After months of remote work, most organizations are in the process of exploring options to return to the office. Faced with the challenges of continuous remote work, organizations are thinking about the right return-to-office strategy to earn benefits such as better enabling essential workers, fostering creativity for knowledge workers, or improving culture and engagement. To explore this topic, BlueJeans participated in a live webinar last week with Redmond Magazine – a publication dedicated to showcasing the independent voice of the Microsoft IT community. The webinar, “Return-to-Office with Microsoft Teams and Cloud Video Interop” was moderated by Scott Bekker, Editorial Director of Watch the recap here!

Zach Bosin, VP of Product Marketing and Communications at BlueJeans, presented BlueJeans' perspective on how organizations should be thinking about their eventual return to office in a world that now looks very different than it did at the beginning of the year. As a video conferencing platform with more than ten years of expertise in collaboration and a Microsoft Certified partner, BlueJeans has been at the forefront of enabling customers to adapt to work-from-home during the pandemic. Our position also gives us excellent visibility into how different organizations and industry experts are thinking about returning to the office.

Undoubtedly, there are significant benefits employees are experiencing due to remote work. A recent survey of more than 9000 knowledge workers by one of our partners, Slack, reveals that employees benefit from saving time and money, a better quality of life, more flexibility, and improved work-life balance because of remote work. However, respondents indicated feeling less connected to their team and a lower sense of belongingness as challenges with continuous remote work.

Servicenow also released results from a recent survey of 900 executives and 8100 individual contributors (ICs) to study the impact of remote work. This study reveals that executives and ICs are worried about remote work impacting their teams' ability to deliver products and services in the long run and compete effectively in the current economic climate. Furthermore, this survey shines a light on the belief that employees and executives feel their safety may not take precedence to an organization's desire for business continuity.

Based on findings such as these and from our own experience with customers and partners, we believe the next phase of work in the short term will be a hybrid model, characterized by rotating worker schedules, ceiling caps on office occupancy, and employee choice to decide where to work.

Overall, these studies also reflect the importance of organizations to focus on three primary responsibilities to navigate their return-to-office strategy:

  • Craft a flexible policy that enables employees to choose what works best for them
  • Enable your employees to work-at-home or in-the-office without disruption
  • Ensure your efforts to keep employees safe are paramount and transparent

Workplace 2030, a non-profit group working with medical professionals, workplace designers, technology, services, and policy makers to provide educational resources business leaders need to safely bring employees back to the workplace, provided us with a decision framework for organizations to consider when thinking about employees returning to the office. Read more about it here.

To help our Microsoft-centric audience enable employees to work from home and the office, we took a deep dive into how Microsoft Teams can be enabled in conference rooms to ensure business continuity and employee productivity in the hybrid workplace.

Organizations looking for a successful roll-out of Teams in the workplace to facilitate hybrid work have two options: Microsoft Teams Native Rooms & Microsoft Certified Cloud Video Interop.

To help organizations simplify decision making to choose their best route, we ask organizations the following questions:

  • Do you have existing hardware in your conference rooms?
  • Would you like to be able to enable Teams meetings in those rooms vs. rip & replace?
  • Would you like to have an open hardware environment for other conferencing services?

If the answer to these questions is yes, Cloud Video Interop (CVI) is the right approach to connect conference and meeting rooms to Microsoft Teams. CVI is a Microsoft Certified solution that enables third-party meeting rooms to join Microsoft Teams meetings. Currently, BlueJeans and three other vendors provide a CVI service, with differences in solution architecture, service models, and licensing options. The main benefit of taking the CVI approach is that it allows organizations to optimize existing investment in standards-based room systems that many offices already have, thus saving money. CVI also provides a way for Facilities and IT managers to prioritize other urgent projects such as health and safety improvements instead of undertaking a tedious hardware upgrade project.

To learn more about BlueJeans' approach to return-to-office, watch the webinar.

BlueJeans Gateway, our CVI solution for Microsoft Teams, is a Saas-based offering designed to get your conference rooms up and running with Microsoft Teams within a matter of minutes. Want to know learn more? Contact us today or sign up for a free trial of BlueJeans Gateway!