Addressing Meeting Equity in a Hybrid Work World
WorkSpace Connect's goal is to help you prepare for the future of digital workspaces that take advantage of innovations in the use of technology and office space. They recently reached out WWT to interview Joe Berger.
An emerging area of concern in the hybrid workplace is experience parity -- how people who are working remotely and people who are working in the office can have the same level of technical support and the same level of collaboration with their colleagues. The mission of ensuring all employees have the same workplace experience, independent of location, brings with it a host of technical challenges.
Joe Berger, the senior director of digital workspace practice for technology services provider World Wide Technology (WWT), has worked with WWT on remote working, end-user computing, call center solutions, smart cameras, unified communications and collaboration tools. Here, he addresses how organizations grappling with experience parity can identify and eliminate the obstacles their employees face.
Q. What are some of the most persistent obstacles currently impeding experience parity at work?
For remote employees, the user experience can vary. Bandwidth, home set ups, device configurations and equipment can cause end-users to have different experiences.
As employees return to the office, organizations will need to ensure office experiences and tools work for both in-person and remote employees. Meeting platform vendors such as Cisco and Microsoft are developing new features to address this problem. For example, during face-to-face meetings in conference rooms, remote participants can see everyone in the video frame as if they were calling in from their own desk rather than only seeing who is in the room.
Organizations will also need to consider how they'll evolve water cooler chats, corporate happy hours, and team lunches to include remote employees. Event and metaverse platforms are looking to solve this by giving employees a place to meet in a digital setting where everyone can be involved.
Q. What steps can an IT department or company leadership take to ensure its employees, regardless of location, have equal access to business-critical tools delivered through a consistent, seamless experience?
The first step is aligning IT and the lines of business to understand user requirements and common scenarios. Leveraging dynamic persona modeling can help IT gain a sense of end-user needs and challenges and allow them to better enable employees.
Shifting away from a "one-size-fits-all approach" and moving toward personalized workspace options allows employees to choose which device, screen size, peripherals, etc. will work best in their environment.
Creating feedback processes ensures IT stays up to date on employees' evolving requirements and allows them to continuously optimize the experience before issues occur. With more tools shifting to software as a service (SaaS) and cloud, more end-user services now reside outside the four walls of traditional IT. Support models must evolve to offer different levels of service to support.
Q. Automation is clearly going to be part of delivering experience parity at work. What are some of the most productive ways workplaces can deploy automation to establish and sustain experience parity at work?