The workplace of an employee of the company – how it will look tomorrow. Dmitry ARKHIPOV, Director of Business Development at JPL Telecom in Russia and the CIS, shares his opinion

 

Even before the pandemic, the workplace of an employee of the company was increasingly inclined towards remote interaction. Video conferencing and secure corporate messengers contributed to this. The business implemented those processes that are now called “hybrid work”. After the end of the pandemic in the coming years, most companies are likely to retain physical offices in one form or another. It does not matter whether it’s in the form of regional or international hubs or small rooms for meetings and video conferencing. But in any case, companies will expand the format of hybrid work, and they will have to look for ways to combine relative freedom with corporate culture, even when employees are located in different places of the planet.

 

Homework

One year has forced the whole world to rethink traditional approaches to the organization of the workflow. According to the Microsoft report for 2021, 73% of employees surveyed after the pandemic prefer to keep flexible remote work options, and 66% of companies are considering redesigning physical spaces to create a new hybrid work environment. Ultimately, the benefits of remote work, such as time savings and flexible schedules, are crucial for attracting and retaining high-quality professionals, and employers are aware of this.

The hybrid model balances the advantages of personal presence in the office — more opportunities for social interaction, maintaining corporate culture – with the advantages of better concentration, saving time on commuting from home. Organizations need to adapt. This means not only creating great jobs but also expanding opportunities to work from remote workplaces. The Microsoft index shows that a large number of employees need both flexible remote access capabilities and more time with colleagues.

In the hybrid model, employees have the opportunity to work in different locations, including corporate offices, coworking, and home offices. According to a McKinsey survey, in the post-pandemic future, nine out of ten organizations will combine remote work and office work.

Employees, especially the younger generation, may refuse to work remotely due to the lack of ideal conditions for themselves: a violation of the balance between work and personal life, a tendency to work more hours. At the same time, technological support for remote employees and the preparation of home space for an office format will become a very important issue for every organization. Therefore, there is a growing demand for professional modular headsets for home offices, individual components of which can be changed or given to new employees without completely replacing the devices.

Hybrid organizations will have to invest heavily to solve security-related problems. Home networks are an easier target for cyber threats than office networks. Employees are more likely to share a computer with someone else outside the company. Remote and hybrid work models will require constant updating of cybersecurity programs to protect remote employees and digital assets.  Employers will strive to monitor the effectiveness and loyalty of their employees at a more advanced level, to the point that monitoring will begin to extend to private life. Already, not only special software is used for this, but also special web cameras.

Tools such as GoogleDocs, Slack, and video conferencing solutions have already made the physical presence of employees in the office optional. The means of communication will evolve and develop qualitatively, and the tools of control will inevitably strengthen.

 

Physical office

No less interesting transformations are taking place in the office area.

A Cisco global survey showed that more than half, namely 53% of organizations plan to reduce the area of their physical offices.

No one knows exactly what an employee’s workplace will look like, for example, in 2030, but the hybrid model will undoubtedly determine the trajectory of its development.

The transition to a hybrid model forces companies to rethink the functions and configuration of premises. The more virtual employees become, the more important it is for them to be able to communicate face to face. Instead of desks in hybrid offices, preference will be given to spaces for collaboration. An important place will be played by social discussion spaces equipped for high-quality video conferencing with colleagues working remotely.

When decorating office premises, companies will try to imitate the appearance with a lot of plants and lighting. AR and VR technologies will become standard commonplace in conference rooms, allowing people to visualize ideas or even hold meetings in a completely new environment.

 

Conclusion

Technologies are changing the functions of the office space and transforming the concept of the workplace. As more and more people work remotely, offices will become social centers for meetings and social interaction. Personalization, autonomy and inclusivity, and a focus on security will define the hybrid work model of tomorrow. Robotics, machine learning, and artificial intelligence will undoubtedly play an important role in the offices of the future and will most likely become part of the home office.

Although many of us understand that hybrid work is inevitable, according to a McKinsey study, 68% of organizations do not have a plan or a detailed vision of hybrid work.

 

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