward
If the Covid pandemic made one thing clear, it’s that the digital workplace is here to stay. To thrive in this new world, modern businesses will have to adapt and facilitate both their employees and clients as good as possible.
Bertrand Pourcelot pointed out that “thanks to Covid” we made “a big leap ahead and moved forward five years in the digital transformation of businesses and adoption of working in the cloud”.
A recent survey done by Microsoft illustrates this as well. It pointed out that 80% of the managers said companies would introduce flexible work-from-home policies, and 70% of the employees said they plan to take advantage of them.
The future of modern work
Although a lot of business can be done without meeting face to face, the downsides of working from home became clear quite quickly as well. Therefore it seems more likely that the future of work is hybrid and that work will sometimes be synchronous and asynchronous at other times. Employees will pick the location that best suits their type of work: for connecting with people or collaborating with colleagues that means going to the office, and work that requires deep focus can be done at home. As a result, people will be much more flexible in their work times.
When done right, hybrid work leads to:
- Increased productivity
- More creativity
- Work becomes more fun which leads to healthy, happy employees
When done wrong, hybrid work leads to chaos.
The hybrid future comes with 6 key challenges for organizations and businesses, according to our panellists:
Provide the right tools for teams
Remote working puts more emphasis on the importance of internal communication tools, your internet, or other ways to keep up human connections between people, teams, and employees. Microsoft for example takes the human-first approach with their software by implementing features that nudge people to adjust their behaviour and stimulate workers to keep healthy work habits.
End users that work from anywhere need to be able to log in from their couches, homes, or nearby coffee shops with only their phones or tablets and a WiFi connection. Tools should reflect this and need to be built with a mobile-first approach in mind.
Simplicity and ease-of-use
People expect the same seamless user experiences from tools that they use for work as they expect from their personal apps, so this requires technology vendors to keep innovating to meet these expectations as the digital acceleration is in full swing.
Upgrade meeting rooms
Physical office infrastructure needs to keep up the pace. A majority of meeting rooms are not currently equipped well enough to facilitate meetings where some of the people are present physically and others are joining remote. This is key to creating a level playing field for all involved and to the success of any work from home initiative.
Connectivity & Security
With everyone at home doing online sessions at the same time, of course, having a good internet connection at home is key. A very critical challenge is that of security. With the growth of distributed work environments comes a greater risk of cybersecurity threats. Employees that work from home are usually at far more risk than those in offices.
Best-of-breed technology will need to be incorporated in enterprise infrastructures and organisations’ existing tech stacks. Using standard components augmented with special add-ons and configured to meet each organisation’s unique requirements, the role of the integrator (or value add reseller) becomes ever more important.
An exciting paradigm shift
The digital acceleration we’re currently experiencing is an exciting paradigm shift. One thing is for sure: We’ve not seen the end of it yet. There will be a lot of innovations to come and it’s interesting to see how organizations, service providers, and tech companies will make the leap to the hybrid work mindset.
Please watch the full video to learn more about these key challenges and how companies like Microsoft, Enreach and AudioCodes plan to address these!