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The commuting conundrum: 3 ways employers can make hybrid working seamless

Digtal-Cities-working-article.jpg 10/03/2021

It’s likely that, by summer, companies will begin to reopen their office doors and at least partially let their staff back. If their staff want to return to the office, that is. 


Some employers won’t encourage working from home after the pandemic. And that’s a problem. A recent survey found only 8% of staff want to go into an office every day. In that same survey, 68% of potential candidates stated that they want to be in the office 2-4 times a week.


Going into the office a few days a week, and working remotely for the rest, seems to be the most popular option. Benefits of being in the office include boosting staff morale, increasing work-life balance, reducing burnout, and the ability to naturally bounce ideas off each other.


But, how easy will it be for employees to actually move between two? Many have become used to their second monitors and ergonomic chairs at home. Those who commute can’t be expected to carry them into work and back home each day. And, how will meetings work when some are in the office and others want to stay at home? 


There are ways to make flexible work more seamless, and allow staff to enjoy the perks of office life that they have missed. The below technology can significantly help employers to make  their staffs commute and working life in the office more enjoyable.


1 - Better in-office video conferencing

It’s unlikely that most offices will ever again be at full capacity, now that many have become more flexible with their working policies. But when you look at how we have been communicating for the last 12 months, in-person meetings could become at the mercy of virtual chats. 


Will it be easy for a group of 7 to have a successful video conference if four are in the office and three are at home? Those four can’t be expected to huddle around one laptop screen, and it would be pointless to have them all dial in separately. Previously, people would have been asked to come into the office if they have meetings, but recent statistics revealed that the average employee attends 62 meetings per month. Therefore, if we are to truly introduce flexible working, they cannot be expected to go into office for each of these meetings.


Large format high definition displays are the key to allowing presentations and video calls to be displayed on a scale which works for the number of people in a meeting room, with the rest calling in virtually. 


Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) will also have an expanding role in the future of conferencing.. VR holographic headsets can provide lifelike face-to-face interactivity for daily standups, brainstorming sessions or presentations. The likes of Spatial allows you to use 3D holograms of your face to feel more like an actual gathering. 


2 - The equipment dilemma

Many employees had access to multiple displays when they were in the office, which they took home with them when they moved to remote work. The issue with hybrid work is that people can not be expected to move their home set-up each week. It must be as easy as possible for staff to work from where they choose to. 


And if they have no screens in the office, staff will likely choose to work from home more than they would if there was access available. Multiple displays make work easier for a lot of people, whether that’s making notes during a meeting, or keeping an eye on Microsoft Teams while working on a document. 


It is worth investing and considering investing in second screens in your office. We would also suggest extra ergonomic chairs in your office, if your employees took their chairs home with them in March 2020. You don’t want employees to get annoyed when they think of taking their screens with them for their commute. You need to make it as easy as possible for them to have a dual monitor set-up, if that is what helps their productivity. 


You can also consider portable dual and triple screen laptop monitors, if you want to invest in new technology. Invest in your employees, and they will invest back in you with their loyalty. 


3 - 5G will encourage mobility and ease between each office

With flexible working, the move from the home, to a coffee shop, or an office needs to be seamless, not clunky. Distributed, blended work is 5G’s time to shine. It is transforming our ability to work where we want, with its fast connection speeds. 


In the Digital Cities report, it explains how 5G will allow for device connectivity without the need to be connected to a corporate network. When an employee struggles for WiFi in an open location, the ability to tether off a 5G signal will mean that they can deal with big data, file sharing and video conferencing with ease. 


Take a look at how we communicate at work now. There is a need for a super-speedy network with greater coverage that promises that we can access the cloud from anywhere. The tools many employees use are already heavily cloud-based, with user experience on par or exceeding their desktop counterparts. 5G will even be able to support the aforementioned 3D video conferencing without delays or latency to create an immersive experience. As more people move to the cloud, 5G will be the cloud’s perfect companion to facilitate the increase in network traffic, no matter what data-intensive task it is.


Flexible work will gain you the edge - if you adapt well


A hybrid work force means letting employees work from wherever they feel is best. The mix of in-person collaboration and focus time at home enables a dynamic way of working. But, commuting will feel clunky if employers don’t make hybrid work easier and help their staff to work where they feel they can communicate, collaborate and achieve most. 


As Covid-19 restrictions begin to ease, hybrid work can save costs, increase productivity and even help the environment. By looking to install 5G, invest in extra equipment and deepen your video conferencing abilities, staff will likely embrace a part-time return to the office and invest their loyalty further into your business. 


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