Mon, Dec 4, 2023
How to use Personas to power Hybrid Work

One of the challenges of moving to a hybrid workplace is the diversity of people and roles, calling for different setups. Rather than starting with technology, Poly has developed a successful strategy to map workstyles and employee behavior to devices and endpoints.

In this masterclass at our SmartCom 2021 Winter Series, Marcel Timmer (International Sales Acceleration @ Poly) and Sebastiaan Hoogstadt (Sales Director @ Poly) explain how their use of personas is a prime example of a people-first approach to modern work.

What are personas? Why use them?

Personas are commonly used by designers, marketeers and innovators, and in recent years became popular in sales departments as a strategic tool as well. Personas are fictional characters (based upon research) to represent different types of people (clients, customers, employees) and how they use a product or service. The Poly Personas are based on workstyles: how do people in a typical enterprise work and what tools do they need to have productive workdays?

There are a couple of benefits to the use of a Personas approach:

In the first place, it’s a way to really get to know your employees by identifying unique attributes, pain points, behaviors, preferences, and needs. And when you use this knowledge to provide them with the right tools to do their work, it increases overall organizational productivity while at the same time promoting inclusivity and equality by making sure everybody feels seen and understood.

Second, using Personas is (put simply) a way to save money, by making sure it’s spent on the right products. Depending on their profile, some people get basic tools, others get the latest and greatest high end stuff.

There’s also a more hidden, but important benefit. Imagine that you’re tasked with the duty of selecting new tech for say, 500 employees. This can feel like a daunting task, especially when you’re set on taking the people-first route – try coming up with the unique needs of 500 employees! This is where the power of Personas truly comes out, instead of mapping out the needs and preferences of 500 individuals, using Personas narrows this down to effectively 6 profiles. Life becomes easy again.

The 6 Personas matching hybrid workstyles

A decade of research dedicated to tech usage in enterprises led to six workstyles that are present in most companies. Of course, there are exceptions to each rule, but this research along with some very well-educated assumptions derived from years of experience in certain industries (for example finance) can be used in 92% of the cases. In a nutshell, these 6 workstyles are:

Office Collaborator – Office Collaborators feel comfortable and productive working from home or the office, but favor working from the office. Collaboration comes naturally to them and they are quick to try out and integrate new technology into their workflows. On average, a little over 25% of the workforce consists of office collaborators.

Flex Worker – Flex Workers are highly flexible people that work just as easily from home, in shared office environments, from behind a flex desk, or on the go. Generally, they depend on multiple devices during a typical workday. Thehey value flexibility above everything else, as they need to be able to transition from workplace to workplace without losing productivity.

Remote Collaborator – Remote Collaborators are tech-savvy people that spend a lot of time collaborating with colleagues, co-workers, and clients but favor working from home. About 15% of all employees fall in this category and, the presence of Gen Z (18 – 23y) is highest in this category.

Office Communicator – Roughly 13% of people are Office Communicators. This is a group that spends their workdays communicating, be it with colleagues or customers. They feel most productive when in the office. Above anything, they value simplicity and consistency as they depend on their equipment to be productive.

Connected Executive – Around 12% of the workforce is a Connected Executive. Someone who works from home, the office, or while traveling. These are usually leaders that know the importance of innovation and how using the right tools can be crucial for success.

Road Warrior – Road Warriors are always moving and spend 50% of their time outside the office and therefore favor a mobile-first approach to technology and their devices. Being on the move comes with a unique set of challenges like noisy environments, unstable networks, and lack of time to charge devices. Around 5% of employees are in this segment.

You can learn more about these workstyles here.

Personas: The Covid update

To stay up-to-date the research into personas and workstyles is constantly being refreshed. In January 2021, after a turbulent pandemic year, the most recent update revealed some interesting facts.

Location flexibility – The flexible workplace was already well on its way but COVID accelerated this, users expect that flexibility will last beyond COVID.

Working from home – Working from home became the norm, but not all homes are equipped with dedicated workspaces and a proper technology stack.

More conference calls and video meetings – Companies and employees increasingly rely on video and personal video technology to collaborate and be productive. The daily use of video in most workstyles grew very rapidly from 42% pre-Covid to 63% during Covid.

More facts and numbers about the post-Covid-19 experience can be found here. If you want to see theory brought to practice contact Sebastiaan Hoogstadt or Marcel Timmer to book a tour of the Hoofddorp based Poly Experience Center. Test your own workstyle and get an impression of the type of questions asked during the research.

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