Demystifying the return to the office

Demystifying the return to the office


Reconfigured offices and a greater understanding of the challenges facing real people and businesses are essential to create more inclusive, flexible and productive workplaces, says Nigel Dunn of Jabra 

Guest contributor |

Hearing the phrase “return to the office”, it’s easy to think of a played-out buzzword ripe for retirement. Yet, in conversation after conversation with customers who still describe it as an acute challenge, I’m reminded that we in the audio-video industry can often be in a privileged position.  

While we sit at the cutting edge of meeting room technology, generating the latest insights and leveraging deep-rooted partnerships with all the industry players enabling hybrid work, most organisations are still grappling with the transition to the new world of work in which we’re all now operating.  

As we know from our most recent Hybrid Ways of Working Global Report, the reality today is that 80 per cent of all meetings globally are either fully virtual or hybrid. However, only 49 per cent of organisations have reconfigured their office spaces since the start of the pandemic. This means that roughly half of all businesses are conducting their virtual and hybrid meetings from spaces that don’t meet the challenges of these new ways of working. And while the other half may have reconfigured their offices, many of the analogue technologies currently deployed in those spaces are rapidly becoming obsolete. Indeed, we still have leaps and bounds to go if we want to bring everyone into the future of work. 

Luckily, the blueprints (yes, literal blueprints!) for a purpose-built, future-proofed hybrid office are getting sharper and more accessible by the day. In fact, it’s never been easier to explain directly to business leaders, IT teams and facilities managers what exactly they need to develop a meeting space that actually meets the needs of those using it. From room dimensions and table shape to screen size and camera placement, organisations can see precisely what’s needed to adapt their offices for the future.  

However, if we are to close the technology gap and help the world move into the hybrid era, it’s crucial that leaders in the industry be reminded of our privileged position within the return to office transition, drop our assumptions, and always keep the challenges of real people and organisations front and centre. Only then will we demystify the return to the office and bring everyone along on this journey to a more inclusive, flexible and productive future.  

Nigel Dunn is managing director of EMEA North at Jabra 

This article was originally published in the Spring 2023 issue of Technology Record. To get future issues delivered directly to your inbox, sign up for a free subscription

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