The move to a hybrid workplace promises a myriad of benefits including increased collaboration, productivity and a better work-life balance. For this reason, it is no surprise that 91% of the global workforce expect to be working in some form of hybrid arrangement over the coming months. However, the hybrid workplace model will take some time to refine as there are many factors that must work together to support the changing workplace. One of the key factors that is integral to the long term success of hybrid working, is technology.
In the past 12 months most large technology companies have shifted their focus to adapting and creating technology that will suit hybrid working and provide a better experience for users, wherever they are working.
In this article we identify key technologies to support your business’s move to a hybrid workplace.
Video conferencing with Microsoft Teams
Meetings with both physical and remote attendees are more complex than traditional meetings or virtual meetings. The key challenge is how to ensure that all attendees have the same experience, regardless of where they are located. Microsoft Teams aims to address these challenges with additional features such as the ‘Front Row’ along with changes to the user interface to increase productivity and collaboration in hybrid meetings. If you want to find out more about how to run an effective hybrid meeting read our recent blog.
When employees moved from working in an office space to working from home there was a massive rise in phishing emails and phishing related cyberattacks. This trend will likely continue with the advent of hybrid work, with phishing being used as an attack vector to carry out ransomware attacks. User education and awareness is a key factor in avoiding a phishing attack, but it shouldn’t be the only line of defence. As businesses move to hybrid work, they should consider implementing a software defence to stop phishing attacks before they even enter an employee’s inbox. Mimecast uses AI to detect and quarantine any potential phishing attacks, keeping organisations safe from data breaches and ransomware attacks.
Work from anywhere with virtual desktops
Businesses that are trying to reduce hardware costs, or create more flexibility for employees, may have considered a Bring-Your-Own-PC (BYOPC) programme. A BYOPC programme seems ideal for hybrid working, however it poses a significant security risk as employees’ laptops may be infected with malware or may not have the same security policies as required by the business. This problem can be solved with virtual desktops through Azure Virtual Desktop and cloud PCs through Windows 365. These solutions allow users to connect to virtual desktops running on the Azure cloud. This gives the full Windows experience on any device, from any location with the security policies set up by the administrator. The recent release of Windows 365 has made it even easier for business to introduce cloud PCs to employees with simple per user per month pricing.
Employee experience platforms
The advent of remote and hybrid working can make it difficult for employees to stay connected with the wider business if not all employees work in the office on the same days. Similarly, many employees find it difficult to balance productivity and wellbeing whilst working from home. To solve these challenges, Microsoft has released Viva. Viva is an employee experience platform designed to foster an organisational culture where people and teams are empowered to be their best from anywhere. This solution contains modules to help employees stay connected to the wider business, increase productivity, organises content across the business and provide learning and development opportunities. The key to effective hybrid working is to focus on the employee experience, and Viva excels at this.
Phone call with Teams
For businesses that rely on telephone systems for day-to-day business, a traditional phone system may not be suitable for hybrid working. Transferring calls between an office and an employee’s home is difficult and can lead to a poor experience for customers. A cloud-based phone solution, such as Microsoft Business Voice, allows businesses to keep their existing phone numbers whilst allowing employees to make and answer calls from anywhere, on any device. Business Voice is also integrated with Teams, which means all calls, meetings, chats and files are housed in a single application. Moving to a cloud-based telephony solution is perfect for hybrid work and can reduce costs through streamlining technology.
The move to hybrid marks a new era in the way the world views work. An effective hybrid work scheme can allow employees can be more productivity, have a better work-life balance and employers can potentially reduce overhead costs to increase profitability. For these benefits to be realised, technology will have to play a large part in supporting the new workplace.