Return to the Office
3.22.2021

VERSATILITY AND THE NEW NORMAL

The story of how the Covid 19 pandemic has impacted the workplace has been told a thousand times over.

Yes, office work has been radically changed by the pandemic, but nothing is gained by dwelling on the past. As the pandemic subsides and the economy reopens, smart businesses are going to be ready to transition into the future.

If you are ready to build a strategy that will become the “new normal” for your business, we are here to help. Let’s start by highlighting three key questions that will inform your approach to this challenge.

WHO IS COMING BACK?

Many organizations are not having all employees return to the office full time. It seems certain that there will be a shift toward a hybrid model – where some work is done in the office and some is done at home.

Wherever employees happen to be working, it’s essential that they are able to collaborate together seamlessly. As you determine who will work in the office and when, keep an eye on what role technology will play in this system. Your employees will need to have the right tools both at home and in the office to communicate effectively inside and outside of the company. 

It's important to remember that not everyone wants to work from home all the time. Many organizations will be offering employees the flexibility to spend some of their working days at home while some are still spent in the office. Leadership in some organizations may even choose to end work-from-home operations once it is safe to bring everyone back in person. 

WHEN ARE EMPLOYEES RETURNING?

The end of a pandemic is not like flipping on a light switch. Rather, it’s a gradual progression toward a new normalcy. As public health conditions improve and restrictions are lifted, your organization will need to craft a plan to bring people back gradually. It’s unlikely that work will ever look like it did before the pandemic, but it also won’t be permanently restricted to remote settings.

Even if an employee in a given role will eventually return to full-time in-office work, he or she will likely be part-time to start. This is another reason to have flexibility with the communication tools you use in the company. Your technology needs to be versatile enough to serve employee needs no matter where that employee happens to be working for the day.

HOW WILL YOU ACCOMMODATE EVERYONE’S NEEDS?

A unique challenge arises when you start to think about a hybrid workplace model where some team members are at home and some are in the office. How will everyone communicate effectively in such a situation?

For instance, you will likely need to hold meetings where some participants are at home and others are physically present in the building. Do you have the right technology to make sure everyone can play a meaningful role in such a meeting?

It’s easy enough to have everyone connect to this kind of meeting and hear what’s going on, but that’s not enough. Rather, everyone involved needs to be able to share their thoughts and ideas clearly with the group. The right communications technology can make this possible.

ESTABLISHING ACTIONABLE STRATEGIES

So, we have a clearly defined challenge to overcome. With a fluid situation in terms of who is working in your office and when, you need to build a communications strategy that is flexible and yet remains easy to use. Here are four strategy points to get you started.

1: Assess Your Chosen Platform

You may have been using a video conferencing platform prior to the pandemic. If not, it’s likely you made a platform choice when video conferencing became a necessity.

Now that you have a moment to reassess the situation, are you happy with your chosen platform? Does it seem to be meeting all your organization’s needs? If you aren’t sure, request a technology assessment from Vivo. Our expertise in this area will allow us to review your needs and match you up with the right platform.

2: Build on Recent Experience

Everyone on your team has been given a crash-course in video conferencing. After working remotely for more than a year, they have figured out how your chosen platform works, and it now feels as intuitive as any other piece of software they deal with regularly.

For many organizations, the platform in question is Zoom. If you have been using Zoom on a daily basis, your team is comfortable with the application and knows how to use it from home. So, why reinvent the wheel? As more and more of those employees transition back to the office in some capacity, consider sticking with Zoom to eliminate a new learning curve and any unnecessary confusion. 

3: The Right Hardware

At home, your employees have likely been using a laptop or desktop computer to connect to Zoom and participate in virtual meetings. But what happens when they return to the office? A meeting room full of individuals each staring into the camera on their laptop would be inefficient, and a bit silly.

Fortunately, there is a better option. At Vivo, One of our recommended solutions is the all-in-one system called the Poly Studio X50. With this one room solution you can enable an entire room for video conferencing needs. Whether you build-out a specific meeting room for video conferencing, or you use a cart to allow flexibility for where these video calls take place, the right hardware can make all the difference.

4: Deployment and Support

As is the case with the use of any technology, proper deployment and support are essential. To get up and running with your chosen office solution, turn to Instant AV from Vivo. This service offers installation of collaboration hardware for your solution so that your team is up and running as soon as possible.

We can also help with ongoing support. Whether it’s training videos to help your staff get started, or fully managed services to keep every part of your communications system running optimally, Vivo is here to serve you.

Strong organizations operate on a foundation of effective communication. In today’s world, technology can play a vital role in those communications, as long as you use the right tools – and you use them properly. At Vivo, we are proud to partner with Zoom to help companies optimize collaboration in a way that serves everyone’s needs.

We are hosting our “UC Roundtable Series” series which is a collection of interactive meetings featuring leaders within the collaboration industry discuss how we continue to address the challenges facing many organizations at this moment in time. Attendance is limited – so reserve your spot to join one or more of these conversations.

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