With some employees continuing to work from home while others begin the return to the office, the pandemic has jumpstarted an office revolution and the need for employers to support hybrid working environments has been accelerated. With recent studies showing that working from home around one day a week boosting productivity by 4.8% and employers needing to combat zoom fatigue, many companies are fully investing in technology and collaborative communication tools to help their new hybrid businesses operate with ease and provide a more pleasing and comfortable working environment for their employees to interact within.
For those embracing the transition to hybrid, upgrading your meeting room and communal office spaces to support hybrid work is vital to the future of your company and you owe it to your employees and the success of your business to do it right. Thinking about where to begin can often feel daunting but by following these simple first steps you will be well on your way to building out your hybrid working environment.
Select your platform
Companies can often be overwhelmed by the number of collaboration tools on the market and many don’t have a clear plan in place to best utilize them. Collaboration hubs like Microsoft Teams and Slack provide a central place to unite employees across departments, projects, roles, and responsibilities. Every organization needs to decide what their primary platform will be, clearly communicate the decision to all team members (in-office and remote), and utilize that platform company-wide. Organizations that don’t make this commitment can encounter an issue with team members using dozens of overlapping platforms, none of which they will be an expert in.
Once you have decided upon a platform, offer the proper training to make sure employees can take full advantage of the collaboration tools made available. Many organizations foolishly think their younger employees already know how to use this kind of technology and don’t require training (or that they will even train those that need more assistance). This couldn’t be further from the truth and no matter the age or experience-level of your employees; everyone needs to go through the same training seminars and offerings. Many organizations also look at the expenses involved in training their staff on these platforms as professional development but that is not the case. These platforms are something every employee needs to do their job and this training is vital in helping your staff use the platforms you are choosing to invest in.
Build Out Your Rooms and Spaces
Most companies see the writing on the wall and understand that their offices need to support hybrid work long-term. To facilitate this, companies are further building out their meeting rooms and transitioning other parts of their office to support a hybrid working environment. When investing in these spaces, companies need to focus on one touch solutions that allow employees to conference and present with ease.
Many employees view offices as a place they can come and go as needed, looking to utilize the spaces for important meetings or collaborative projects. With this changing view, companies are increasing coworking options, including investing in shared spaces like hot desks. For offices with a limited footprint, hot desks can provide everything an employee needs to plug in and work, including monitors and cameras, and companies should focus on making these spaces comfortable and easy to use. These spaces can also be booked through the shared network, in the same way employees have booked meeting room spaces in the past.
Purchase the Proper Hardware/Technology
When looking to properly build out these spaces, many organizations sadly underestimate the quality of the hardware they are putting in. Organizations often purchase cheaper solutions, many that can be purchased at local retailers like Best Buy, and don’t realize they are not appropriate for their needs. Investing in the wrong equipment can disrupt the experience and cause frustration amongst employees, leading them to reject the technology or decrease their usage of these spaces. These selections should not be a panic purchase or something that is just good enough for right now. Gone are the days where you install a static camera and leave a basic microphone in the center of the room and call it a day. Working with a technology specialist to design and integrate custom solutions can make the difference between a space left vacant or one that employees are going to want to conference into or even come into the office for.