thriving in the hybrid work world
The flexible, hybrid workplace is here to stay. Are you ready?
After a year in which we all had to suddenly pivot to remote work, many businesses are now heading back to the office – but things look a lot different. The modern workplace has evolved. Nine to five is no longer the norm, and employees expect to be able to work from anywhere – on-site, off-site or a mix of both. We’re entering the age of the hybrid workplace.
At the same time, the workforce itself is changing. At least four generations make up our current workforce. Some are more comfortable with in-person interactions, while others may prefer a fully remote environment. Some can navigate IT seamlessly and others need more day-to-day support. The recent Work Trends Index found that Gen Z, women, frontline workers and those new to their careers reported struggling the most over the past year, although that doesn’t necessarily mean everyone in those groups will find hybrid work challenging.
But it does mean that you need to consider the needs of your employees – regardless of their generation or experience level – as well as your operations and business goals as you reinvent your workplace and move to a hybrid model.
So how do you approach your IT strategy to make sure everyone has what they need to collaborate, innovate and succeed in a hybrid workplace?
First, you establish policies that ensure consistency across the board. Then, you invest in technology that can enable those policies. You make sure your digital environment is fully integrated with your physical space. And, you ensure your teams are trained on the tools available to them so they are set up to thrive in the hybrid workplace.
Let’s break that down:
• Policies: Your policies will play a huge role in attracting and retaining talent and ensuring everyone has a clear framework in which to work. So take a close, careful look at the roles within your organization, and determine what work can be done remotely and what must be done on-site. Consider variables such as where and how independent focused work would happen, and how people can collaborate. From there, set policies to empower your teams to work in ways that best suit their role and work style. Be specific: which days and hours will people be required to be in the office, if at all? What training will be required for managers to ensure they know how to supervise people who are off-site as well as on-site? What other logistics and scheduling will you need to put in place? All of these policies will underpin your IT strategy so it’s important to spend the time you need to establish the fundamentals.
• Technology: Cloud-based solutions such as Microsoft 365 are ideal for empowering and supporting both users working remotely and those on-site. Microsoft 365 offers enterprise-level security while allowing users to access important documents and data no matter where they are. It also gives you visibility into how employees spend their time, through Workplace Analytics. Microsoft Teams, which is part of the Microsoft 365 family, enables users to work together by combining meetings, chats, calls and document collaboration in a single place—all integrated with Office apps and business process automation tools. Over the past year, Microsoft has added more than 100 new features to Teams and introduced Microsoft Viva, the first integrated employee experience platform designed for hybrid work. Consider these and other technologies, based on what will best support your operations, and plan to invest strategically to give everyone the tools they need to succeed in the hybrid workplace.
• Connecting the physical to the digital. Most workplaces are well set-up for in-person collaboration, as long as everyone is in the office. But when some members of the team are working remotely, and others aren’t, it changes the equation. Part of your plan should include effective integration of technologies that ensure everyone’s voice can be heard, whether they are on-site or not. Consider Microsoft Teams Rooms, which is a calling and meeting room solution that lets everyone participate equally in meetings, even if they aren’t in the same space. Its features include meeting room cameras that can frame the people in the room; intelligent audio that identifies who is speaking; and live captions so people can follow along and easily join in. Teams Rooms also offers digital whiteboards that can be accessed either in the meeting room or remotely. If you’re using a traditional whiteboard, Teams Rooms’ Intelligent Capture cameras can capture anything written on it so remote attendees can see, too. Another option for connecting your physical and digital environments is Microsoft Teams Panels which lets users easily view and book boardrooms and keep track of scheduling, whether they are on-site or remote.
• Training. To increase productivity and innovation, it is imperative that employees know how to use modern workplace tools. With technology evolving a rapid rate, and users spread out over remote and on-site locations, training has never been more important. Employees must develop a strong understanding of the features available to them in order to be effective and work together in a hybrid environment. An internal learning portal such as FSi’s Empower Learning Hub can help to provide ongoing continued education for your teams.
Develop your hybrid workplace strategy with the help of a Managed Services Provider
A strategic approach to the modern hybrid workplace will allow you to build resilience and maintain business continuity, regardless of what internal or external challenges befall your business. IT modernization will allow you to bridge the digital divide and ensure you are well-positioned for the future of hybrid work.
If you’re not sure where to start, or if you need a hand with developing or executing your strategy, an experienced Managed Services Provider like FSi Strategies can help. Learn more about what an MSP can offer in our ebook, available here.
Or contact us directly with any questions.
Looking for more insights on the hybrid workplace and the future of work?
FSi Strategies is a Microsoft Gold partner, and we help companies like yours every day. Check out these blog posts for more ideas on how to make sure you’re ready for the flexibility required in the modern workplace.
• Back to the Office and Beyond
• Microsoft 365 & The Future of Work
• The Digital Divide
• Future of Business Resilience
• Microsoft Ignite 2021 Recap
Start a conversation today.
Ask us about integrating your tools & platforms together – with architectural coherence and extensibility. Designing, implementing and supporting Modern Workplace technology is what FSi Strategies specializes in. We’ve helped hundreds of businesses implement modern security strategies in support of their missions. We invite you to discover how together, we can leverage the intelligent Cloud for the security and privacy needs of your business.