In a recent webinar with Scott Becker from Redmond Magazine, Randy Chapman, Microsoft MVP for Microsoft Teams, and Zach Bosin, VP of Product Marketing at BlueJeans by Verizon, sat down to talk about what the future of work will look like and some of the best ways to enable collaboration and productivity in a hybrid environment.
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a massive shift in the way employees work. Redmond Magazine recently surveyed IT professionals across various industries and found that prior to the outbreak, 71% of organizations had at least four out of five employees in the office. Currently, that number has flipped to 19%. IT managers and professionals are expecting remote work to echo into the future with a third of organizations surveyed plan on reducing their physical offices while about 50% plan on keeping their office space or increasing it in the upcoming years. As a result, there seems to be no definitive consensus on how to treat office spaces in the coming future.
But what is the hybrid workplace? It starts by flipping the script on where work currently gets done and transforming how we think about how work gets accomplished. Chapman believes the hybrid workplace means being everywhere and working wherever you happen to be. Bosin contextualizes the concept by saying, “[the hybrid workplace] is less about the physical aspect and more about the mindset. It’s about a mindset that embraces flexibility, trust between leaders and employees and understanding the advantages of having people in the office and working remotely.”
Office spaces will be a huge component of remote work moving forward and there are a number of trends that will emerge this summer as companies head back to the office. In the webinar Chapman breaks it down into three major trends.
- The evolution of policies being set. Approaches to hybrid work will vary by company and industry. Large tech companies might mandate 3 days a week in office while other companies will let individual management teams set the policies. Leaders will need to provide guidance towards expectations employees can concentrate on working and not be on alert. With good leadership in place and policies being set, slowly there will be a solidification of those policies.
- The evolution of the office space. Offices will need to be environments that people are attracted too and more welcoming to whatever the next generation looks like. Employers will need to answer a series of questions: how will offices be redesigned and for what purpose? Will we bring employees back in for collaborative activities or go back to assigned stations? How does technology enable those spaces and what cool new ideas and innovations are going to be coming out of the pandemic?
- The evolution of technology in the office space. With new social distancing practices, reduced number of hours/days in the office and hybrid meeting rooms companies will need to leverage technology to equip their office spaces and connect their employees. Chapman says, “AV is going to step up during this really busy time in the meeting spaces business, I think CVI technologies such as BlueJeans [Gateway for Microsoft Teams] could be a big game changer”.
But what is CVI? Chapman and Bosin define CVI as, cloud video interop. Simply, CVI takes legacy conference room equipment, like a standard H.323 or SIP-based endpoint and connects them to a Microsoft Teams meeting. Cloud video interop is a middleware technology that stitches together legacy endpoints and allows them to join those Teams meetings. As Chapman points out in the webinar, this is very critical when you invite your customers with their own legacy equipment into your team's meetings.
Technology is going to play a major role in the transformation of office spaces and the hybrid workplace. As companies begin to set policies and define their future of work strategies it’s critical that they pay attention to the trends starting to take place. Connectivity will be a major hurdle for some, but thankfully technologies like CVI exist to connect existing conference room systems to the Teams platform, making the transition to hybrid smoother and easier.
It’s easy to learn more about CVI and test it for your office space. BlueJeans offers a 30-day free trial where you can connect your room systems and have as many meetings as you'd like for those 30 days or if you are ready to take the next step test drive the BlueJeans Gateway for Microsoft Teams solution.