We’re nearly three months into 2021, and if you haven’t already reset your IT strategy, it’s time to shift your focus to powering the hybrid digital workplace.
So, what is the hybrid digital workplace? The pandemic shifted every preconception we had about the workplace. In fact, 87.7% of organizations agree that COVID-19 has fundamentally changed best practices for workplace processes, methodologies, locations and designs.1
One of the biggest takeaways from the pandemic—when much of the world worked from home—was technology enables business. Technology will no doubt remain a key component of the overall workplace strategy going forward. But now we have to look at it through a new lens. We must consider some of the workforce will be in the office, some will be working remotely, while others will shift back and forth between the office and remote.
As a result, you need to carefully review your technology stack to make sure you’re enabling a hybrid digital workplace. One where every employee can access the tools, technology and information they need regardless of where they work.
Now that you understand what I mean by hybrid digital workplace, where should you start? There are many steps you’ll need to take between now and enabling the hybrid workforce. But your basic roadmap looks like this:
- Analyze the lessons learned from the past year
- Gain a deep understanding of your organization’s go-forward workplace plan—remote, hybrid or return to the office.
- Determine which technologies will help employees get their jobs done efficiently—no matter where they work.
As the workplace itself continues to evolve, technology needs to do the same. Below are four technologies powering the hybrid digital workplace.
2020 was the year of workplace video. If you weren’t using it before, you are probably using it now. Video is here to stay, and it will impact every industry and every aspect of life. But as video fatigue sets in, you’ll need to find new ways of engaging audiences. Companies embracing a hybrid digital workplace are already using 360-degree video and augmented reality, but innovations like 3D teleconferencing and 3D hologram video could completely change the game. Although the latter are still in development, more immersive and life-like are a must if you want to keep your audiences engaged and coming back for more.
Due to social distancing, unified communications and collaboration technologies completely replaced in-person meetings. Use of tools like chat, video conferencing and enterprise streaming are at an all-time high. In fact, Microsoft Teams reached an astounding 115 million daily active users in October 2020.
Ongoing investments—and innovations—in hybrid digital workplace technologies are essential to supporting work-from-anywhere workers. Huddle rooms can be transformed into smart meeting spaces that use facial to monitor capacity and make temperature and lighting adjustments based on user preferences. You’ll have the ability to control everything with voice commands or your mobile device – no need to touch a thing. Tools like digital whiteboards, design thinking software and project management applications will also gain in popularity as people learn how to better collaborate from a distance.
AI at Work
Most of us are already using artificial intelligence (AI) on a daily basis, so it’s not hard to image how it can be used in the hybrid digital workplace. Beyond smart conference rooms mentioned above, AI can drastically increase company-wide productivity. Through machine learning and automation, AI improves operational efficiency by monitoring workflows and automating mundane processes that don’t require a human touch.
The combination of AI with big data has huge potential. For example, the opportunities in healthcare are abundant. We saw first-hand the need for better data and analysis, and through AI, it’s possible to identify patterns in diseases and treatments, which ultimately lead to more accurate diagnoses, predictions and better health outcomes.
VR/AR for Learning & Development
Although you might associate virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) with gaming, chances are you’ll be using it in the hybrid digital workplace sooner than later.
Many companies are already experimenting with VR in their learning and development programs to eliminate travel, saving time and money. But now that in-person and hands-on trainings are off limits – and frankly a health risk – it’ll become necessary to make employee education more interactive. For example, using VR so new hires can “sit” together in a virtual classroom or using AR for hands-on training for maintenance and repair professionals.
Beyond the Technology
Driven by demand, we’ll see many innovations and massive growth in the digital workplace technology market. But a word to the wise. Before you dive into the deep end and invest in the latest workplace technology, stop and take a breath. Really evaluate the impact it may – or may not – have on employee experience, your business objectives, and your IT infrastructure.
For example, the increased use of streaming video can put a strain on the corporate network. That’s because video uses a lot of bandwidth to the detriment of network performance and business-critical operations.
A simple tool like an enterprise content delivery network (eCDN) can solve network congestion while ensuring an optimum viewer experience. Ramp’s sole focus is video distribution. Regardless, of your network, use cases or streaming platforms, our eCDN solves network congestion created by live webcasts and video on demand.
Learn more about ramp’s approach to enterprise video delivery.