By now, many businesses are sold on the new concept of a hybrid workplace. Lower staff turnover, higher employee morale, lower operation costs, and healthier company culture are just a few of the many benefits of hybrid work. In fact, 82% of businesses indicated they’re planning to offer a hybrid work model.
Has your business already begun deploying a new hybrid work system? Or are you in the process of creating this new model now? Whatever point in the process you find your SMB in, it’s vital to check that you’ve implemented the best technology possible to support this evolved environment.
The best way to set your business up for a successful hybrid work experience is by making sure you are using practical, efficient solutions that keep everyone on the same page! Most businesses seek to upgrade their work environment with the best intentions, but unfortunately they often overlook key areas and software as they lack the guidance of an IT professional.
Fortunately for you, the Computers Nationwide team of IT experts were trained for these exact moments! Let us help you navigate this unprecedented transition into the exciting new phase of the workforce…
“As the name implies, the hybrid workplace combines both office working and home working (and, indeed, working from anywhere). It allows employees to work remotely part of the time and on site the rest of the time. Employees may choose, for example, to work from home three days a week and in the office two days a week.
According to market research firm Gartner, 67% of employees surveyed said their expectations for flexible working had increased since early 2020, while 55% said that the ability to work flexibly would play a role in determining whether or not they stayed with their existing employer or sought out new career opportunities.
There are also indications that a hybrid workforce might well be a more productive one. The same Gartner survey found that 55% of respondents performed better when given some choice over how and where they worked, compared to just 36% of those who were full-time office workers. This suggests that both employers and employees could stand to benefit from a hybrid model.” Ring Central
Making sure your teams have speedy internet, secure connections, and seamless communication methods are all important pieces of the hybrid puzzle! Zoom, Slack, Microsoft Teams, Google Drive, and DropBox are among the top hybrid work tools.
Wondering what other specific technology is available to best support your hybrid workers? Check out a few solutions available from our trusted network affiliates that are leaders in the industry…
“With companies moving to a more permanent form of hybrid working model, communications now need to step up and meet a new mandate—support company-wide collaboration for employees to work from anywhere. This goal of enhancing the employee experience also came through loud and clear in the research. It was the number one reason why companies are investing in communications platforms—where all communications channels, including contact center, are integrated into one platform. Essentially, employee experience is now on par with customer experience in terms of company priorities.
It’s smart, as this approach empowers employees with the tools they need to deliver exceptional customer experiences. The key, once again, is having the right communications technology in place. But companies often have many point communications solutions—sometimes a mix of on-premise and cloud—that are creating barriers to achieving company-wide collaboration.
Is everyone on the same chat app as a starting point? Can each team member, regardless of function, see the current status of each person in the company and instantly initiate a video meeting to quickly work through a challenging topic? Enabling each member of the back office, middle office and front office teams to easily collaborate with each other is critical to delivering company-wide collaboration that ultimately enhances the employee experience to a level where everyone is empowered to be productive and effective no matter where they are working from.
Here’s a few points to consider when evaluating communications platforms. First, every vendor is going to tell you they have a platform. Ask these 5 questions to filter out those that actually do:
- Do they provide a platform SLA?
- Is it one roadmap for all their applications and services?
- Is it one security model for all of their applications and services?
- Is it one administration experience?
- Is it one deal structure and contract regardless of which services you are subscribing to?
Five yeses means they provide a communications platform. Take a look at 8×8 X Series. It provides 5 yeses and proven technology as the only 9-time UCaaS Gartner Magic Quadrant Leader also in the Gartner Contact Center Magic Quadrant. It takes a real platform to pull that off.”
“With businesses adjusting to the new normal during the COVID-19 pandemic, technology priorities have shifted dramatically as the way we work has changed. Over the past year, the number of users working from home went from 20% to 71% according to the Pew Research Center. Customers are looking for more fluid workspaces away from set offices.
This sudden shift has caused rapid adoption of cloud-based virtual desktop solutions, especially the adoption of Windows Virtual Desktop. Microsoft’s Azure-based VDI has had a massive increase in adoption over the past year. It allows companies to work flexibly in a world where hybrid workspaces are becoming the norm.
However, as employees’ workplaces become fluid, how does the modern IT department support a workforce with changing networking and security needs within a hybrid network? Barracuda has created a set of solutions that help support the modern workplace whether it is a flexible SD-WAN solution for offices, Zero Touch Networking Access for remote workers, or securing and managing your on-premises and cloud environment with Barracuda CloudGen Firewall.
Not only do the Barracuda CloudGen solutions allow companies to manage their hybrid workforce dynamically working with Microsoft, but Barracuda also can be used to help secure companies using Microsoft 365 to enable the modern workplace. Barracuda Sentinel can help IT departments avoid ransomware attacks through phishing campaigns, and Barracuda CloudGen Firewall and Web Application Firewall can help defend cloud and hybrid workloads from exterior threats. In the end, the right product is not only the product that gives protection but also the product that is flexible enough to give your workers’ choices and allows your company to be flexible as your workforce moves beyond just an office.”
“Now more than ever, rich, engaging digital events are critical for successful collaboration—whether you’re inviting internal participants, external participants, or a combination of the two. We’re introducing new features that make it easier to collaborate across organizations and event sizes.
- Improve collaboration and knowledge management: Microsoft Teams supports a spectrum of communication needs, from small internal meetings to large virtual events. Now with Teams, you can easily organize and conduct interactive webinars for people inside and outside of your organization with up to 1,000 attendees. Webinars include end-to-end experiences—like custom registration, rich presentation options, host controls such as the ability to disable attendee chat and video, and post-event reporting. And if your webinar grows to over 1,000 attendees, Teams will seamlessly scale to accommodate a 10,000-person view-only broadcast experience.
- Announcing Microsoft Teams Connect: This allows you to share channels with anyone, internal or external to your organization. The shared channel will appear within an individual’s primary Microsoft Teams tenant alongside other teams and channels, making it easy for everyone to access it in their workflow. In the shared workspace, you can leverage Microsoft Teams rich collaboration capabilities: chat, meet, collaborate on apps, share, and co-author documents in real-time. Admins have access to granular controls, allowing their organization to stay in control of how external users access data and information. Microsoft Teams Connect is available today in private preview and will roll out broadly later this calendar year.
- Better meetings and presentations for a work-from-anywhere world: With hybrid work and learning, we need meetings that offer a first-rate experience to every participant whether they’re in the room, remote, or on the go. And as education continues to evolve, so does the technology used to enable digital and hybrid classrooms. New experiences in Microsoft Teams help speakers create more impactful, dynamic presentations while connecting with everyone in the meeting more naturally. Presenters often share their desktops in virtual meetings, creating an inconsistent presentation experience and limiting the ability of the audience to interact. Today, we’re announcing Microsoft PowerPoint Live in Microsoft Teams, which will enable presenters to deliver more impactful and engaging presentations. Presenters will now be able to lead meetings more confidently with notes, slides, meeting chat, and participants all in a single view.
- Announcing Dynamic view: Intelligently arranges the elements of your meeting for an optimal viewing experience. As people join, turn on video, start to speak, or begin to present in a meeting, Teams automatically adjusts and personalizes your layout. We’ve also added a new option to place the participant gallery at the top of the meeting window, helping you maintain a natural eye gaze. Dynamic view will be rolling out soon.
- New meeting experiences for the hybrid workplace: Historically, meeting rooms were designed to facilitate in-room collaboration. As meetings evolve around hybrid work norms, room experiences must be inclusive so everyone can be seen and heard clearly, and fully participate in the meeting. We are bringing new gallery views to Microsoft Teams Rooms, including Together Mode and large gallery, to make it easier to see everyone in the meeting. And whether the room has one screen or two, you’ll be able to see meeting content, along with everyone joining from home, at the same time.
- Ensuring secure communications: To further address our customers’ security and compliance requirements, Teams will support end-to-end encryption (E2EE) for one-to-one Microsoft Teams calls, providing an additional option for conducting sensitive online conversations. IT will have full discretion over who can use E2EE in the organization. E2EE for Microsoft Teams one-to-one ad hoc VoIP calls will be available to commercial customers in preview in the first half of this calendar.”
The world of work has been reimagined! Hybrid work has arrived and is here to stay for the foreseeable future. Don’t let your company fall behind! Creating a hybrid work environment to best support your team is the secret to success in this next phase.
Fast internet, strong cyber security, and easy collaboration are a must! Allow your trusted Managed Service Provider, Computers Nationwide, to guide you through this process as smoothly as possible. We are ready to implement our network partners’ latest innovations at your workplace to bring your teams up to speed and into the right direction…
“Organizations that enable a resilient workforce to be more productive and healthier anywhere are also reaping financial benefits, the study shows. A majority of high-revenue-growth companies, 63%, have already enabled productivity anywhere workforce models, where employees have the option of working remotely or on-site. While the vast majority (69%) of negative or no-growth companies are still focused on where people are going to physically work, favoring all on-site or remote rather than enabling hybrid.
The events of the past year did finally put one misconception to rest — that enabling employees to work remotely means loss in productivity. If anything, the past year, showed the opposite to be true. The Accenture survey finds that 40% of individuals feel they can be productive and healthy anywhere — either fully remote or onsite or a combination of the two — as the hybrid workplace emerges.
Hybrid working models “will be critical in the coming months and years ahead as organizations adopt operational flexibility with remote work and evolving employee preferences,” Wagoner says. “No longer will the office serve as the only place where work gets done; the pandemic proved that work can often happen from anywhere. Instead, in today’s world, the office is where people come together to collaborate, innovate, create, and build culture, with face-to-face interactions being a valuable part of the equation.” Forbes
Are you interested in learning what tools are available for a successful remote or hybrid workforce?
Schedule a meeting with the experts at Computers Nationwide to find the best communication and collaboration solutions for your distributed teams: (847) 419-9900