The Covid-19 pandemic has caused a massive shift in the way employees work, which is similarly changing the way IT managers and business leaders look at their existing and future workplace strategies.
Office spaces will undoubtedly continue to be an important component of the workplace structure in the years ahead. But as we wait to see how each organisation and industry rebounds from the pandemic, there seems to be no definitive consensus on how to treat office spaces for the long term. Instead, bracing for what the future of work in a hybrid environment looks like and the best ways to enable collaboration and meeting productivity in those settings will be the best path to moving forward in today’s fluid world of work.
The hybrid workplace starts by flipping the script on where and how work currently gets done. Ultimately, there needs to be mutual trust between leaders and employees and an understanding of the advantages that can be gained by having people both in the office and working remotely.
While most organisations will devise their own unique hybrid infrastructures that allow teams to work in the office, at home, and on the go, there are a number of trends that we will soon see emerge as a result of more employees heading back into the office.
Changing remote work policies
Approaches to hybrid work will vary across companies and industries, with no two organisations operating exactly alike. Where one large technology company may mandate specific days a week in the office for employees, another may let individual management teams establish their own guiding principles. Regardless, leadership will need to provide oversight and transparency around setting expectations so that employees can concentrate on working versus wondering. With good leadership in place and new policies being clearly articulated, adoption will be more readily solidified.
Evolution of office spaces
With nearly every organisation expected to allow some level of remote work flexibility post-pandemic, offices will need to become environments that people are attracted to and excited about, to draw people into the office. As such, employers will need to answer a series of questions: How will offices be redesigned and for what purpose? Will we bring employees back in for collaborative activities only or go back to assigned seating stations? How can technology optimise each of those spaces, and what new ideas and office innovations coming out of the pandemic are worth investing in?
New office tech stack
With new social distancing practices, reduced number of hours and days in the office and more hybrid-equipped meeting rooms, IT leaders will need to re-evaluate their existing technology stack to determine which technologies they should invest in moving forward to best outfit their office spaces and connect their employees in real time. As a result, audiovisual investments are likely to take centre stage as a way to better suit today’s video-first culture.
BlueJeans Gateway for Microsoft Teams
To balance out new technology investments, IT managers will need to determine where and how to save on existing hardware and software infrastructure. The interoperability that lends itself to cloud-based systems means employees can use their favourite communications and productivity software alongside existing company tools.
At BlueJeans by Verizon, we believe that interoperability is essential for future-proofing as software policies and standards evolve in line with broader industry preferences and IT leadership changes. The BlueJeans Gateway for Microsoft Teams cloud video interop (CVI) is a middleware technology that enables Teams users to connect to their existing legacy (H.323 or SIP-based) conferencing systems. This Microsoft-certified solution makes it easy and secure to bring Teams video meetings into conference rooms and huddle spaces. It works seamlessly with thousands of room system configurations, like Cisco, Poly and Lifesize, making the most of existing hardware investments.
Technology is going to play a major role in the transformation of office spaces and the hybrid workplace. While connectivity will be a hurdle for some, solutions like CVI can make the transition to hybrid smoother and easier so that organisations can focus on improving workplace collaboration.
Get up and running with the BlueJeans Gateway today in four simple steps. To take a free 30-day trial, connecting unlimited rooms to Microsoft Teams video conferencing, visit: pages.bluejeans.com/gatewaytrial-therecord.
Paul Scholey is senior vice president and general manager of International at BlueJeans by Verizon
This article was originally published in the Summer 2021 issue of The Record. To get future issues delivered directly to your inbox, sign up for a free subscription.
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