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Hybrid working will be the next normal says Poly

By Ken Wong - on 28 Aug 2020, 10:33am

Hybrid working will be the next normal says Poly

Samir Sayed, MD, ASEAN & Korea at Poly briefing on the "next normal".

Before we even had a chance to get used to the “new normal” and Work from Home (WFH), Poly is now telling us that the future of work we can expect is the “next normal” and hybrid working.

Covid-19 has changed the definition of a workplace and how we work. Work is now anywhere workers can be productive and collaborative.

In a report titled “Hybrid Working: Creating the ‘Next Normal’ in Work Practices, Spaces and Culture,” Poly drew on experts in the future of work, workspace design and psychology to see how Coviid-19 would create the next normal where employees enjoyed flexibility and choice, and businesses had motivated, collaborative, and productive teams.

However, this next normal will see changes to where, how and when we work as according to Samir Sayed, MD, ASEAN & Korea at Poly.

Hybrid working will introduce:

  • New working patterns — new working policies that bring employees flexibility on when and where they work;
  • Outcome-based working — taking the focus off the hours and location, to being productive and delivering results;
  • Optimised investment — looking beyond the company office to create collaborative, technology-enabled personal workspaces anywhere.

 

What it means for the home and office

Video conferencing has become part of the new normal.

This means that the home and office will also be affected by hybrid working. The demand for hybrid working spaces is expected to change the way we live, use our homes, interact with our offices, and how we collaborate with colleagues.

But there are also questions as to who should be paying for things as we work from home like Internet access, IT equipment, and support.

Sayed said that during the early days of Covid-19 and the start of WFH, many workers were forced to turn to consumer-grade equipment to stay productive. “However, organisations are realizing that DIY setups are no longer good enough, and that business-grade features and equipment like professional headsets, active noise-cancelling, and HD video conferencing cameras are important, and necessary,” he said.

“Ultimately, we are seeing both IT and individuals play a role in the buying motions to support WFH tools,” Sayed said, “Some companies are providing employees access to discounted equipment, while others are allowing employees to expense WFH costs in full, or partially.”

He added that over the long term, most organisations would adopt a clearly defined WFH procurement policy that could become part of the overall compensation package for new hires, for example.

Other changes will see home offices receiving as much attention as the kitchen with ergonomic designs, greater organisation, and crafted equipment. This will also affect offices and office spaces as organisations invest in coworking spaces in the outskirts of expensive cities to attract talent. Group collaboration and social connections with colleagues and others will lead to a cross-fertilization of ideas, resulting in innovation. “Office towers as we know them will most likely become a thing of the past,” Sayed said, “The city’s amenities serve as extensions of the “not so big” individual apartment, e.g., restaurants become an extension of their kitchen and dining room.”

 

Will we burn-out?

Professional-grade equipment can take different video sources and present a single pane of view for you.

But with work so close to our lives, burnout becomes a real problem, and there’s really no one solution to it.

“We already spend a third of our lives in the workplace; the last thing anyone wants is to turn their home sanctuary into an always-on, always-at-work situation,” Sayed explained.

In this new age of hybrid work, organisations need to create a more collaborative state of mind; one that drives productivity, yet making employees lives outside of work more manageable, and more rewarding.

“Of course, it’s also important to recognize that not everyone is suited to working from home, and that some may be more effective and productive in an office setting. At the same time, employers need to enable consistent experiences across the different workspaces that the employee uses, to maintain optimal productivity,” he said.

The next step involves taking a step back and relooking current work practices and policies:

  • How many of these policies need to be updated to better fit these new norms?
  • How can employers play a more active role in helping their employees create more productive work environments?

Sayed said that besides putting forward a people-first culture, businesses need to reinvent themselves to put themselves in a much better position to ride out the pandemic. With reinvention, employees can be empowered to work from anywhere, whether the home or office, once movement restrictions are lifted.

Pierre-Jean Châlon, Senior Vice President, Asia Pacific at Poly, spoke on the need for businesses to reinvent themselves.

Pierre-Jean Châlon, Senior Vice President, Asia Pacific, Poly said:

As teams become more disconnected physically and connected virtually, technology becomes the key that bridges communication between and across teams to optimize work efficiency and productivity. To stay ahead of the curve, businesses will need to respond, redesign and reinvent their practices and meet their challenges head on, adapting to whatever changes they face.