Hybrid working is now the accepted norm and organisations around the world are adapting their offices to meet new work patterns. As we enter the third year of this new normal, organisations are reimagining their existing office space and taking advantage of new technology enhancements to improve productivity.
A trend that we are seeing among clients is to transition from permanently assigning desks to specific employees and instead ‘hotelling desk space’, or hot-desking. This can present a variety of challenges, as typically employees are accustomed to leaving personal items, notes and other tools at their assigned workstations. If individual employees no longer have a dedicated desk or they are moving between their home and the office, it is vital that they can still access the tools they need for their jobs wherever they are.
As we envision the office of the future, it is important to make the transition between home and the office seamless for our employees. We have deployed Windows 365 for our hybrid workers, allowing them to access a secure persistent desktop experience, no matter where they are working from. Our employees can access these Windows 365 workstations from home computers, their Surface devices, as well as the kiosk workstations deployed to each hotelling desk space.
If workers choose to come into the office, they pre-select a space using a desk reservation system created in PowerApps. This allows us to manage capacity in the office, as well as make sure there is a space reserved for the employee. This PowerApp is hosted within our All-Company Teams channel, allowing easy access for employees.
Another challenge that we are addressing is our employees’ need to have their notes and to-do lists available wherever they are. Several team members – myself included – prefer to write things down in notebooks as it is faster and helps with memory retrieval. We have provided Surface devices and Surface pens combined with OneNote to allow these individuals to keep handwritten electronic notes that are synchronised and always available to them.
To ensure peak productivity, we outfit each desk with a kiosk-enabled workstation and an additional monitor to give employees all the virtual working space they need. Windows 365 supports up to 16 monitors when running on Windows, but we have not had a requirement for more than three monitors at a time.
By combining the newest Microsoft productivity enhancements with intentional hardware choices, we have set employees up for success in the hybrid workplace. Together, Surface, Windows 365, OneNote and Teams create a consistent, always-on experience that can be customised to each employee without dedicated hardware. While the new normal may seem cliched, these solutions work together to make it feel as easy as possible.
Rohana Meade is president and CEO of Synergy Technical
This article was originally published in the Autumn 2022 issue of Technology Record. To get future issues delivered directly to your inbox, sign up for a free subscription.