A hybrid workplace is often referred to as the future of work because many businesses find that a combination of in-office and remote work is ideal in the post-pandemic world.
Every organization can develop its own hybrid model of work in which a mix of on-site and remote work is incorporated into employees’ schedules. Some companies might allow staff to work at the office full time, while some might prefer their staff to work remotely for a certain number of days in a week. In Toronto and most parts of Canada, businesses have reopened, but many of them do not mandate a complete return to the office. In fact, it’s unlikely that business leaders will require their teams to do so, much less take work from home options off the table.
But regardless of how your organization implements a hybrid work arrangement, you need to keep providing your team with the right technology tools to ensure that they’re equipped to accomplish their tasks whether they work on site or off site. If you’re developing a hybrid workplace strategy, keep these IT considerations in mind.
Video communication tools
In a hybrid work arrangement, business managers must ensure that every member of their team is on the same page. That means meetings have to be more efficient and inclusive. To that end, organizations may have to upgrade their video conferencing setup. In the office, this involves adding or enhancing video conferencing capabilities for individual workstations, common areas, and meeting rooms.
Adding wireless access points may also be necessary to ensure stable connection. Meanwhile, staff working remotely must use computers and mobile devices that are equipped with well-functioning cameras and speakers.
Outdated telephone systems may also have to be updated or otherwise discarded. Consider switching to Voice over IP (VoIP) phone systems, which improve the quality of video and voice calls, and come with features such as screen sharing and instant messaging to make your video conferences more dynamic and interactive. If the phone systems in your Toronto business could use an upgrade, consider XBASE’s Exponentially better VoIP phones to enhance your workforce’s phone systems, fully managed by VoIP experts.
Productivity tracking tools
Tracking productivity can be challenging when you’re managing a hybrid workforce. Fortunately, there are productivity tracking tools that can give you an overview of individual and team performances. Using these tools, managers can view and analyze the productivity levels of in-office and remote staff and use data findings to create an optimal hybrid setup.
Data gathered from these tools can also determine weak areas in the hybrid setup. For instance, users of Microsoft 365 can leverage the application suite’s analytics capabilities. Individual users can get insights into how they spend their time by using Microsoft Viva Insights (formerly MyAnalytics). This feature reduces the guesswork in determining the amount of time spent on collaboration and core tasks as well as non-core tasks.
Adopting a hybrid work model tends to increase an organization’s exposure to cyberthreats. Based on a study by data protection firm Entrust, security concerns specific to having a hybrid workforce involve home internet security and company data leakage. Employees who are working out of the office simply do not get the same level of protection as when they’re working on site.
Companies that allow remote work should ensure that their employees practice good cyber hygiene habits. These include using well-protected computers and devices, connecting only to secure Wi-Fi networks, and downloading and installing security updates for their laptop and mobile devices as soon as these become available.
With a distributed workforce, you have a lot of endpoints to secure. These are some of the technologies that are indispensable to all kinds of work settings:
- Virtual private network (VPN) – Using unvetted Wi-Fi networks could be detrimental to the security of staff who handle highly sensitive business data. To boost the safety of company data and systems, mandate using a VPN so that staff have secure access to local servers and internal shared folders.
- Multifactor authentication (MFA) – Enabling MFA adds another layer of security to your business systems when someone attempts to access them. MFA protects staff’s logins from credential theft and phishing scams, whether they’re working at the office or at home.
- Password managers – Staff must abide by password security protocols, which should include using a password manager. A password manager enables users to set strong passwords without having to remember all of them. It also encrypts and stores passwords in a vault, thus protecting them from being compromised.
A hybrid work model may not work for all organizations. But with the right technology, you can make the most of this flexible working arrangement. Our team can help you create an effective IT strategy for your hybrid team — send us a message or call us at (416) 340-1020.