While many have adopted a hybrid working model, companies will need to make sure all employees have the same working experience whether working remotely or in the office.
Utilising the right tools to enable employees to successfully and productively work from anywhere is fundamental with a hybrid working environment.
Companies will need to re-evaluate their current technology stack and understand which solutions benefit their employees, regardless of their location.
We’ve listed a few essential tech tips below for the return to the office, this includes continuing to make meetings available for both office and home staff, ensuring webcams and mics are of standard and good conferencing systems in the meeting rooms.
1. Flexible Workspace
Make the most out of your office layouts by maximising available space. With fewer people in the office at any given moment, it becomes easier to create common areas where teams can spontaneously come together and collaborate.
Open-plan offices are a fundamental part of flexible workspaces, since they facilitate free-flowing collaboration between departments, but this has the unfortunate side effect of increasing ambient noise. By creating designated quiet areas in the office, you can provide staff with somewhere they can take video calls or focus on tasks with no interruption. These come in many shapes and sizes, from open spaces in some quiet corner of the building to private, sound-insulated phone booths.
Technology plays a huge role in flexible office design; be sure that there are easy to reach outlets for charging devices next to most seats and a reliable mesh network for wireless data access anywhere in the office. Standardise the AV setup for presentations across different rooms to make it as frictionless as possible to host a meeting in any part of the office.
2. Meeting Links
Virtual meetings have become an essential component of the modern business world and improve the collaboration of hybrid teams. You’ll want to make sure that meeting links are available for both in-office and remote staff.
3. AV Setup For Meetings
While your staff are returning back to the office, you will still need to facilitate meetings between remote workers and teams that are still in the office. We briefly mentioned setting up your meeting rooms with good conference systems.
When more employees are conferencing in, seemingly minor annoyances such as tinkering with wires and cables and dealing with bad audio or disconnects can have major effects on productivity. Your AV system must be reliable, and your IT department must ensure each meeting room is outfitted with the most efficient communication tools available.
4. Test Webcams & Microphones
Poor audio quality is one of the most frustrating aspects during conference calls. Being unable to hear or be heard clearly can result in errors later on down the line. We don’t recommend having your entire conferencing system on a single laptop.
Most laptops have low-quality microphones, which will leave your voice muffled, crackly or distorted. In some cases, your voice may echo or reverberate. Using a system with a tested, high-quality microphone and speaker system is important, especially for meetings with more than two people involved.
Additionally, with the return to the office, having a good webcam is essential for quality communication. Ensure the built-in camera on laptops is up to standard, you might need to consider some external webcam options. Video meetings drive better engagement and foster stronger relationships with clients and between employees.
5. Full-View Video Capabilities
Let’s say a few of your remote employees are conferencing in for a meeting with an in-office team. You want those who are conferencing in to feel as engaged and present as possible. To accomplish this, you should consider a solution that includes a 360 conference camera — this allows a full view of the meeting room. There are even smart cameras that allow for a 360-degree view and highlight the person who is actually speaking. This results in a very organic-feeling discussion where the barriers usually felt in teleconferencing situations disappear.
Having versatile headsets is another important factor to consider when returning to the office. After time away, we may be forgetting just how busy and loud an office space can be, so finding a headset that cancels out background noise is the perfect solution.
Noise-cancelling headphones are clever devices that have built-in microphones that listen to noises in the surrounding environment and feature circuitry that generates a counter-signal. This signal actively cancels out the noise, leaving a blissful silence allowing your staff to work effectively.
7. Unified Communication solutions
Collaboration and communication solutions will be exceptionally important when returning to the office. Communication is at the core of every team – whether working in the office or remotely. However, enabling remote workers to communicate effectively is more than simply equipping them with a video conferencing account.
A complete Unified Communications (UC) solution will allow your employees to collaborate and communicate, virtually from anywhere. This solution is something that strategically connects your business communications channels– from phone, to email, to videoconferencing and instant messaging – and consolidates them into one single application or service.
There are many benefits for managers supporting a remote or hybrid team:
Communications costs are consolidated into one single, easy-to-manage payment
Simpler onboarding and training of new staff
Reduced connectivity issues.