The Future of Hybrid Working

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Filed under - Industry Insights,

Poly discuss the results of an IDC report into the future of working.

An IDC report finds that even after a return to the office option is available, a significant number of companies around the world plan to maintain workforces that are remote or hybrid by design rather than circumstance. This research underlines the essential role that purpose-built hardware will assume in facilitating this shift to the future of work.

Now that we are nearly a year into the pandemic, organizations have had time to chart plans for how to keep their workforces productive and well-equipped for the ‘Next Normal’ that lies ahead.

To better understand how this past year has transformed the world of work, Poly invited three IDC Research analysts representing distinct geographies to share their insights and findings on which technologies and workplace trends have redefined ways of working in the COVID-era and beyond.

According to IDC, 47% of organizations that had a long-term digital transformation strategy and made investments before the pandemic are showing strong signs of business growth. Reinforcing the notion that a well-equipped workforce that can quickly respond to change is more likely to thrive during periods of adversity.

Furthermore, the important role that collaboration tools and technology will play in the future of work is made evident by the fact that 84% of business leaders plan on accelerating the digitalization of work processes through the use of video conferencing and other tools.

This figure is appropriate since 83% of business leaders plan to provide more opportunities to work remotely than before the pandemic – cementing the acknowledgment that with the right tools, work can be done from home just as well or if not better than in the office.

Working From Home Will Endure: The Growth of the Hybrid Model

As painful as it may have been for some, the mass remote/hybrid working experiment has shown favourable results for hybrid working.

In fact, by 2023, 60% of the G2000 have committed to providing technical parity to a workforce that is hybrid by design rather than by circumstance – enabling people to work together, separately, and in real-time.

IDC defines “technology parity” as: “The requirement that all workers have secure access to the resources required to do their jobs, regardless of their preferred device or location.”

When setting out to build resilient businesses of the future, workplace transformations must include investments in technology parity to support a global hybrid workforce.

Enabling Hybrid Working in North America

Recovery Model: Remote First

  • 38% of North American companies are prioritizing workplace transformation investments to survive and thrive in the “Next Normal”.
  • The majority of industries have normalized remote work for knowledge workers; however, workflows for essential workers are yet to become clear as businesses and schools experiment with limited opening models.
  • The reported impact of hybrid working for business is three-fold: improved productivity, expanded talent pools, and increased resiliency.
  • Although a successful vaccine deployment will drive some people back into the workplace, we will see higher levels of remote workers than before Covid.

Remote and Hybrid Work Models Are Fuelling Investments

During the rest of 2020 and 2021, North American IT and business leaders will be making key technology investments in collaboration, video conferencing, and peripherals to enable technology parity for all members of the workforce.

Why? Because video conferencing and remote learning are no longer perceived as “runners up” to in-person experiences due to improved technology and business-grade audio and video.

While there is some nostalgia for our old ways of working, there is no doubt that the future will be hybrid.

Additionally, technology investments focused on employee health and safety and improved digital collaboration to support hybrid work models have been on the rise.

Enabling an Agile Hybrid Workforce in Europe

The pandemic has impacted the economies of Europe to levels not seen since World War II.

As a result, many companies are investing in digital transformation to become “digitally fit” and agile as hybrid working becomes more popular – and not just as a necessity during the pandemic but as a new working pattern which IDC believes is the model workplace.

Recovery Model: Hybrid by Design

  • 40% of European companies are prioritizing workplace transformation investments to survive and thrive in the “Next Normal”.
  • In the future, we can expect to see work locations becoming more decentralized and organizations will leverage the network of coworking spaces located closer to commuter hubs.
  • The reported impact of hybrid working for business is three-fold: improved business resiliency, reduced carbon footprint, and better employee work-life balance.

Hybrid Workplace Practices Are Mixed

A significant one in four European companies plan to primarily work from home post-vaccine.

To formalize this shift, governments across the region are introducing legislation to allow hybrid working models. Although remote working legislation varies by country, the “Next Normal” is set to accelerate policies across Europe.

Remote and Hybrid Work Models Are Fuelling Investments

This transformation across the workplace and work culture is enabled by technology.

According to IDC surveys, video conferencing equipment reached $430 million in revenue during 2020 in Europe.

The majority of European companies reported investments in video conferencing equipment, collaboration tools, and peripherals to create the best meeting room experiences.

In addition to changes in the workplace, there are also shifts in work culture.

With the flexibility of hybrid working, there’s been a swing from presenteeism (being in the office nine to five) to an outcome-based model which is based on trust, empathy, and inclusivity while being business-focused and measurable.

Enabling an Agile Hybrid Workforce in Asia Pacific

In the Asia Pacific (APAC) markets, the concept of a remote or hybrid work model is meeting some resistance due to cultural norms, with 74% of organizations across the region anticipating a full return to the workplace post-vaccine.

However, international businesses in the area which represent a smaller number of globally recognized brands are operating a hybrid model.

Recovery: Office First

  • 39% of APAC organizations are investing in “crisis response” technology that either reduces operating costs or focuses on business continuity in reaction to the current pandemic.
  • Early remediation against the Covid-19 pandemic and strict regulations have enabled many Asia Pacific countries to return to the office as a primary work location.
  • The reported impact of hybrid working for business is three-fold: improved productivity, expanded talent pools, and resiliency.

Remote and Hybrid Work Models Are Fuelling Investments

Something made evident from the pandemic is that businesses need to be digital-first in order to connect with customers and partners should a crisis occur.

Therefore, while organizations intend to continue working from the office, the value of digitization has been proven.

Hybrid Workplace Practices Are Mixed

To officially sanction new ways of working outside of the office, policy changes, services, and technology investments have been established to support the hybrid working model in most markets (such as using office rotation schedules to minimize overcrowding in the office).

Primary Work Location Shifts

IDC’s research suggests that a successful vaccine deployment will reinforce current trends to re-entry into the workplace.

While there are numbers to show increased support of remote and hybrid working, management practices regionally prefer employees on-site, demonstrating that in the APAC region, support for the hybrid model will require a cultural shift rather than simply a technological one.

Building an Improved Employee Experience and Business Value

The adoption of key collaboration tools spurred by the pandemic has challenged and changed old assumptions about remote work and employee productivity.

Regardless of current desires to go back to how things were, over time, the increase in productivity and talent retention coupled with lower operational expenses will drive further adoption of the hybrid and remote working models.

On a Global Scale

This shift toward hybrid working as the new normal has been made clear through IDC’s research which demonstrates that organizations are investing in employee’s hybrid working needs like never before.

As the economic and social benefits will pave the way for this mode of working, organizational leaders are responding. 39% of organizations reported that they will support the new demands of a flexible/remote work style by increasing endpoint investments.

Furthermore, 40% stated that they will redesign their work models to support a hybrid workforce including physical workspace, tools, and endpoints.

Follow the link to download the full report: Digital Work Transformation: Equipping the Hybrid Workforce Across the World

Author: Guest Author

Published On: 8th Feb 2021 - Last modified: 9th Feb 2021
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