As organisations across the world slowly begin to return to office, a hybrid or blended workplace may be the best way to do so. With India going in and out of lockdowns multiple times in the past 15 months, an arrangement that combines remote work and office time, and balances the needs of individual workers with their ability to collaborate and be productive in a shared phygital space is the future of work.
In a hybrid set-up, employees occasionally visit the office for collaboration and complete tasks mostly from home. The need for a flexible and resilient workplace amidst speculations of a third wave of pandemic is also driven by the fact that employee mindsets have changed.
According to a report *Accelerating Digital Agility, March 2021, 98% people believe future meetings will include remote participants. Almost 57% expect to be in the office 10 days or less each month. Importantly, 97% of the people covered in the survey said they want changes to make the office safer before they return.
This reflects the changed mindset of the workers and that workplace will never be the same. Hybrid workplace is about giving the best experience to employees without compromising on productivity, safety and facilitating stronger relationships from anywhere.
A hybrid approach has helped organisations create a balance of productive work with reduced stress and less commuting. The new workplace model gives increased freedom and autonomy to workers to work from the place they want and at the time that doesn’t push their personal boundaries. The freedom to work as per choice and autonomy has in turn increased productivity, culture, and community.
The Hybrid Workplace
The hybrid workplace has to be – Flexible, Inclusive, Supportive, Secure and Adaptable for all employees, regardless of their function, workstyle, or device. According to Webex, the blueprint of a hybrid workplace comprises 3 parts – empowering the remote worker, planning a safe return to the office with intelligent workspaces, and ease of IT management.
Empowering Remote Workers:
For every employee to have an equal seat at the table, regardless of whether they’re at home, or in the office, it is important that they have access to great collaboration tools needed for every kind of engagement, be it with internal teams, or with external customers and partners. For example, Cisco recently introduced Webex Suite that offers multiple solutions for all collaboration needs including calling, meetings, messaging, polling, and event capabilities.
The Webex App helps team members call, meet, message, and get work done from anywhere, anytime. The all-in-one app allows you to make and receive calls, attend meetings and switch across devices for a rich work-from-anywhere environment. AI-powered features of the app help automate tasks and create clearer focus with background noise and voice removal, as well as speech enhancement. The comfort of the app also helps you maintain work-life balance and avoid burnouts due to long video calls.
Organizations can also further support remote employees by providing them with devices that can help them work productively, just like they would in the office. Devices like the Webex Desk Camera
and Cisco Headset 730
would provide great audio and video experiences during their virtual meetings and calls and reduce video-conferencing fatigue. These devices can be managed remotely by IT for asset management, as well as ensuring the latest firmware and security updates can be pushed.
Safe Return to Office with Intelligent workplaces:
Companies planning to return to office need to understand the needs and safety of their employees. Contactless and AI-enabled Webex tools can help your workers embrace the new normal and get back to the office. Digital signage, Automation, AI, and analytics can transform the way you operate, easily respond to change, and reimagine how people work together.
Intelligent workplaces enabled by fully integrated video collaboration systems by Webex can help you address all your work needs making meeting rooms come to life. It’s the intelligence of the Webex Room Series
that allows for a safe workplace that’s contactless. Its features like voice-activated controls via Webex Assistant, compatibility with Webex App on mobile/laptop and real-time notifications based upon sensors make it the ideal choice for collaboration and communication.
Making the backbone strong and easy to manage: For making the hybrid model successful, companies need to invest in their IT infrastructure. The priority today is not just business continuity but sustaining the new ecosystem of people working from home, coworking spaces and office.
The office will stay but to make it serve the new purpose of being the central hub for collaboration from office and home employees, technology has to be upgraded and integrated in a way that it sets the new standard. To ensure the smooth running of daily operations, organisations must invest in IT tools that fit the future needs.
In retrospect, IT has scaled from 8 office buildings to 8,000 home offices. Webex Control Hub is the smart choice to provision, manage, troubleshoot, analyze and optimize calls, meetings, messages, users, workspaces, and devices at every location. It helps companies manage all services and devices for a hybrid workforce.
The single dashboard by Webex boosts employee experience and productivity by diagnosing technical issues faster and assessing user setups. Removes friction points and drives better changes with IoT sensors and AI-enabled features.