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The Post Pandemic Future of the Hybrid Workplace
Top Tech Tips to Make the New Microsoft Work from Home Model Work for Your Company
As the work world emerges from the COVID-19 Pandemic, will the new remote work model create a permanent hybrid workplace?
The answer is yes. And no. And “it’s complicated.” Consider this 2021 survey of more than 31,000 workers and global leaders from Statista. In it, more than 61 percent of leaders surveyed said they were working on office redesigns to accommodate a hybrid office/work-from-home model. A full 73 percent of respondents said they supported that, and wanted remote work options to be permanent. And yet—63 percent of that same group said they also wanted more in-person options for work, too.
With widely diverging needs like this, what’s a business owner to do? The good news is you’ve probably already accommodated for work from home during the pandemic. So now the challenge is making the office-to-home work environments seamless and flexible. At Iconic IT, we’ve been walking our small and medium-sized businesses through this journey this year, and we have some tips that can help.
#1—Turn Your Workplace into a Workspace.
How do you merchandise your office so it’s worth the commute? Do you have the best equipment there? Relaxing work spaces? Access to leadership and fellowship opportunities? Start with these, and employees won’t mind coming into the office for mandatory events and office days.
#2—Build state-of-the-art collaboration spaces.
In a hybrid work model, workers flow in and out as needed. That means most companies won’t be able to hold open office space for employees who are rarely at their desks. Getting rid of “owned” office space, and transitioning to a reservation system for office space can solve this problem. Consider transitioning some of your old office space into “collaboration rooms” where employees can talk without disturbing others, equipped with large screens and conference equipment for piping in team members who might be working from home.
#3—Create wired event spaces that bring your employees together
Conference arenas that stream live events to your distributed workforce. Town halls that allow employees to ask questions in real time and interact over subject streams. Seats and tables that can be moved to create open party space. Sound systems that can accommodate everything from a dance party to a large-scale conference. This is the kind of flexibility a hybrid workplace will need in the future.
#4—Optimize meetings for audiovisual recordings.
Platforms like Microsoft Teams have recording capabilities baked into their systems. And already, many employees record and save meetings for their own uses. But have you considered what a library of company meetings could do for employees who weren’t able to make the last all-hands team meeting? Making meetings transparent and easy to find on company SharePoint portals is one good first step toward a true hybrid workplace.
#5—Invest in management check in and performance tracking software.
If you don’t have tool like Microsoft Teams or Slack for the ability to do quick check ins, you should really consider them, as they are pillars in any hybrid workplace model. But beyond that, there’s project management tools like Tasks in Microsoft 365, as well as others like Trello. There’s also other tools for more direct manager-employee communications, like Traction Tools or 15-5 which provide a framework for managers to discuss employee productivity goals regularly—something that works well whether employees work from home, or not.
#6—Make two-factor authentication for logins mandatory.
With employees doing work in unsecured locations like home offices, libraries, and coffee shops, your log in process could be the most important thing standing between your systems and a hacker. Whether they’re carrying a company-issued phone or not, insist your employees put two-factor login apps like Duo on their phones.
#7—Consider stipends for proper wifi access at home.
If you truly want to implement a Microsoft work-from-home model for your company, every employee will need high-speed internet access with reliable reception. Not every employee can do that on their own, so reimbursing for internet connections is the fastest way to ensure universal connectivity. When employees onboard, devote resources to making sure they have an acceptable connection, in addition to the right routers and modems to work quickly and securely. Already have staff working at home? Do an equipment audit, to make sure nothing’s missed.
#8—Develop emergency contingency plans for the needs of a hybrid workplace.
What happens if an employee has a power or wifi outage? Do they have alternate power supply bricks to power their devices, or places where they can go if power’s not available at home? Will they be able to access a local office, or not? These questions should be answered for every employee, with policies written and equipment requisitioned to keep your operations up and running.
Want to Learn More?
At Iconic IT, we have a library of research, trends and tips for you to explore on the modern journey to a hybrid work model. Check out our Modern Workplace Essentials Kit, filled with everything you need to develop a true cloud-optimized business. Ready to move on your long-term shift to a hybrid workplace? If you’re in one of our service areas, we’d love to help you. Contact us—and we’ll set up a free consultation!