Welcome to the new hybrid work model. Google, UBS Group AG, Microsoft, and many, many smaller companies have said they plan to keep some or all of their workforces working from home. Health experts have also suggested this won’t be the last pandemic we have to deal with. Yet, according to PWC, 87% of employees say the office is important for team collaboration, and 68% of executives say a typical employee should be in the office at least three days a week to maintain a distinct company culture. A combination has been reached.
What changes need to be made to optimize the new hybrid model?
First, it was an office job. Then we were forced to work from home. Now, it’s called hybrid work. This is the hybrid office, a way of working somewhere between fully remote and fully in-office. It offers flexibility and safety that build on the pandemic’s lessons. The hybrid model combines roles that can be done better remotely with an office environment that brings employees together in new ways and for particular purposes.
However, companies are beginning to realize the unexpected challenges of the hybrid model. The more critical focus is on ensuring a consistent experience for all employees, regardless of whether they work in the office or remotely. But a pretty big challenge is seamless connectivity and home computer repair. Who reworks the new office tech and helps the worker while at home?
Connecting hybrid staff with office staff – and fixing it when it breaks
When the pandemic started, it didn’t matter if workers had a home office, a distraction-free environment, or the necessary resources to do their jobs. Since everyone thought the arrangement was temporary, organizations encouraged employees to make do while remaining as efficient and productive as they were in the office — which wasn’t exactly been an easy task. Over the past year, ClickAway took over the role of at-home support. We’re the outsourced IT department on-call. We have seen a significant increase in repairing computers, printers, WiFi, and more in homes of hybrid staff.
But now, if those working remotely are not effortlessly connected with those in the office, there will inevitably be disparities, silos, and knowledge loss, not to mention big headaches. Creating a quality connection between office-based and remote workers is essential. Today, that typically looks like videoconferencing; in the near future, that might be virtual reality conferencing. Both need an onsite computer repair and network service. But who is helping the hybrid worker?
Most businesses have meeting rooms connected to their video conferencing platform. Those working remotely can see and engage with everyone in the room, not just one person behind a laptop. If something technically goes wrong in the meeting room, IT support for large companies is a stone’s throw away. In the Bay Area, help for the smaller hybrid office is where ClickAway technicians come in.
Helping Workers at Home | Helping Offices Adapt Spaces
New communal, free-flowing workspace arrangements allow employees to be transient and hybrid while still having the resources they need to work and communicate together in person effectively. That might mean some office redesign, different furniture, and certainly running new network cables and WIFU access points.
ClickAway can help designing the most efficient solution, working closely with the employee and company to invest into the right technology. This collaboration will ensure that onsite and remote colleagues can continue to work collaboratively, wherever they are.
The newly rearchitected workplace requires flexibility
ClickAway network architects and computer experts are being called in to facilitate the change in small and medium-sized businesses. Portability, flexibility, ease-of-use, and integrated support for an entire ecosystem of software, support for the cloud, data-driven communication and collaboration tools, and security are vital tenets in this newly rearchitected workplace. One-time IT projects go hand in hand with the new hybrid work model.
Companies are using both active and passive strategies, such as introducing more natural daylight, incorporating raw materials, creating visual and physical connections to the outdoors, and employing automated intelligent building systems. With these changes, we can improve the quality of life for those that live, work, and learn in these spaces. Here are some additional changes we are involved in:
- Open office floor plan – ClickAway might be called in for rewiring, cabling, mesh WiFi placements and more.
- Quiet areas that resemble a library
- Areas that are spread out but still spark interactions
- VR meeting technology
- Technology that allows people to take walking meetings throughout their campus or around the neighborhood
- Outdoor workspaces
- The continuous data stream from WIFI access points, cameras, and other IoT sources
The new hybrid organization must design its offices to support their desired ways of working. For example, offices with well-designed project spaces, social hubs, and work zones can foster and even boost collaboration. Other configurations, such as study booths and quiet zones, can provide alternative staff options for individual productivity. Mixing working from home and the office has become an employment perk that is here to stay.