According to Gartner, more than 70 per cent of HR professionals said they were more concerned about employee collaboration in 2021 than they were prior to the pandemic — a stat that’s not surprising, given the speed of change and massive shift to new ways of working that has occurred over the past few years.
Yet there is good news about the way organizations evolved in lockstep with this change.
In fact, a 2022 Futurum Research and Microsoft global study reveals that 80 per cent of employees feel like they collaborate as well now as they did previously.
Success takes people and technology
People have adapted to new ways of working and in many ways, we’re more connected than ever. Supply chains are global, and employees and contractors love the freedom of not being chained to their desks — with a smartphone or a laptop, they can work from anywhere. However, it’s crucial for organizations to have the right technology and infrastructure in place to keep the collaboration flowing.
Collaboration works best when it’s standardized throughout an organization. But often, it develops — or doesn’t — according to the whims of individual employees.
Many of today’s employees love to collaborate through social media and cloud‐based communications platforms, seeing them as a seamless and efficient way to share information. However, these tools can pose security issues when used in an unsanctioned fashion, or they can prove ineffective if not shared by everyone.
Furthermore, tenured workers who have been immersed in a more traditional office culture for years may experience a greater learning curve with digital collaboration tools.
4 keys to enabling your hybrid workplace
The challenge for organizations is to help their borderless workforce be productive and effective — while keeping their networks secure. Here are four important areas to focus on now.
Safety – From health access screening technologies to apps for self-reporting, virtual reception desks and workspace reservations, digital technology “beyond the badge” has become increasingly important. It’s helpful in not only safeguarding employees’ health and wellbeing but also providing support for organizations to report to regulatory and government entities when required.
Security – With home networks now being one of the most critical parts of the enterprise network and more applications swiftly entering the cloud, the importance of user-centric security cannot be overestimated. From identity and access services to device management, secure cloud printing and more — organizations need tools and infrastructure in place to support borderless workforces with the same redundancy as brick-and-mortar office spaces.
Collaboration – While collaboration tools are key, it seems like the options are endless. Some factors to consider are how your collaboration tools integrate with other tools such as whiteboard technology, project management software and other communication tools; the degree to which those tools mimic in-person meetings, intuitiveness and accessibility considerations; and data output capabilities that can help you optimize your organization’s information and tools over the short and long term.
Productivity – With myriad tools available to support productivity, the mechanics of the hybrid workforce have illuminated a greater need for digital mail tools, enterprise project management software that can cut down on endless meetings and email chains, and workflow tools that can automate key HR and payroll functions while ensuring document security and chain of custody.
In today’s new world of work, having the right workplace technology can make a difference in creating a positive experience in the ways employees communicate, collaborate, connect and stay productive. Find out how Ricoh can support you with scalable digital workplace solutions to help you redefine work and effectively support your hybrid workforce today – and in the future.
1Gartner, 2021 Hybrid Work Employee Survey.
2Teevan, J., Baym, N., Butler, J., Hecht, B., Jaffe, S., Nowak, K., Sellen, A., and Yang, L. (Eds.). Microsoft New Future of Work Report 2022. Microsoft Research Tech Report MSR-TR-2022-3 (https://aka.ms/nfw2022), 2022.
3Kerravala, Zeus, “How Companies Can Use Collaboration Tools to Facilitate Hybrid Work,” Forbes, July 2021.
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