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Unified Communications Mar 24, 2023

Why flexibility is the foundation of effective hybrid working

By Jon Martin Meetings portfolio lead, Digital Workplace

Currently, if we looked at hybrid working as a spectrum of all-in or all-out, most organisations have yet to fix their position.

At the moment, the majority lie somewhere in between the two extremes, using a mixture of workstyle strategies.

What’s clear is that there’s no hybrid working silver bullet delivering a proven answer; it’s very much an ongoing discussion. The initial vision that all organisations will embrace hybrid ways and close all their offices has faded - business leaders realise it’s a more nuanced and individual decision. Most agree that they’d like their people to come into the office some of the time – and probably for more days a week than employees would prefer – but the medium-term balance is still under review.

In this time of flux, one constant is that hybrid working is something that people, not organisations, do. Putting aside the logistics of who is working where and when, successful hybrid work depends on giving people the experience that will help them work well.

So, what does this mean for workplace strategy and digital workplace solutions? How can organisations get the most out of hybrid working?

We need to reconceptualise the office

When you dig into why organisations want employees back in the office it’s usually not a question of productivity; it’s much more about the loss of innovation-sparking, in-person discussions and the opportunities to nurture employee wellbeing that come with human contact. It’s so much easier to check in on your team face-to-face, and it makes a world of difference to settling in new starters and getting them up to speed with company culture.

Some organisations are rethinking how they use their workspaces as part of developing their digital workplace strategy, to make days in the office more valuable. They’re encouraging their teams to move away from coming into the office just to sit at a desk on back-to-back video meetings, promoting instead face-to-face collaborative thinking and working. Organisations are also aware that the right office environment can help to attract and retain talent – a critical factor in many sectors these days.

It’s no longer a case of one office type fits all – a people-first workspace gives teams the flexibility to collaborate how they want to without their choices affecting the quality of their interactions. The emphasis today is on the organisation understanding individual user needs and adjusting their workspaces accordingly.

For some organisations, this means adopting flexible layouts that have room to accommodate fluctuating numbers. For others, it means creating the atmosphere of a coffee shop mixed with an open meeting room, providing spaces that offer a choice of work areas and excellent coffee.

We need to facilitate seamless collaboration

Flexibility must carry through from workspace concepts to the technologies that underpin the work-anywhere ideology. If people are moving around the office at will, the technology - particularly the wi-fi - needs to follow. No modern office can afford to be without excellent coverage and high bandwidth availability to support the high volume of video calls.

Organisations need to smooth their users’ paths to digital collaboration, to ensure the best possible experience. Whether this means using a single platform, or collaborating in a multi-cloud environment, it’s all about keeping communication flowing.

However, as a minimum, the organisation needs to know that these cloud-based apps are being used safely and securely by employees. This involves accepting and working with less control over constantly evolving apps. Leading organisations are finding that partner-provided, robust cyber security defences, and employee vigilance are crucial to securing this shifting environment.

Increasingly, security and user adoption are coming together to reinforce the human firewall. Effective hybrid working means trusting employees to work well wherever they are and empowering them to protect the digital workplace solutions that make anywhere-working possible.

Supporting an excellent experience with a robust cloud strategy

Organisations need to concentrate on providing an excellent experience while minimising any risks that may come with a digital workplace transformation.

To keep up with the rapidly changing digital landscape and keep productivity high wherever your workplace might be, you need a better way of integrating your collaboration tools and we have a solution. By adding cloud session layer to your voice service, we enable applications like Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Webex and contact centre platforms to work together. With all your calls taking place via the cloud our solution offers a consistent, high-quality voice experience, regardless of application. We also make voice migration simpler, allowing you to keep your phone numbers and keep your migration cost down. Now you can deploy and move users from legacy infrastructure to cloud or cloud to cloud at your own pace and collaborate like never before.

Security and compliance are essential, especially when it comes to communications. All our solutions are verified by our security team, and we make sure that all your dialled calls are encrypted end-to-end, keeping any private and sensitive information safe from cyber criminals and hackers. Plus, we’ll manage compliance of complex in-country regulatory requirements so you can work and communicate with confidence.

We’re ever mindful of our collective sustainability responsibilities, and are proud to have increased the energy efficiency of our new, cloud-based managed voice network by up to 95% compared to a traditional on-premises set-up. Based in Azure, it provides an industry-leading performance, backed up by an underlying network that’s fully powered by 100% renewable energy, helping you to get one step closer to net zero.

If you'd like to find out more about how we help global organisations achieve flexibility with our digital workplace solution, visit our webpage.