How to build safe, productive workspaces in the office and at home

This year, the way people work changed. This change expedited future plans and brought new ways of thinking about the workforce of tomorrow. As organizations continue to construct and strategize this new way of working, the hybrid workspace is at the center of planning.

This means that some workers will continue working from home, while others are soon planning to return to their offices, if they’re not already there. As a result, there will be an increased employee reliance on real-time collaboration tools. But what do organizations need to consider while building the hybrid workspace model? There are three main pillars that must be put in place:

1. Support for remote employees

Simply porting the traditional workplace experience, as is, to remote environments isn’t enough. More than 90% of telecommuters want tools that improve their WFH experience.* More specifically, they seek:

  • Dedicated collaboration devices (59% of Cisco respondents) for real-time interactions that provide rich context.
  • Digital note-taking assistants (51%), which streamline the process of recording, sharing, and reviewing notes from a video conferencing
  • Digital whiteboard technology (47%) to either work with blank canvases or annotate existing documents, images, and files.

With these solutions, remote workers can move beyond the common reliance on email and feel more closely connected to one another and to customers, too. It’s especially important to have a platform with high-quality audio, video, and integrated features such as screen-sharing to make WFH-ers feel empowered and connected.

2. A plan for a safe return to the office

In-office work isn’t going away fully, but there are multiple obstacles to safely returning to any shared space. Cisco’s survey respondents have cited particular concerns about:

  • Touching shared office devices (64%).
  • Having rooms regularly cleaned (52%).
  • Ensuring room capacities allow for proper social distancing (41%).

How can collaboration technology play a role in assuaging these concerns? Two promising possibilities are touchless meeting controls and wireless screen-sharing, both of which minimize the amount of physical contact (e.g., pushing buttons or connecting cables), required to collaborate with others.

Similarly, digital signage has become more valuable within office spaces. Eye-catching signs with clear instructions help workers and office visitors find the right locations, while also transmitting other instructions such as requirements about spacing and mask-wearing.

3. Using intelligent workspace technology everywhere

Intelligent workspace technology is the connective tissue between the home and the office. Features such as AI-powered noise suppression and dedicated collaboration devices help unbundle the meeting experience from traditional spaces and hardware.

For example, workers are no longer limited by needing to use a company-issued laptop within a conference room. Instead, they can easily launch their collaboration software on a mobile or dedicated device and get a similar experience in all instances.

Ensuring safer and more productive work environments

The transition of workplaces into more distributed digital spaces is only beginning. A little more than half of our survey respondents expected to be working from home at least eight days a month, leaving a high ceiling for growth in the coming years.

There remains a lot of room for employers to reimagine their workspaces to better accommodate their constantly on-the-go employees. Tools such as Webex can assist in the journey toward hybrid setups, bridging older offices with newer home workspaces. Get started for free today.

*Cisco Global Workforce Survey: The Rise of the Hybrid Workplace, October 2020

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