For companies with a office-based workforce, COVID-19 has resulted in changes to working patterns. While the country experiences lockdown as a means to stem infection, there is a desire from workforces to see return to normal – They recognise the world of work will never be the same again, introducing a hybrid future due to Barcos findings.

The Government is encouraging those who can, to work from home for the future, as a means to control a second wave. However, there’s a desire to regain the social aspect, experiences have revealed how remote working can be beneficial to personal lives and bosses have not seen decreases in productivity.

A report from Barco Clickshare, ‘Finding a new balance’, reveals that half of employees (49%) say they enjoy home working less than they did at the start of the pandemic, while 85% are keen to return office to resume the social aspect of working that they have missed.

The welfare of staff remains paramount but, over time many office workers will be looking for a revitalised workplace model. Employees will want to return to the office but with flexibility and technologies to enable them to adopt a better blend of home and office. The report finds that employees want to see a future where they spend two days working from home. This shift is a trend that has been building with technological advancements making it viable. COVID-19 has acted as a flashpoint by making employers realise the opportunities that a better work life balance can provide.

Better technology is key to unlocking a successful hybrid structure. During lockdown, remote workers, forced to use home devices, recognised the limitations of their equipment and missed more advanced office-based technologies. A large proportion reported that the overuse of video conferencing tools has left them feeling disengaged. They accept that whilst virtual meetings are effective, they remove humour from interacting in person.

Bosses know effective human interaction is key to delivering results-driven collaboration between peers. It’s those moments from which understanding is developed, enabling people to work together on concepts and build creative ideas. Now is the time for employers to work closely with their tech teams to develop hybrid workplace strategies to empower their staff to work effectively from home and the office.

Office workers foresee a rise in the number of hybrid meetings, as businesses rely on virtual technology to connect their home and office teams. Video conferencing is at the heart of this collaboration, with three quarters of workers (77%) using video conferencing rooms once a week. Workplace collaboration now revolves around laptops, with 56% of people using their own devices to access virtual conferencing sessions.

Companies will be looking at ways to mitigate the financial and emotional impact of the virus, while realigning budget to navigate the economic challenges ahead. Investment in hybrid technologies must remain a priority, proving to be fundamental in the recovery process.

So, as we see a shift to hybrid working, it is imperative that technologies are sourced to ensure those engaging virtually can do so in an natural way. To go further, enabling them to communicate in the same way that they would if they were sharing office space.

Technologies must be easy to use as people are not willing to suffer outdated software packages. Each tool must seamlessly interact with other solutions to ensure a painless experience across applications. Above all, the technology must be futureproof with flexibility to adapt to the needs of an organisation.

By adopting strategies, companies avoid seeing staff become disenfranchised with collaboration technology; recognising it as an enabler with power to deliver a workplace model that provides better balance and greater productivity for employees.  

Covid-19 forces businesses to accept a new reality where technology has taken a more prominent role in day-to-day collaborations. With this has come awareness of the importance of human interaction.

A technology-driven hybrid working environment will become gospel for office workers. As it gains momentum, technology must continue to provide vital connections and break down remaining digital barriers. Bosses now focus on ensuring staff are provided with the virtual tools and IT to enable them to interact in an authentic way. More effective collaboration and engagement is critical in helping businesses navigate the challenge ahead.

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