Setting the stage for your hybrid work initiatives

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It’s no secret 2021 will be dramatically different than years past. Traditional notions of how we purchase, interact with, and support technology have implications for wider society. Prior to COVID-19, most organizations were structured to support the office-based workforce, with remote employees as an exception. Last year saw that approach turned on its head, with the workforce becoming almost entirely remote.

In 2021 and beyond, the situation will get more complicated, as employees demand “technology parity” (ease of connectivity, user experience, and access to apps and data) regardless of whether they are in the office, on the road, or working from home. As such, business and IT leaders need to join forces to review their approach to end user computing to ensure that staff are equipped and empowered to innovate and remain productive regardless of location.

Along with enabling remote work, organizations must make sure that return-to-office initiatives are supported and accompanied by agile networks that are fit for new ways of working. In short, organizations must be prepared to commit to the hybrid work environment.

Establishing hybrid work initiatives

What exactly is “hybrid work”? A term you may have heard recently, we’ll help break down what it could mean for your organization.

While various definitions exist, all slightly different, what they agree on is that hybrid work is a model providing flexibility for your workforce. It allows employees to be productive regardless of location — equally effective working in traditionally centralized workplaces, from home (as many are now), in local co-working hubs, or even cafes. Hybrid working empowers your employees to select the appropriate location, tools, and often, working hours for the tasks they are doing.

Hybrid work models begin to dissolve boundaries between employers, employees, IT teams, and their shared locations. At the core of hybrid work is a shift from output to outcomes, emphasizing “how” work tasks are completed, rather than “when” and “where.”

The re-imagined workspace

Speaking of “where,” a hybrid workplace is not just a sea of cubicles, boardrooms, and common areas littered with old coffee grinds and crinkled up sticky notes. Instead, the workplace is now a digital hub where organizations equip their workforce with the tools necessary to complete the task at hand from any locale. We are already seeing organizations make necessary on-site changes through enhanced focus on reconfigured workspaces and meeting rooms, employee safety precautions, workforce management solutions, and more.

On the other side of the hybrid workforce spectrum are your remote workers — the ones hunkered down in their home offices (or kitchen tables or bedrooms) across the nation (or world), still tasked with ensuring your organization’s success. End user hardware, cloud technology, project management tools, video conferencing, instant messaging, and more are no longer luxuries, but absolute necessities for a successful distributed work model. Hybrid work is perhaps a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for companies to rewrite the script on how to empower workers by enabling them to get the job done from any location, with the technological convenience they experienced in a traditional office setting.

SHI as the bedrock for a successful hybrid work model  

SHI understands the combination of on-site and remote work requires a technology strategy that both addresses the needs of different users/teams by providing technology that’s flexible and consistent in preserving user experiences and has a back-end approach that’s designed to support a decentralized workforce. And we know you’ll need to do it all while streamlining acquisition processes, optimizing device and software deployments, and bolstering your lifecycle strategies — as budgets and device availability remain uncertain.

It’s no surprise themes such as perseverance, adaptability, and scalability are rolling right into 2021. Over the past year, SHI has shifted our workforce to their home offices where possible. We also have reconfigured our operations to help offset the business disruptions our customers experienced.

Our integration centers worked relentlessly to help elementary schools, universities, hospitals, government agencies, and other organizations respond to changing needs and ongoing uncertainty. We kept pre-configured iPads on reserve stock for public health agencies as they coordinated COVID-19 tests for their communities. We sent helpdesk technicians to supermarket chains, ensuring all their technology needs were met as they kept food stocked on the shelves. We understand and can respond quickly to our customers’ changing technology needs as we adjust to a constantly altering working environment.

Over the upcoming months, in a series of webinars and blog posts, SHI will provide expert advice and insider insight into what technologies your organization should evaluate and adopt — while also outlining best practices for implementation and ongoing support. We look forward to taking this journey with you as you define what “hybrid work” means for your organization.