Nichole Izzo, Head of Marketing North West Europe, Logitech, previews the next phase in the flexible working revolution.
In recent years, the idea of ‘flexible working’ has become more mainstream, with an increasing number of employees opting to work from home or working flexible hours.
In fact, recent research from YouGov found that only 6% of UK employees now work the traditional 9-5 day and almost half have some type of flexible working arrangement in place.
This shift in working patterns has been addressed in a new UK Government proposal for a bill that calls for flexible working to be offered by default by all businesses.
Regardless of whether this bill will turn into law or now, flexible working will have a significant impact on businesses.
This trend will drive a significant change in the technology and collaboration tools required by the modern workforce, so businesses will need to equip both their office spaces and remote teams with the right collaboration tools to continue to work productively.
Here are a few tips for professionals working in the AV and custom install industry on what type of products and productivity strategies can help their customers embrace flexible working, while improving productivity.
Ensure office design facilitates flexibility
Individual workstations are already only occupied 55% of the time at the average workplace according to research from Gensler. As more businesses embrace flexible working, this is likely to increase and facilities managers and business leaders will need to rethink how office space is used to accommodate the needs of their increasingly dispersed workforce.
One way to do this is through open break-out areas being equipped with portable, easy to use video conferencing solutions and appropriate desktop peripherals such as headphones that can cancel out distracting noises, to allow employees to communicate with those working outside of the office quickly and easily. Additionally, large, corporate meeting rooms are likely to become less popular, so they could be replaced with smaller, video-enabled huddle rooms designed for calls with remote workers.
These spaces will need more specialised cameras that offer a wide field of view and integrated audio, allowing everyone to be seen and heard in a way which can replicate the informal style of collaboration within the office.
Companies could also fit out an office with movable walls and pop-up meeting rooms. This means that when needed, dividers can be put up to create private spaces for meetings, both in-person and through video calls, but the rest of the time and more communal space is maintained, with break out areas and hot-desking policies designed to facilitate flexible work styles and encourage collaboration.
Quality video for seamless calls in meeting rooms and at the desktop
Those who work from the office must also be supported with high-quality collaboration tools, such as video conferencing solutions that offer ease of use and excellent video quality.
For instance, a system that has one-touch calling and requires minimal set-up will be able to deliver more productive video meetings as no one will have to worry about technical glitches or unexpected delays at the start of the calls. And for employees taking video calls at their desks, an external HD webcam is a must-have.
Portable tools for remote workers
As more employees begin to work remotely, teams will become increasingly disparate, which will place even stronger importance on maintaining effective work collaboration. To combat this, businesses must empower remote workers to be productive and communicate easily with on-site employees when outside of the office.
Investing in desktop peripherals with a portable set-up which are designed for those who work on-the go or travel frequently can offer the same accessibility and ease of use as a desk and computer.
For example, a tablet can become a portable laptop when paired with a detachable keyboard, and provide a light and compact workstation which enhances productivity no matter where you work.
For those who normally work from home a fixed setting with a monitor, webcam, docking station, headset or USB-speakerphone, and reliable Wi-Fi is a strong foundation for productive working.
Ergonomic and customisable keyboards and computer mice can also ensure that home workers are comfortable and are able to perform tasks such as scrolling through large amounts of data or more technical skills by customising buttons for maximum efficiency.
As the demand for flexible working in the UK is going to increase significantly in the coming years, business will have to adapt quickly to managing an increasingly dispersed workforce.
This offers a great opportunity for AV equipment manufacturers and IT suppliers to guide their enterprise customers through this important transition.
Providing insight into how video collaboration tools and desktop peripherals can maximise productivity and improve collaboration between remote and office workers will be key to empowering businesses to make the most of the flexible working revolution.