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A Major Tech Gap Could Impede The Hybrid Work Transition

  • 4 mths ago

The move to a hybrid workplace will be more disruptive than the move to remote work, and many organizations may underestimate this challenge. One crucial factor is that the technology needed to create a seamless hybrid office experience simply doesn’t exist yet.

When many workplaces were forced to go virtual in early 2020, the tools and technology they needed already existed. The main challenge was adopting them quickly and updating longstanding processes. For a workplace where some employees are together in the same office and some aren’t, there’s a significant gap in communication, productivity and engagement tools.

Many organizations recognize that the hybrid work transition is inevitable. An Accenture survey found that “83% of employees prefer a hybrid work model (working remotely between 25% and 75% of the time).” There are significant opportunities for companies to innovate and fill technology gaps as organizations around the world make this transition for the long term.

Moving Beyond “All Or Nothing” Workplace Tech

The majority of existing workplace technology meets the needs of organizations with either an all-remote or all-in-person staff. There aren’t many options for a primarily hybrid workforce.

Meeting tools are one example of this gap. Many organizations designed conference rooms around in-office meeting participation, where only the remote team members were in other locations. Over the past year, many meetings became fully remote as employees worked from home — each attendee dialed in from their own videoconferencing account, and functions like in-meeting chats began to be used more.

What will happen when some team members return to the office while others remain home — and when these locations are constantly shifting? Many employees may prefer dialing in from their own account even when working in the office. What does a hybrid conference room look like in this environment? We don’t have a clear answer yet. New technology is needed to fill these gaps in experience.

In the meantime, organizations must be intentional about how they use existing meeting tools. For example, maintaining individual videoconferencing for all-company meetings, even when some employees are in the office, can ensure that all employees are on an even playing field and receive critical information in the same format. Whatever option you choose, it’s important to ensure no one falls through the cracks regardless of whether they’re working remotely, in the office or in a hybrid setting.

The way technology is used during meetings has a major impact on team culture and collaboration. It can influence who speaks up and in what ways, how presentations are shared, whether chat features are used and more. Having the right technology in place will be crucial.

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