This is the final blog in a three-part series on returning to work in a new hybrid environment and how leveraging new technology will transform workplace collaboration.
Our world is no longer just about adapting to a remote workforce. Businesses are quickly realizing the need to definitively shift from temporary virtual working practices to a model that’s geared towards operational longevity.
As touched in our previous blog on determining how to execute the design and implementation of a hybrid workplace, a successful recipe for future success involves enabling a versatile working style that ebbs and flows with business needs in a stable way and with collaboration at the center. For many companies, that means the path forward is all about the next stage of creating options with employees in the driver’s seat.
To expand on that, if environments and technology are two of the most essential hybrid-workplace building blocks, then the third and most pivotal is the people. Not only does an employee-centered strategy encompass reimagining flexible meeting spaces and technology for hybrid collaboration, but also focusing on ensuring that employees have experience parity, or equal access to modes of working that wholly promote quality interactions, drive productivity and boost innovation—no matter their preferred device or whether they are in the office, working remotely or even in the field.
Consider these six technology-driven solutions that will help catapult business operations toward a hybrid future:
1. Workspace Scheduling for Hybrid Meetings
Many businesses that gradually started to shift from fully remote to a hybrid or distributed format were recommended to separate meetings into either just in-person folks or total virtual attendance. But, this “either or” mindset can lead to dysfunction and miscommunications across the board.
For an increasingly agile workforce, equipping conference rooms and meeting spaces of all sizes with a room scheduling platform will provide remote workers with the same functionality and access as an in-office employee. Virtual meeting organizers can book a meeting room and have full control over the conferencing environment, mitigating the loss of valuable time waiting around for hybrid meeting setup. And the most intelligent conference room scheduling software also gathers usage analytics, easily releases and reallocates spaces, automates meeting notifications, and directly integrates with the most popular calendaring platforms like Microsoft and Google.
2. Zoom and Teams Integrated Rooms
It’s no revelation that Zoom and Microsoft Teams are at the forefront of empowering audio conferencing, wireless screen sharing, and video conferencing in modern workplaces with their software-based room systems. Why? Many would point to how these systems effectively bring hybrid collaboration and real-time interactions into any meeting space so that all participants feel like they have a seat at the table, whether they’re joining in-person, at home, or while on the go.
Yet, to benefit from this experience parity and successfully implement Zoom and Teams rooms, partnering with a leading technology provider is key. Only certain integrators are vetted and certified to work with these platforms. Vistacom continues to meet these quality standards and continues to collaborate with Zoom and Microsoft to develop, test, and install bespoke solutions that bring high-quality conferencing with first-class hardware to a wide-range of businesses and institutions.
3. Interactive Digital Whiteboarding
To remain competitive, companies large and small must invest in new technology to improve collaboration and productivity. And one piece of the hybrid puzzle that’s often missed in these conversations is enabling creativity and a natural exchange of ideas. Thanks to recent advancements in digital whiteboarding technology, hybrid meetings can benefit from the same visual tool that helps teams connect ideas and solve problems.
The whiteboard will never fully become obsolete; from equations to diagrams to annotations, sketches and blueprints, sometimes a visual canvas is needed for a team to share notes and engage in a more interactive discussion. Digital whiteboarding facilitates real-time collaboration between in-person and remote workers, serving as a dynamic visual reference with user-friendly features that invite organic brainstorming and experimentation, and it streamlines business processes with accessible screenshots and auto-save capabilities.
4. Intelligent Cameras & Microphones
Needless to say, a pillar of hybrid work is effective video conferencing for remote workers. No matter how businesses choose to implement a hybrid environment, communication parity is essential, meaning that that an employee working from home should have as frictionless and impactful an experience with participating in group work as in-office workers do.
Software features and collaboration tools aside, this boils down to professional-quality video and audio specifically designed for hybrid video conferencing. Driven by AI (artificial intelligence), the past two years have seen massive developments in smart cameras for hybrid meetings that are not only able to deliver crystal clear video with wide-angle, studio-quality lenses, but also detect people throughout the entire meeting space and respond by automatically framing them.
By the same token, working with an integrator that understands how these intelligent solutions operate with beamforming microphones will transform the audio experience for hybrid meetings. Interoperable with just about any unified communications platform, these devices use dynamic beams to pinpoint speakers in a space—even as they move around—resulting in near-perfect intelligibility and more natural dialogue.
5. Hot Desking and Hoteling
Moving away from fixed workstations, assigned cubicles and private offices isn’t a novel workplace strategy by any means. But, bringing employees back to the office in a hybrid, more flexible format puts workspace reconfiguration in the spotlight. Hot desking offers companies a way to allocate individual workstations on a first-come, first-served basis, giving hybrid workers who choose to work in the office on any given day the autonomy to select a specific workspace based on the work they’re doing.
An extension of the hot desking model is hoteling, or the practice of enabling employees to reserve workstations in advance—similar to meeting room scheduling. Some businesses implement hoteling to give workers the ability to reserve a specific workspace to provide a sense of security and stability while working on a project or task that requires continuous focus.
Regardless of which model fits best, companies can transition into this modern age of coworking as long as employees are empowered at each workstation with the right audiovisual and communication technologies, from professional-grade headsets and compact video conferencing setups to smart speakerphones and noise-cancelling desk phones.
6. Video Conferencing as a Service
Choosing the right adaptable conference room technology solution for hybrid work can be daunting. The Vistacom team specializes in helping businesses build solutions and create inclusive employee experiences that actually bring people and technology together.
Unload the responsibility of updating and maintaining your collaboration technology to Vistacom’s experts, and benefit from scalable, next-gen, integrated video conferencing solutions. The As-a-Service option ensures that meeting spaces are always ready, always connected and always equipped with the right technology for hybrid work—all at a budget-friendly monthly fee and with 24/7 support.
Plus, companies will gain the kind of flexibility that is ideal for remaining competitive, reserve capital for other business priorities and avoid product obsolescence.
Stand the Test of Time
It’s been an unpredictable period for everyone. Give yourself a pat on the back for remaining agile, and then ask yourself: does technology play an important role in improving collaboration and productivity for a hybrid workforce? Investing in some of the aforementioned tech-driven solutions doesn’t have to be complicated. It will undoubtedly lead to a hybrid future that guarantees equal work experiences for any work style, for any role and from anywhere.
Reach out to our team today to learn more.