Hybrid working 

"Hybrid working is an arrangement in which an individual, team, or organisation work part of their time at the workplace and part remotely."
Hybrid working BLUE Profile

Whilst some employees may want to work from home all the time after the pandemic, most would prefer a balance where they are in the office for some of the week and at home for the remainder.  This has led to the use of a relatively new term: hybrid working.  Many organisations are now considering what ‘hybrid’ means for them, how they might meet this new employee demand, and what this will entail in order for these new ways of working to be effective.

What will hybrid working mean for businesses?

This type of working is an arrangement in which an individual, team, or organisation work part of their time at the workplace and part remotely.  Companies are now planning for a future of distributed workforces and remote team management, which will require higher levels of trust than before.  Employees will be trusted to choose the place where they are most productive, allowing workforces to fluidly consume workspaces.

Benefits

Despite the many complexities and challenges of living and working through the global pandemic, employees have still identified many benefits from working from home, for both them and their organisation.  These benefits include a better work-life balance, greater ability to focus with fewer distractions, more time for family and friends, saved commuting time and costs, IT upskilling and higher levels of motivation.  Other benefits of flexible working include savings on office space, higher levels of employee job satisfaction and reduced absence rates.

Technology

Technology as always, plays a critical role in any business and thanks to the leaps that have been made in the industry, it’s possible to be present in, and contribute to, meetings and work life even when you’re elsewhere.  IT will play a major role in hybrid working as staff will need to be set up with a comfortable home office, computers, printers, reliable broadband, routers, Wi-Fi, built-in speakers/video for zoom or teams meetings, and of course, access to company servers (files/documents).  This will need various access levels for employees with IT security playing another important role in this.

Unified Communications & Collaboration

The term “Unified Communication” or “UC” describes not only how we connect different communication systems for the digital workforce, but collaboration tools too.  That’s why you will often hear the phrase UC&C which simply means “Unified Communications and Collaboration”.  Seamless UC ensures a higher level of interaction throughout a dispersed workforce.  It breaks down the silos between enterprise teams, and ensures that no matter where you work, you can still access the same secure system

Most UC&C packages include voice and video calls as well as collaboration tools like file sharing and calendaring features.  Most UC&C solutions are cloud based and this means that no special infrastructure is needed, and users can move to an OpEx model rather than CapEx.  Adding new users is simple and fast so a solution will scale as your business grows.

RingCentral and BLUE Profile have a long-standing business partnership.  After researching the market and investigating IP telephony solutions from other vendors such as Microsoft, Vontage and Aircall, we concluded that RingCentral had the most robust, feature-rich, and well-priced offering on the market.  Many of our customers have reported improved business performance after implementing a UC&C solution from RingCentral.

Data Security

Hybrid workers are more exposed to risk of data corruption or data loss.  Putting in place a solid remote worker data security plan is vital in today’s environment.  The start point of a good data security plan is the endpoint protection.  Key tools in the task of protecting endpoints are: Content filtering. malware and ransomware protection, endpoint protection and remediation tools, asset tracking and management and of course remote support capability.  If the worst should happen and your organisation suffers from a data breach, the last line of defence is your back up capability.  Getting your data and applications back online quickly and efficiently is the key to reducing the financial and reputational impact of a data breach.  BLUE Profile recommend Bitdefender as it offers preventative measures detection technology, investigation, and response capability.

Finding a solution for the future of work will be unique to each organisation and will depend on striking the right balance between providing a place where your employees can thrive, but also driving forward a business successfully.  A one fit solution just won’t work for all, and we must remain open minded to each individual’s personal situation and also the companies.

For further information on the introduction of hybrid working and the IT infrastructure required to support this please contact the team at BLUE Profile here.

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