March 28, 2022

The Hybrid Workplace: Keeping Employees Connected In and Out of Office  

by: Katie Macdonald

07Z

Work is changing at an exponential rate, trending towards digital transformation every day. And yet, even after a few years of balancing remote work with in-office work, the challenge of managing a distributed workforce remains prevalent as ever. 

While the shift to more flexible work models isn’t new (even prior to 2020), the resolute, collective move to hybrid work has fundamentally shifted both the workplace and the talent landscape on an international scale.  

According to Microsoft, 46% of workers surveyed are planning to move their homes this year since the flexibility from remote work means they are not obligated to remain in proximity to their office. Further, in a survey by FlexJobs, 65% of employees would prefer to continue working from home, and 31% are interested in occasionally working from home. 

Businesses are used to having their “home base”—a physical location where professionals can connect and collaborate in person. But now that office space no longer stops at the office, it is imperative to bridge the physical and digital worlds; to rethink how a business operates, works and communicates. This means leveraging digital and workplace technology to support productivity, collaboration, work culture, and cost-effectiveness.  

Here are just a few ways you can empower your hybrid workplace: 

Scheduling Software to Support Hybrid Staffing   

Determine what your hybrid work model is. Perhaps you are remote-centric with employees who mainly work remote but require partial in-office collaboration depending on workload or department, or maybe you are hybrid-remote where employees have more flexibility to choose what days they want in the office.  

Once you have that defined, scheduling software can sync your professionals’ work schedules. More advanced tools can provide valuable predicted, real-time or post-meeting insights into the number of users in an area, or even awareness of a room’s capabilities to make room and space selection more optimal (e.g., the level of video conferencing, seats, number and size of screens, etc.).  

This allows a company to connect their workforce and create a hub for collaboration through a sustainable, predictable work model, so you can make the most of every workday—from the corner office to the kitchen table.  

Collaboration Tools

Ensuring collaboration remains a priority is critical to the success of a distributed workforce. Team collaboration tools cover a whole spectrum of office needs, from real-time file sharing and communication software like Teams to task management applications like Asana or Trello. When professionals are remote, these tools can be customized to allow specific, secure access in terms of viewing, editing, and deleting files and company information. Further, it allows colleagues to remain connected in terms of project status, organization, and more without having to constantly provide updates over email.  

Collaboration also extends to your office technology as well. Consider your conference room layouts, lighting, seating, etc. Are your current AV systems integrated with your video conferencing tools? Are the cameras at appropriate viewing angles? Do your professionals know how to connect their machines with conference room IT? Is the interface/UX standardized across company devices to streamline the work experience (or do your professionals frequently have to ask how to get their camera to work)?  

Prioritizing your physical office spaces to enable an efficient, connected workforce should be top of mind.  

Implementations at Scale  

Once you have the right technologies in place to support your distributed workforce, how do you roll them out without major disruptions? There isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer. Policies and IT solutions that are easy to implement within a smaller company with one central location wouldn’t work for a company with hundreds of end users spread out remotely or across dozens of offices in various time zones.  

The best approach? Cover the basics first. Your business must have a thorough understanding of the existing systems, tools, processes, teams, and more. For example, if your end users across departments need help using systems or applications, you may need to administer awareness training and general education programs, or ensure you have support teams and tools in place to help when issues arise.  

From there, you can develop a tailored solution to roll out and implement new technologies, educate users on new applications and tools, and manage the entire network.  

Choose Align as Your Technology Partner 

Align is the premier global provider of technology infrastructure solutions. Our Workplace Technology professionals have worked closely with our clients over the past two years to help them right-size their office and adapt seamlessly to evolving workplace changes. 

Learn more about how we can help build a workplace fit for today’s hybrid professional. 

Contact Us ➜

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