The way we live, work, play and interact has changed drastically over the last few months owing to the unfortunate circumstances of the pandemic. Technology has taken centerstage in this new normal and has pushed us to adopt to new ways of working and living our day to day lives. Workspaces as we know it is disappearing and blurring the lines between home (office) and office.
The question on top of every business leaders’ minds is the future of workspaces and the technologies that they need to invest in to make sure that they meet the needs of their future workers.
Future workspaces -
The pandemic has been a catalyst for reinventing the way we work. Remote working is on the rise and there’s been a huge mindset shift with respect to working from home.
However, today, there are mixed feelings about remote working – while some people find themselves to be more productive and happier about working remotely, many are reporting that they are eagerly waiting to get back to work as they’re logging in longer hours than the pre-pandemic days and are not getting a chance to socialize with their peers which is negatively impacting their mental health.
Therefore, organisations are having to relook at their workplace strategy to ensure that every employees’ needs are met – whether they are a remote worker or are working from office.
We at Poly foresee that the future of work will be hybrid working. i.e. employees will have the power to choose where they wish to work from. In the future of work, ‘place’ will be less important than ‘purpose’, and employees will be enabled to stay productive and connected with the right tools, whether working from home, or in the office.
Offices may be seen as an ‘on-demand model”, where the bulk of employees will work from home and meet in the office only when they need to. This new idea of the office will need sufficient space for privacy, for virtual collaboration, and of course - video conferencing will become an essential part of every worker’s technology stack.
Importance of investing in the right collaboration technology-
IT investments especially in collaboration tools will have to be made a priority for the future of work. To make sure that companies are equipped to handle the future hybrid working model, they should –
1. Invest in enterprise grade technology - Equipment that was “just enough to get by on” in the early days is turning out to be not good enough for real business and productivity. The user-experience, as well as the ability to manage these technology solutions remotely matters to organizations and IT administrators. Business-grade equipment is designed with productivity in mind, and be able to withstand the rigors of day-to-day business. These investments are for the long-term. To enable a remote workforce to be more productive, IT departments need to invest in business-grade professional audio and video devices for employees, as well as on supporting enterprise infrastructure such as VPNs and relevant cloud services.
This will ensure that the business is operationally ready to accommodate a more globally distributed workforce, and more importantly, the inevitable spikes in connected workers working remotely when the need arises.
2. Focus on creating collaborative huddle rooms – As workers slowly return to offices, they are going to be less crowded initially; travel for business will slow down as well and meetings will thus be held between smaller teams. These trends will likely boost the demand for huddle room spaces and technology.
Huddle rooms are important for ideation and important discussions. In the future workspaces, companies will have to create huddle spaces that are human-first and centred on empowering employees. These spaces will have to be equipped with the right video conferencing and content sharing technology to help their employees stay at the top of their game.
3. Invest in low-touch and voice control technologies- Low-touch and voice-based technologies will limit contact with shared screens and surfaces. Meeting spaces will not require physical interaction, with user recognition, voice-based services and smart integration capabilities allowing workers to connect wirelessly to meetings via video bars and consoles. Out-of-the-box video conferencing hardware that integrates with any platform will enable any employee to walk into a meeting space and join a meeting from their personal laptop or smartphone. Content can also be shared by in-office and remote participants in the same way.
4. Leverage solutions that provide new meeting room technologies - We are already seeing the rise of AI in video conferencing solutions and this will only increase, bringing richer ways to collaborate and share. For example, cameras with automatic speaker tracking and split screen functionality ensure participants both in and out of the office are fully immersed in the meeting. Systems will intelligently monitor what’s happening in a meeting and within its wider environment, blocking out distracting sounds to ensure voices are crystal clear. Employees will be placed in the spotlight, with technology in the background, resulting in efficient, productive meetings that simply work.
Technology will have a big role to play in creating the next normal, powering new workflows between people and places and enabling seamless communication and collaboration so virtual teams are motivated and engaged.
If companies respond, redesign and reinvent for this changing hybrid working landscape, they can meet challenges head-on and constantly evolve with any changes.
Brand Solutions is a marketing initiative for sponsored posts. No TechCircle journalist was involved in the creation of this content.