Where people work has been in a state of flux over the last year. But one thing that hasn’t changed is people’s need to collaborate in the workplace – wherever that might be. In fact, 67% of employees say that they have jobs which require in office collaboration. Thanks to an abundance of devices and services, businesses have found new ways to connect virtually. So, although working might be remote, colleagues don’t have to be.
But as talk turns to phrases like ‘back to normal’ and ‘back in the office’ there’s a temptation for businesses to believe that the need for virtual connection will diminish. Not so, we’d argue.
A precedent has been set. What began with panic has become far more everyday. Benefits of hybrid working have emerged for both employees and businesses – from flexibility around personal commitments to reducing onsite resources and addressing environmental responsibility. That’s why over 40% of employees think they’ll still spend part of the time working from home, even after the pandemic.
Now the office is everywhere, but colleagues still need the feeling of being together, able to share ideas and information easily. How your people connect today, and in the future, is vital to business success – which is why the decisions you make now about audio-visual technology need to be carefully considered.
Step 1: Understand your environment
Think about the working environments within your organisation today – shared offices, home workspaces, meeting rooms or working on-the-go. What exists in these environments that might hamper connections between colleagues or with customers? This might be noise distractions from children or other homeworkers when situated remotely. Or interruptions in a shared office, from colleagues who frequently move in and out of the workspace as they go about their day.
How does your team interact, internally or externally, and how often? A salesforce may be on calls for 80% of their day so clear, crisp audio and noise cancellation will be key. Other colleagues who participate in internal, face to face, collaborative meetings will need high-quality video and sharing capabilities – especially if meetings include a mix of in-person and remote workers.
Employees may need to move between working environments. Rostered schedules to accommodate spacing restrictions could mean alternate teams moving between home and the office. Or, as in-person meetings resume, workers may require the ability to continue meetings via mobile or laptop whilst on-the-go.
To help you delve deeper into the communication needs of your workforce, take a look at these six workplace scenarios and see which you recognise in your business.
Step 2: Choose the technology that best matches the workspace
Once you know the way your people work, you can choose the tech that will work for them.
68% of employees are more productive when the space is aligned to their workstyle, so device selection has a direct impact on your workforce’s output – and ultimately, your organisation’s success.
You’ll want to weigh up features such as noise cancellation, portability and audio-visual clarity at varying proximity – particularly in situations where in-person attendees may be spaced out. And it’s not just the hardware that’s important. 84% of companies use 2 or more cloud-based video conferencing services and 20% use 5 or more – so consider how software, apps and collaboration tools can be integrated, with options to access multiple platforms seamlessly from one system. Tools such as Poly’s Video App Mode, for instance, provide one-touch capability to access meetings on any platform, from a single screen.
Step 3: Be prepared for a future that’s flexible
We can’t predict the future, but we’re confident that virtual communication will be a part of it, and that services in the marketplace will continue to evolve. So it’s important to make sure you choose devices which have the flexibility to work with a range of platforms and apps. This way, as the software changes, your devices don’t have to. Users can continue operating the equipment they’re familiar with and retain the standard of video and audio they expect – whilst having the flexibility to embrace new cloud-based services as they become available.
Centralised management of your conferencing technology can help you remain agile and in control of your business’s audio-video needs. Poly, for example, offer an end to end portfolio which gives IT departments the ability to stage, deploy and maintain solutions centrally. This type of solution helps to drive consistency in your design and configurations, streamline deployment with zero touch provisioning and maintain and monitor investments – delivering the best experience to users while minimizing support costs.
It’s never too early to start planning for the future of your business. Online conferencing is here to stay, so investing in the right technology and solutions now is crucial. Servium’s audio-visual experts can help with decisions around technology as well as complementary software and services. We’ll help to make sure your workforce is connected, engaged and ready to power your business – from everywhere they work.
We’re currently offering businesses a free environment assessment and the chance to get a free Poly Voyager Focus UC headset. Find out more.
 Global Workplace Analytics
 Nemertes Visual Communications and Collaboration: 2020-21 Research Study
 UC&C: 2018 Research Study, Nemertes, Forrester Research, Oct 2018