The workplace has seen its fair share of debate over how hybrid work should be managed. When employees should be in the office. When they shouldn't. If they should at all. The bottom-line is whatever hybrid-work approach organizations choose, there will naturally be plenty of technology needed to support their modern digital workplaces. Just what kind of tech?
Top experts in the field were interviewed by Reworked on emerging software needs for the hybrid workplace. Find Joe Berger's insights included.
A Future Driven by Employee Experience Platforms (EXP)?
Organizations must prepare for and invest in the foundation for a full shift to modern employee experience platforms (EXP), Dion Hinchcliffe, VP and principal analyst of The New C-Suite, Future of Work and IoT for Constellation Research, wrote in his March 2021 report, "Employee Experience: Moving to a Decisive New Model for the Future of Work." It will include an integrated suite of digital employee experience management capabilities "that is now clear as the ultimate end state for most organizations," Hinchcliffe added.
Employee experience platforms are designed to listen to employees by gathering insights via surveys, text analytics, sentiment analysis and workplace application monitoring. They can provide integrations with existing workplace applications like collaboration tools and provide recommendations for managers and organizations how to better connect to employees and keep them engaged.
The hybrid workplace is a fraught, but vitally important, new work model that organizations face post-pandemic, Hinchcliffe said in an interview with Reworked. However, he added, this model will also represent the largest-ever group of divided workers: Those heading back to the office (about 60%), and those remaining to work home (about 40%).
"It will be vital to connect these two groups better across the location divide to collaborate efficiently, foster a common culture, onboard workers effectively in each location and keep them effective and productive as work is conducted across the gap," said Hinchcliffe. "In short, hybrid work is going to be a top challenge and opportunity of 2021 and 2022 when it comes to employee experience."
Video Is a Must-Have
The work-from-home experience put workers on an even level, and in 2020, those who had always worked remotely no longer felt like second-class participants in meetings, according to Joe Berger, senior director of digital workspace for World Wide Technology. It leveled out meeting participation and positively impacted culture, he added.
"Moving forward, we know that nearly every meeting is going to have participants who are joining by video," Berger said. "To make hybrid work really work for all, this means we're going to see more video endpoints in more places added into offices. With higher levels of video traffic at the corporate campus, some organizations will need to re-evaluate their core network infrastructure and possibly add more wireless access points as well."