The mainstream media is full of phrases like “the new normal,” or “the new reality post-COVID.” But for businesses and organizations, what does that mean practically in terms of equipping the workplace with the technology that’s going to be needed to enable the mix of on-premise and remote work that’s adaptable and scalable in the uncertain future?
Even if your organization implements a 100 percent back-to-the-office policy, your partners, suppliers, customers, and customers-to-be may not, necessarily, be of the same opinion. Plus, you may be missing out on some of the latest and greatest capabilities that next-generation collaboration systems can bring, even to the workspace that needs all its employees in-house.
Refresh and regenerate, but stay safe
Many companies are taking the opportunity of the next few months to breathe some new life into their working environments (there’s more than a little inspiration here). Whether you want to refresh a single meeting room or establish 21st-century collaboration hubs for your international offices, now is the time to think about how your organization wants to work, both internally, but also with the outside world.
But, of course, getting the best value from any solution involves a great deal more than throwing a large-screen monitor on the wall and repainting the boardroom. With cybersecurity issues pushed firmly to the fore as soon as workforces became distributed more-or-less overnight, maintaining a firm security posture in collaborative and remote working scenarios is critically essential. Now remote working and collaborative technologies are installed in the heart of the organization, making sure that security is “baked in” has to be high up in the list of concerns.
The office and outwards
When a new employee starts with your company, or a fresh team gets formed to undertake a special project, having a socially-responsive hub, or center of collaboration, is a crucial ingredient. For new staff, the making of interpersonal ties and networking are part-and-parcel of progressing a career path. But as teams are spread out, over different offices, or scattered across remote home (kitchen) offices and the workplace premises, making those connections is difficult.
A unified collaborative and communication hub comes into its own in these scenarios, allowing employees to meet over video, message and call, share files, and whiteboard, for a collaborative experience that rivals in-person interactions. Your employees should, ideally, be able to reach anyone, at any time, regardless where they happen to be.
Nothing wastes time like a room full of people having to wait while the meeting chairperson hops from application to application, changing focus as file-shares, digital whiteboarding software, and video comms get shuffled, just to get the job at hand done. That’s why companies are best advised to look for a single vendor capable of providing all such methods of working in one package or suite of applications.
The open nature of the best collaborative platforms (we trust Webex Rooms from Cisco as the de facto standard architecture) also needs to apply to extensibility. That means your chosen platform has not only to be able to scale as the company grows, adding facilities and extra capabilities, but also remain open to new breakthroughs and use-cases.
For instance, is there a potential for facial recognition capability? Can it count the number of people in a room, prompting users when there are too many for the company’s social distancing rules? Can your devices gather data and analytics to help determine how best to optimize real estate? With AI and machine learning, conferencing devices can take notes and record action items, transcribe and even live-translate what’s being said with on-screen subtitles. The possibilities are endless, and the technology is already here in the form of Webex Rooms. Companies can, and should, invest in technology that’s ready for AI and machine learning, can work in a cloud-first manner, and be capable of providing significant long-term advantages.
As companies transition back to the workplace — to varying degrees and at different speeds — new technologies are opening up the potential for significant change. With the right technology in place, collaboration and remote working software systems have the capability not just to compensate for “the new normal,” but to make whatever’s around the corner an opportunity for positive change and advancement.
Every business has to change over time, but sometimes change is pushed upon us. That’s certainly been the case in recent months, and every organization in the world has had to adapt. In that, your business has changed, too.
But, it has to be said that few are taking the golden opportunity not just to compensate but to get ahead. By combining technological agility with a mindset that embraces change, there is a significant opportunity in whatever mix of remote work and collaboration your business settles on. To get inspired, try this site for ideas, or to learn more about Cisco Webex Rooms, visit this link.