Remember the first day of your new job? From navigating a new office to learning your coworker’s names and where they sit, what position they are in — it’s a full day of overwhelming firsts. Now, most of us are working remotely and never have to sit in the office. But we still have to learn the basics of where our resources are located and who to ask for help.
If you’re a person in charge of managing the first day or in-office experience, it’s very common for these situations to be handled efficiently. With the increase in remote working — more than two-thirds of people around the world work away from the office at least once a week — it’s more common for employees to feel left out when they do come into the office.
The ability to work from home and the emergence of digital office rental services has led to changing attitudes around where people should work and whether they should stick to the traditional nine-to-five working hours. This is why many employers are opting for a hybrid remote-office workforce and workplace.
It is clear this shift is here to stay. A recent study found 82 percent of company leaders are planning to let employees work remotely, at least some of the time, and that employees expect a similar swing in employer mentality, with 52 percent of respondents noting they believe they’ll continue to WFH more than they did pre-COVID-19 — even after social distancing measures lift.
As employers realize that this distributed workforce is not going anywhere, the shift to the office as a business center will only continue to grow. This will make the need for a solid IT foundation, inclusive of dependable employee personal devices, strong cybersecurity software (and education), and remote IT support even more integral than it once was.
According to a study by ClickMeeting — a webinar, videoconferencing, and online meeting platform — 46 percent of respondents view the hybrid work model as an ideal working environment and one that increases productivity and trust among employees, whereas only 16 percent of respondents prefer an office environment.
However, the hybrid remote-office workplace presents some challenges. How do companies manage working conditions amid the uncertainty of today, and how to prepare for and optimize the hybrid working models of tomorrow, in which fully in-person and remote work will be two ends of a fluid spectrum of options?
Managing Director at ClickMeeting, Dominika Paciorkowska, is a female leader, deeply-rooted in the IT industry, with strong results in delivering world-renowned SaaS products and upscaling business. Her last five years of experience in managing the ClickMeeting platform, creating and implementing strategies, has resulted in turning the company into a well-oiled machine and helped to adapt ClickMeeting to pandemic turbulence.
Since March 2020, ClickMeeting has experienced an enormously high demand for using the platform. The statistics were so mind-blowing that the pandemic situation inclined the online meeting company to create a massive, in-depth report called “Webinars and video conferencing in times of the pandemic.” Every week, ClickMeeting has noticed 375 percent more online events than before COVID-19. Those events have garnered 560 percent bigger audiences.
According to the survey, 14 percent of respondents work in a hybrid office setting and 61 percent work from home. One of the main concerns from the first phase of the pandemic was about employees’ efficiency in doing their tasks from their homes. Is the quality of the computer good enough? What about additional monitors, headsets, webcams, or printers? According to our survey results,
50 percent confirm that they have everything sorted out as far as their equipment is concerned. For 35 percent, the situation is less optimistic because they have to deal with some limitations.
With that mindset, technology will only continue to evolve to meet employee and employer needs. Beyond collaboration software, the other tools that remain central for employee productivity in our hybrid work environments include personal laptops, noise-canceling headsets and monitors.
In the office, that may mean creating a “touchless environment” where employees have their own personal collaboration technology to minimize physical contact. Or it may mean creating smaller phone booths and huddle spaces as a move away from the open floorplan, which could be equipped with standalone video software making it easy to collaborate from one room to the next. On the go, it may be arming employees with a foldable PC that makes it easier and more convenient to transition from the office to a coffee shop to home or anywhere in between. And at home, it may require employers to invest in products employees need for their “home office,” such as standing desks or salubrious chairs.
For IT departments, it will be vital to invest in infrastructure that enables IT to manage a large remote workforce. This can include increasing cloud storage for more remote storage, doubling down on security solutions to manage the increase in cyber threats and implementing remote IT solutions to help troubleshoot employee tech issues from afar.
While the new hybrid office model may not be a fit for all organizations, what we do know is that the office as we know it will be different in the coming years. Work from anywhere will become a norm, company real estate footprints may shrink and employees will expect much more of their employers than ever before. It’s more important than ever for companies to plan carefully towards a sustainable, efficient hybrid remote-office workforce and workplace.