Hybrid working has taken the world by storm since businesses were forced to embrace the at-home office when Covid-19 hit. In doing so, many have realised the benefits it delivers, and are adjusting their future operations to empower employees with the tools to work securely and productively while away from the office.
While Microsoft Teams has become a key component of this, many organisations are still getting to grips with the technology and may require some guidance in ensuring employees are equipped to use the full capabilities of the collaboration platform. In line with this, here are five top tips on how to hybridise the workforce using Teams and Cloud Video Interop, taken from the Redmondmag.com webcast, “Using Microsoft Teams to transition your remote workforce”.
1. The next stage of work will be hybrid
The next iteration of the workplace will have a small portion of the workforce who’s going to be returning to the office. Perhaps you’ll have dedicated teams who are assigned to come in on specific days. Maybe you’ll have a one-week-on, one-week-off type of policy, maybe you’re just going to bring in those workers that need to do more collaborative work. But there’s going to be firm guidelines in place in terms of who can come to the office and who should remain at home. The most important thing, maybe
here at this stage, is giving employees a choice – making sure that those employees who want to come back in the office and feel like it’s going to improve their productivity have the opportunity to do so.
Some employees may not feel that it’s safe, and they’re not interested in taking that type of risk. So you need to think through a flexible policy that will enable that hybrid workforce to be productive in the way that those employees prefer to work.
2. Your hybrid policy must tackle these top three issues
Organisations really need to craft a flexible policy that enables employees to choose what works best for them.
First, if they want to head back into the office, enable them to do so. But you have to think through all the considerations to deliver that for them. Second, you need to make sure that employees are enabled and empowered to have successful work-at-home or in-office productivity. This means having the right technology, the right applications, and the right tools at their fingertips, regardless of where they are. And third, and maybe most importantly, is ensuring that your efforts to keep employees safe are paramount, and they’re transparent. You have to effectively communicate what that safety plan looks like to ensure that folks that want to come back into the office feel comfortable, confident and safe.
3. Microsoft Teams in the conference room
The coronavirus has forced us into rapid-cycling through the Teams adoption period. Now, most organisations are thinking about Phase Two and Phase Three adoption of Microsoft Teams. For us, Phase Two adoption is when everyone’s very familiar with Teams – it’s become part of the standard workflow and it’s how everyone stays productive. As we start to think through that next phase of returning to the office, we need to figure out how to ensure that Teams is represented in our conference rooms and in our offices so that we’re not missing out on opportunities for enhanced collaboration.
4. Cloud Video Interop: easily bring Microsoft Teams to conference rooms
Cloud Video Interop is pretty straightforward. At the end of the day, it’s a software middleware that connects Teams meetings to legacy hardware endpoints. Microsoft has partnered with four companies to deliver this service on their behalf. BlueJeans is one of them. We offer a pure software-as-a-service (SaaS) option, while other providers offer it in different options.
5. Why go SaaS for Cloud Video Interop?
Since BlueJeans’ inception about 10 years ago, interoperability is something that’s at our core. BlueJeans was designed to connect conference room systems to video conferencing applications. It’s something that we’ve always held near and dear to our heart and I believe that we do have the broadest coverage in terms of connecting all of the endpoints that are out there. Currently, we have the ability to work with more than 19,000 different hardware configurations.
Because it’s a pure SaaS model, everything is based in the Azure Cloud. You can be up and running having a Teams meeting in your conference room in 30 minutes. We’ve built a wizard that walks you through four discrete steps to make installation simple and easy. So if you’re looking for a solution that’s more hands-off and is really quick to implement, BlueJeans is superior in that standpoint. The SaaS option also means the manageability is a little bit different. There are no virtual machines to manage. We have the ability to scale infinitely through our cloud infrastructure. There is no downtime for updates, and we have no outages. We have global failover so the infrastructure that we’ve put behind the solution is way more hands-off than something that’s more on-premises.
Zachary Bosin is vice president of product marketing at BlueJeans by Verizon
This article was originally published in the Winter 21/22 issue of Technology Record. To get future issues delivered directly to your inbox, sign up for a free subscription.
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