The year 2020 has changed the perspective of governments, industries, and workforces alike about how we used to work and what can be done to change it for the better. The unprecedented attributes of a global pandemic forced businesses to reimagine solutions that grapple with the consequences of social distancing and restricted mobility. It was the first time in the history of mankind that the majority of desk jobs that could be carried out through a well-connected workstation were operated remotely.
Around the world, businesses looked for digital employee experience that will aid in seamless solutions without disrupting the approach to systemic functioning of workflow. Industries discovered their strength to instantaneously adapt to the changes that assisted remote workers in extremely uncertain times. It was the genesis of a global acceptance of the hybrid workplace model; the future of how workforces will deliver their core competence by enjoying the best of both worlds.
Both on-site and remote working have their set of pros and cons. On the other hand, the hybrid workplace model takes the best attributes from on-site and remote working models that benefit both organizations and employees equivocally. In a hybrid model, employees work on-site on certain days of the week, and on the rest of the days, they work from home or a remote location. The days can be flexible or fixed; for example, any two days of a week can be remote work and the rest will be on-site.
Distinctively, hybrid or even remote working is possible only when technology and tools can manage and support the needs of the workforce and a function. Hybrid workplace models need solutions to manage organizational tasks and functions that are different from on-site or in-person kind.
Here are a few requirements that can promote the functions of a hybrid workplace model that will help organizations adopt it:-
- Remote meeting rooms
- Audio and video aids
- Easy content sharing
- Digital document sharing
- Agile workspaces
In a remote or hybrid model, it is not possible to gather the employees into a physical conference room that is free from distractions and helps the team ideate and express their views in huddles. However, remote meeting rooms can engage employees virtually in an interactive and inclusive mode, where everyone can be seen and heard clearly.
Features to control the microphones of the members who are not speaking, help in avoiding distractions to the ones who are hosting or speaking in the meeting. At the same time, whenever a participant needs to give an opinion, they have features that will let the host know that they are ready to speak. In this manner, without making a virtual meeting room a babble tower, coherent meetings can be conducted where everyone is seen and heard.
The virtual meeting rooms help all the participants come together where everyone feels included. They engage with each other and collaborate on meeting agendas and get things done that are carried out logically as a normal work process would.
High-quality audio and video tools are necessary to listen to and see each other. This is very important in a hybrid workplace model as the meeting will be bland without good audio and video output. It will be like an instruction read-out without audio-visuals and it will not be interactive or engaging.
In an organizational setup, a lot of content is shared regularly with co-workers and stakeholders alike. Much of this content is either prepared by one or a group of individuals, to be shared with other team members across different departments or the whole entity as such. Much of this content is required to be available to work for teams, in a smarter and easier-to-access mode than a regular email format. Even without high definition multimedia cable, any person should be able to transfer files and cast the required content from their devices to unified communication systems.
Interactive smart boards, with projectors, can be used to cast the content from a laptop onto a bigger screen. These smart boards can also be converted to whiteboards as they support writing and drawing. In a room, while presenting slides of a PowerPoint file, there may be a need to explain something on an impromptu basis. On these occasions, an interactive board will act like a digital canvas. With the help of a stylus or a digital pen, anything can be written or drawn on a smartboard.
Agile workspaces are flexible and don’t restrict the mobility of employees. Remote meeting rooms with interactive features and controls, high-quality audio-visual platforms, smart devices, and wireless content sharing are features that help employees stay mobile and yet productive. However, the security concerns that arise when multiple remote workers log in from different locations, are high. Unless the IT hardware and software are structured to meet the data protection protocols, hybrid and remote workplaces will pose a security threat to any entity. Adequate training to protect their devices and connections from security lapses and constant monitoring of employees’ configured laptops and workstations by the IT team, will help tide any security breach risk barrier with ease.
As workforces returned from work-from-home set-up, human resource managers and organizations understood that nothing will go back to pre-COVID times. Be it the way we bank, consult a doctor, take a class, or work in general, everything will change. Hybrid workplace models are here to stay. Post pandemic people realize that work-life balance is possible and quality time can be spent with family members without disrupting their work commitments.
As a result, studies conducted with returning employees reiterate that while they miss out on interacting with their colleagues, they would also prefer some days of remote working possibilities. The flexibility that a hybrid workplace model offers is unique and well received by the majority of employees. In the future, they prefer to go with a hybrid workplace which helps them stay connected with both colleagues for the sake of long-term impact on their career growth and even spend time with loved ones.