The hybrid workplace has become a daily news headline and a near-constant topic of conversation across organizations small and large. As a result, IT and facility managers feel an urgent need to adapt – but they’re searching for new strategies to level-up their workplace game plan.
To support them, our recent Master Class tackled 3 Hurdles Threatening Your Post Pandemic Technology Strategy. Along with industry experts, our audiovisual integration team shared tips for successfully navigating how:
- Employees have a new relationship with the office
- Workplace productivity demands new meeting room technology capabilities
- Winning the long game requires speed and agility
The goal is to help you move from a return-to-work survival plan to a long-term strategy that helps you win.
Hurdle #1: Employees have a new relationship with the office
For all our modern advances, the American workplace still reflects a decades-old model and design. But today, when people can work from anywhere, what’s their relationship to a physical location? And how is that changing?
Our Chief Technology Officer, Brad Sousa, believes that while a hybrid model will be how work gets done, the office will become the place where companies build a sense of community. And the workplace itself will offer ways to transform the tasks people perform into something meaningful and purposeful in their lives.
To make this successful, companies will need to connect people with technology solutions that fit with how we work now. They’ll also need to create an ecosystem of technology and places that allow us to work wherever and however we want while still being simple and reliable.
Our experts weigh in
Kay Sargent, the Senior Principal and Director of Workplace at HOK, believes the reimagining of work as an ecosystem of spaces has been happening organically throughout the past two decades. People worked from home, the office and a series of outposts like coffee shops, co-working spaces, airports, and more.
What’s different today is that the pandemic helped us cross the final barrier of whether remote work was socially acceptable.
“When we can acknowledge that we’re no longer working in just one space is when we can dive into the purpose each space serves,” says Kay. “This helps us design our spaces very intentionally – to drive the kind of activity and behaviors we want and to encourage people to use different spaces based on their needs.”
Hurdle #2: Workplace productivity demands new meeting room technology capabilities
We’ve heard from many clients who discovered during the pandemic that some technology mattered more than others. This level of clarity is a good thing.
“The most important technology you need right now is the one that solves business problems, not just pandemic problems,” says Brad. “You don’t want to create a workplace that, ten years from now, looks like you built it during a pandemic.”
In addition, the right technology strategy – the one that helps you win – needs to focus on outcomes and human impact. It’s all about the people who use it and how they put it to work for your business.
Our experts weigh in
Unified collaboration tools, in particular, have proven to be an effective and critical tool for businesses.
Monique Rezaei, Director of Channels at Microsoft, explains it this way: “We jumped forward 20 years of digital transformation in the last 12 to 18 months. In March of 2020, we had 32 million active Teams users. In a matter of weeks, that number jumped to more than 75 million. Today, we have more than 150 million active daily users on Teams. This transformation provides a true indication of the future of work.”
We now see employees who want more flexibility and remote options but at the same time want more collaboration. Therein lies the hybrid work paradox. How do we give employees an equitable and inclusive experience regardless of location?
For starters, it’s time to retire the visual “bowling alley” camera experience. Giving participants a high-quality video experience has gone from nice-to-have to mission-critical.
Hurdle #3: Winning the long game requires speed and agility
In the past, CIOs were focused on the larger mission they serve rather than specific technology platforms. But today, that’s not the case.
The reason? The post-pandemic return to office is such an important issue it’s created an urgency many IT leaders have never felt before. They know what they were using pre-pandemic won’t serve them post-pandemic. And they’re watching sand slip through the hourglass as they try to figure out their next move.
Our experts weigh in
Subscriptions offer IT leaders the flexibility to upgrade certain assets quickly without a huge capital investment. Want a new feature? Need to add a new location to your ecosystem? Simply download it.
“Often, we’re afraid to make decisions because, in the past, we had to live with those decisions for years,” says Brad. “But, that’s not the world anymore.”
As a systems integrator, AVI created an innovative subscription approach for traditional conference room spaces to address the need for speed and agility. And many other industries are doing the same.
“Everything’s becoming subscription-based – from how we consume entertainment to services like Rent the Runway. The modern-age CIO wants and needs the kind of flexibility a subscription offers,” says Monique.
Kay explains that many clients are hesitant to invest in technology because they don’t understand it, or they’re worried it will become obsolete. That’s why subscription models work well. “I always tell clients that when they own something, it becomes their problem. Given that, why would anyone want to own anything?”
Hybrid work is the most significant workplace shift in our generation and it’s transforming faster than we can comprehend,” says Monique. “Right now, we have the unique opportunity to define what the post-pandemic office space looks like and the ability to create something that can endure well beyond it.”
“Everyone should muster the courage to fix what’s not working. Address the issue right now!” adds Kay. “Our ability to create great spaces is the legacy we’re leaving for the next generation and beyond.”
An unexpected discovery
Keith Yandell, our AV Practice Manager, believes IT leaders should recognize the new expectations employees have of the office and meet them where they are. Specifically, employees have come to expect the kind of enhanced collaboration experiences that many existing office spaces can’t provide.
This means minimal facilities work (e.g., construction, retrofitting walls, or adding cable pathways to support new technology) and minimally invasive implementations.
The challenge is that this work requires additional resources and time that organizations simply don’t have, especially when considering scale.
Our answer for this is AVI Velocity – a new, rapidly deployable collaboration solution for small, medium and large meeting spaces. It’s simple to understand and execute and is available as a true subscription.
And the best part? The modular design allows us to deliver AV that feels like really good IT. All we need is power and data.