It is hard to believe it was only a couple of years ago that many employees would take a deep breath and cross their fingers before asking their managers if they could – heaven forbid – work from home. While there was plenty of evidence to suggest technology had evolved to the point where flexible work arrangements were within reach, old-school attitudes reigned supreme across countless industries. Many workers will no doubt remember the reasons (i.e. excuses) that were repeatedly rolled out by managers fearful of letting them log-on from home, even if only for part of the day.
“If I let you work from home, I’ll have to let everyone.” “How will I know you’re being productive?” “What if an unexpected situation arises and I need your help?” “What computer will you use?” “How will you work amid the chaos of family life?” “What about cyber security?”
As recently as early 2020, many managers could not fathom a world where their staff were not within eyesight, let alone in the same building. Of course, we all know what happened next. A global pandemic gave birth to ‘social distancing’ and working from home became a reality for tens of millions of people across the globe. COVID-19 lockdowns forced once-hesitant companies to not only accept remote work as a viable option but actively pursue it to ensure the viability of their businesses.
Amazingly for many managers, employee productivity actually increased in those early months of the remote work revolution and has stayed that way even after the initial buzz subsided. As Gartner analyst Suzanne Adnams told Computerworld: “Leaders across the board were shocked and amazed how quickly all their workers made the transition once they had the equipment – and by how productive everyone has been.”
With the global pandemic set to enter its third year, managers now are turning their attention to adopting and fine tuning a new model – the hybrid workplace. The home office has fast become an extension of the corporate office, which is why it is no surprise 96% of companies want to improve their work environments with intelligent workplace technology.
The hybrid workforce is here to stay and IT organizations that scrambled to support remote work and collaboration in 2020 are now building environments that will support flexible work for 2022 and the future. In an alternate universe, the evolution to geographically dispersed workplaces would have taken up to a decade to unfold – or even longer in some sectors – but the COVID-19 pandemic has inspired an unprecedented migration to cloud-powered digital tools.
The subsequent pressure on IT teams to deliver for both employers and employees is immense and goes far beyond providing additional support for remote workers. There are many benefits of a hybrid workplace including:
To access such benefits though, there are significant factors that firms need their IT departments to consider – and get correct - in the pursuit of a successful hybrid workplace.
The best hybrid workplaces boast strong collaboration, communication and engagement between employees no matter where they are logging on from – and that is why organizations should harness the following technology categories to achieve success.
While the COVID-19 pandemic has caused untold physical, emotional and economic pain, it has created unexpected benefits in certain sectors. Forcing digital transformation on companies previously rooted to old ideals is one of them, with the rush to embrace remote work inspiring a renewed focus on the crucial role played by IT departments and the new workplace technology they are ready to unleash. The beauty is the revolution of 2020 was just the beginning and, with the foundation now in place, the sky's the limit for the hybrid workforce of the future.
Just as many organizations are embracing hybrid work technology, a host of innovative companies are investing heavily in the creation and delivery of knowledge management systems to better manage the knowledge within their walls and within the minds of their people. Learn more about an industry forecast to reach a global market of $1.1 trillion by 2026.
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