The future of collaboration in the new hybrid workplace
Make your digital workplace successful for the long term

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Collaboration has always been an essential component of a successful business. But it’s become infinitely more important in recent years as the workplace extends beyond the traditional office.

Before COVID-19, just 6% of American employees worked primarily from home. In May 2020, over one-third of employees worked remotely. Now, according to an Accenture report, 63% of high-growth companies have adopted a “productivity anywhere” hybrid workforce model, while 84% of organizations feel hybrid will be the de facto standard by 2024, per a recent AT&T and Dubber study.

Simply put: Remote or hybrid models are here to stay. These models allow organizations to expand their applicant pools, improve worker flexibility and productivity, and increase employee retention. There are many benefits to remote or hybrid work that are worth holding on to, but it’s not without challenges.

Newly distributed workforces are finding it increasingly difficult to create environments where collaboration happens as naturally as it did in the office. As this obstacle grows – and threatens to eventually hinder the employee experience as well as the business’s bottom line – organizations must take proactive measures to give employees the tools – and space – they need to be productive and think creatively.

Here’s our advice for building a digital workplace that fosters collaboration and innovation.

Create equity between experiences

Collaboration is about more than ensuring employees can work well together. It’s also about creating a sense of community and belonging. And this can’t happen if workers feel overtly disconnected.

Effective collaboration in a hybrid workplace begins with inclusivity. You must create equity between experiences, whether employees are working onsite or remotely.

Take meetings, for example. Many conference rooms are not equipped with video – they are still using audio only – and we’ve all been on a conference call and forgotten there are people on the phone in the center of the room. If you call in using a video conferencing platform, you can take advantage of individual video feeds and easier accessibility to presentations or documents on your screen. Colleagues participating in a conference room don’t have the same luxuries. They must either call in on their laptops as well or take notes to reference later. On the flip side, if a side conversation is happening within the conference room, individuals on the video call likely can’t participate.

The solution depends on how your company works. Maybe it’s adding video-enabled devices in the conference room, or it’s shifting the meeting experience so that everyone joins on the same platform regardless of where they’re stationed. Knowing your culture and how your business works is key.

Align your teams’ experiences across devices and invest in communication and collaboration tools that work for everyone. With experienced guidance, you can implement strategies that shrink the “distance” between workers, not cause a greater divide.

Build a more cooperative office environment

While many have lauded the flexibility of working remotely, the office itself isn’t going away.

Face-to-face meetings are important. In-person team-building exercises can spark camaraderie, galvanize a workforce, and even fuel productivity. But if organizations expect employees – who have become accustomed to working from anywhere while also avoiding the drudge of the morning commute – to return to the office, they must create environments that not only meet their needs but also give them a reason to be there.

Some companies are designing more communal spaces for people to gather and collaborate. This nurtures a sense of belonging, inspires new ideas, and reduces feelings of isolation. Some are building individual focus rooms that house up-to-date technology solutions, giving individuals privacy if they need it or a quiet place for focused work. Some are even investing in hoteling capabilities, which will allow different workers to seamlessly patch in and out without missing a beat.

All these things can revitalize the office and make coming to work a more positive, cohesive, and, ultimately, collaborative experience.

Streamline the digital workspace to meet now and future needs

The future of collaboration in a hybrid workplace boils down to efficiency. It’s about creating a premium experience that enhances productivity by giving employees what they need to be most successful. Integrated systems and automation streamline technology and help create that seamless experience regardless of where work happens.

Every organization is different, however, so a one-size-fits-all solution won’t cut it. That’s where we can help.

Standardized for productivity and collaboration

When the unthinkable happened, and office-based workers suddenly had to move from desktops connected to onsite networks to laptops robust enough to keep up with the work, those devices had to be deployed, configured, secured, and monitored. Business continuity became the number one priority, and many devices, applications, and ways of working changed quickly. Speed and connection were the goal.

Now, that sense of urgency is over. The focus moves to ensuring continued productivity while also providing security and consistency.

Business leaders are thinking strategically about their digital workplaces, and evaluating what makes sense for how they work moving forward. Companies that didn’t know about VMware Anywhere Workspace realized it gave them capabilities they didn’t have before. Others learned that ChromeOS Flex gave them the ability to standardize both PCs and Macs on one platform for a quick and easy uniform experience. Some started to leverage parts of Microsoft 365 that they just didn’t utilize before – with just a bit of training.

Our customers are looking at their digital workplaces differently now and investing accordingly. Our experience helping businesses accomplish just that is why they are turning to us now, asking what options they should consider for their digital future.

SHI understands that the digital workplace is constantly evolving. We have the expertise and experience to develop solutions that meet your most important goals, and we’ll work with you to make sure your employees have a consistent experience regardless of location. From planning and identifying the right technology to supporting the technology procurement, SHI has you covered.

All businesses know collaboration is essential to their success. Now more than ever, there’s an intent to ensure collaboration is something they can do well. Yet, the hybrid workplace only works if your employees are sufficiently connected, both in the tools they use and the spaces you cultivate. Let us help you turn this into a reality.