As the world gradually tries to return to normalcy and organizations prepare to welcome some or all the workforce back, it’s clear that “business as usual” will now happen from a hybrid workplace.
More than 70% of workers want flexible work options to continue post-pandemic. Another survey reveals that a significant number of people would consider leaving the organization if their employers aren’t flexible about remote work.
Keeping these factors in mind and the need to build organizational resilience, we are now looking at a workplace that is designed to accommodate both remote and on-premises employees. For organizational leaders, this work model offers an opportunity to foster greater productivity and resilience. However, the focus must be on creating an enabling environment that enables connection and engagement.
One of the main barriers to employee engagement in the hybrid workplace is to identify how to make remote workers feel like an integral part of ‘office life’. Other than that, organizations must identify ways to enable communication and collaboration while building a sense of community to make sure employees remain productive and engaged.
Careful and strategic planning must be supplemented with the right technology applications to make sure the hybrid workplace remains truly connected and employees settle into this new work model easily. AV technology will play a pivotal role in reshaping the world of work for its new avatar and to help employees remain engaged in the workplace.
Here are a few ways enterprises can use AV to drive employee engagement in the hybrid workplace.
Technology drives productivity and engagement
Since employees now have to engage with colleagues and clients virtually, it becomes imperative for organizations to remove the barriers that impede productivity. Removing productivity barriers automatically contributes to more engaged employees.
Enterprises have to bear in mind that ‘zoom fatigue’ and video conferencing fatigue are real challenges they have to navigate to have engaged employees. While too many video calls are contributors to this fatigue, other factors leading to this fatigue are sub-optimal or low-quality video calls where the employee’s brains have to expend tremendous energy to process and work out non-verbal clues like facial expressions, body language, voice pitch, and accents, etc.
High-quality, cutting-edge AV technology alleviates this burden by delivering seamless video experiences that facilitate precise, clean, and effective communication and make the video calls engaging and more productive.
Remove proximity barriers
The proximity barrier can be a big impediment to employee engagement
The hybrid workplace demands the use of technology as the ultimate leveller. Modern AV technology can be put to work in creative ways so that remote employees feel like a part of the office environment. Enterprises have to make technology investments to remove proximity bias and create an ecosystem that allows everyone to interact seamlessly.
While pre-Covid enterprises were focused on optimizing office spaces for collaboration, they now need to focus on how to make the most of the office space for their hybrid workers. The workspace has to adapt to create equal experiences for all and eliminate the proximity barrier for remote employees.
Cutting-edge AV solutions that power huddle and meeting rooms can be used to enable internal collaboration with remote team members. The right AV and unified communication solutions facilitate information sharing in a geographically agnostic manner and enable remote employees to communicate and collaborate easily with their colleagues and teams.
Removing the proximity barriers helps remote employees feel like they are a part of the office environment and consequently aids employee engagement in a hybrid workplace.
The traditional meeting room overhaul
The traditional meeting room will also experience an overhaul in the hybrid workplace as enterprises identify ways to reconfigure in-office meeting and conferencing spaces to deliver better experiences to the remote workers.
Enterprises now need to create spaces that allow their employees choice of where to check-in or collaborate with their colleagues. Given the likely persistence of social distancing protocols, meeting rooms, both large and small will have to be optimized so that they can also be used by employees to join private calls.
HD video and audio solutions will play a pivotal role in driving the quality of conversations to help in-premise and remote workers feel like they are in the same location. This maintains equitable collaboration experiences and ensures all employees can remain invested and engaged in the workplace.
Enterprises must look at ways to heighten collaboration opportunities while using powerful tools like Zoom or Microsoft Teams. Advanced AV solutions, for example, can provide unique in-room capabilities and enhance the Teams experience by enabling one-touch join using content cameras to share physical whiteboards. Advanced proximity features can seamlessly transfer a meeting room to an enhanced Microsoft Teams meeting room from the employee’s physical device and drive elevated user experiences.
Professional audio quality, video bars for exceptional optics, automatic camera framing, and high-end noise cancellation technology will also play an important role in driving collaboration. Apart from driving collaboration and productivity, these solutions will assist enterprises with community building and help employees retain that camaraderie that makes magic happen.
Upskilling drives engagement
The new workplace needs new skills – be it technical skills or critical power skills. Employees today also want to work in organizations invested in their professional and personal growth. As such, enterprises now have to identify ways to make their learning and development programs more inclusive by ensuring the participation of all employees irrespective of where they work from.
However, sub-optimal training experiences do not contribute to learning. As such, the hybrid workplace will have to make the right audio-visual technology investments to improve the quality of training programs.
Along with this, enterprises can drive employee engagement by delivering critical company communications or virtual events to video displays and mobile devices of all their employees using AV solutions like video and digital stream signage. Continuous messaging helps the employees feel like a part of the unit and consequently drives engagement. Additionally, enterprises also have to look at a solid support back end for their audio-visual solutions. They need to have the systems in place to proactively identify issues and resolve them before they impact the employees.
It is clear that the complete reinstatement of the pre-pandemic world of face-to-face work models and processes is no longer possible. People-centric enterprises need to begin redesigning the way work happens now so that the enterprise and its employees are ready for productivity and profitability in the new world of work.