So, the ‘work from home’ rule is officially over, but what happens next? Is ‘flexible working’ fully future proof?
It’s the topic that everyone has been talking about in recent months and many business leaders are now reviewing plans to return to the office, whether this is part-time, full time or a phased return. Whatever balance they choose to strike, businesses need to be sure they are delivering a consistent employee experience for every member of staff, wherever they are.
Like many organisations, we at Claranet have seen the benefits that hybrid work has brought our employees and our business. These include improved work life-balance, increased productivity, reduced office overheads, and lower travel expenses to name a few. However, during our time working fully remote we've also seen some challenges such as onboarding new starters, less social interaction, and siloed communication between teams.
In this blog we'll share some insights into what we’ve seen as some of the challenges being experienced when implementing a return to the office and a hybrid workplace experience.
Change in Network infrastructure requirements
As hybrid working becomes the new standard, now is the time to think about whether our office space and infrastructure fits the way in we want to work.
At a high level some businesses may be thinking about whether they need as much office space as they did before. But it’s also about considering whether the technology within your office is still fit for purpose.
For example, do you still need the same amount of bandwidth to your office with less employees working there? On the other hand, what pressures on the system occur with everyone accessing more cloud-based applications than ever before? Agile and secure infrastructure is key to a powerful and flexible hybrid working solution. Keeping your data and applications secure but available is essential to staying ahead of your competition.
Change in productivity and team culture
With employees returning to the office, it’s critical that office spaces are reviewed and redesigned if necessary to put the employee experience and collaboration at the heart of it. Office spaces need the right mix of cross collaborative spaces, meeting rooms and social areas and the right combination of technology to make everything work.
The ideal scenario would be to deliver the same consistent experience and levels of productivity with a mix of people remotely and in the office. With the use of the right cloud applications, resources, and access to the right tools and data, remote teams can collaborate on projects and share ideas in the same way as they would if they were all working in the same physical space.
Disparate communication tools
It’s clear that communication is key to ensure productivity, to keep motivation levels high, and to reinforce a positive team culture. The great thing is that there are so many applications and communication methods to help – video calling, instant messaging, digital whiteboards, devices for collaboration (Teams rooms systems), and enterprise social networking apps such as Yammer to name a few.
Increased and more complex security risks
The technology implemented to support new ways of working present security challenges that we were previously less concerned about.
Employees use more devices including their own and still need access to the corporate resources on the networks. With more end points than ever, combined with the increase in access to cloud-based applications, employees may no longer be as vigilant or as security aware as they would have been in the office.
Implementing a few extra security tools and training such as email security and security awareness training can make a huge difference to the prevention of security breaches and can protect from phishing emails and ransomware.
Managing devices in a hybrid world
With so many employees working from anywhere on a wide variety of devices, effective management of these laptops, mobiles, and tablets is essential. From enrolling, configuring, protecting, supporting, and retiring, device lifecycles need to be carefully monitored, all done remotely via a simple interface that makes administering the process easy for IT Teams.
As you can see, there are lots of challenges, but we’re here to help. This new era of the hybrid workplace is a journey and one we’re all on together.