Creating an excellent in-office experience for the hybrid workforce begins with these questions
June 28, 2023 - As more and more businesses think about permanently adopting the model of the hybrid workforce, with its mix of in-person and remote collaborators, the process of that transition can seem overwhelming. As the pandemic triggered wave after wave of "work from home/return to office" cycles, many companies deployed "quick and dirty" communications solutions for their staff: Sticking up a single, inexpensive webcam in a conference room, for example.
Now that the global workforce is moving into a state of "hybrid permanence," the technology needs of most businesses — and educational and government institutions, for that matter — are expanding rapidly. It's become clear that in-person spaces need to be adapted to handle the needs of the emerging hybrid landscape. "Video conferencing is 50% of the hybrid experience, but when people are in the office, content presentation and sharing, scheduling, automation, and control all play a massive role in making a space work for the user," says Crestron's Senior Manager of Sales Enablement John Hesseltine.
Navigating this new reality requires expert advice — and planning at the very outset of the transition. "I think this process is so important because you can elevate the experience with very basic products," says Hesseltine. "These types of questions, the customer's answers, and the resulting solutions can really exceed the specifier's expectations." Simply put: Many of those who need these solutions "don't know what they don't know." (Further reading on these solutions — and more — can be found at the bottom of the article.)
Consider this first step: A hybrid workplace technology audit. It's a simple process, just a matter of asking a series of questions — but it's important to know the right questions. The list below should serve as something of a "starter kit" to help your C-suite and IT departments understand just what needs must be addressed. In fact, these are likely some of the questions (but certainly not all) a technology integrator will likely ask as the new systems are being designed. That technology integrator is vital to any project's success, by the way — they understand how to make every aspect of your hybrid solution work together for a seamless experience, free of glitches and frustrations.
From there, the technology for the hybrid workspace must be included in the earliest planning stages. It helps to think of technology — from AV and videoconferencing solutions to control and automation — as part of a room's basic infrastructure, just as vital as planning for, say, standard high-voltage electrical outlets. Including the planning for tech at the earliest stages prevents later modifications — changes to a space that can be extremely costly.
We've broken the audit into these six areas:
Staff and Policies for Hybrid Work
The Current Physical Space for In-Office Collaboration
How many of each of these spaces does your business currently have:
The Right Equipment for Hybrid Work
Creating the Best User Experience for a Hybrid Work Model
The In-Office Experience for Guests and IT
Expanding Your Spaces for In-Office Collaboration