Creating an IT strategy aligning with company culture key to unlock the hybrid work era

The hybrid workforce enables true flexibility with a focus on collaboration.  

Creating an IT strategy aligning with company culture key to unlock the hybrid work era
The hybrid workforce enables true flexibility with a focus on collaboration. (Photo credit: Reuters)

By Vivekanand Manjeri

Companies faced an extraordinary number of challenges over the two years. The pandemic and lockdowns sent digitization plans into hyperdrive as organizations scrambled to confront a remote-only reality. As a considerable amount of the workforce built lives around being able to work from home, back came the return to the office or adopting a hybrid structure.

Observing the offices re-open, and some employees choosing to stay remote, business leaders are confronting a few of the major questions: What is better? In-person, remote, or hybrid? how to plan a return-to-site approach?

The hybrid workforce enables true flexibility with a focus on collaboration.  For instance, in-person office meetings with the team but other work executed remotely. For it to work efficiently, companies need to have a sound workplace strategy where IT infrastructure and company culture function hand in hand.  

Setting a foundation of trust

Team members and leaders must understand how to work flexibly – where work is an outcome, not a place or time. To blossom, one needs true, implicit trust between all team members, which is core to the company’s culture and values. Once engrained, organizations can start thinking about the right technology setup and collaboration tools.

There is a big difference between working remotely and working flexibly. Flexibility means one can manage the priorities in a way that fits into their life and work.

Activating the IT engines behind the scenes

At present, technology is the backbone of companies. From the tools for collaboration to the devices we use to get our jobs done – tech is enabling the hybrid workplace.  Employees need to be empowered to collaborate from anywhere. This is where the IT infrastructure plays a pivotal role: PCs, security, and a fast and reliable network/VPN must work together to ensure a seamless experience. But also think about the devices – ensuring everyone working from home has the same experience as those in the office. The need for high-resolution cameras, bigger monitors, and on-site network support videoconferencing in multiple meeting rooms. These remain critical when the organizations are building a return-to-site plan.

We’ve had a front-row seat to digital transformation and have witnessed the changes throughout the two years. Video conferencing and collaboration software are good examples. Earlier, for many companies, employees were on-site and some remote or in another location. A scheduled meeting used to be on-site, and there was a conference line for the remote employees. Oftentimes, it was easy that the ones on the conference line were out of sight unless they spoke up.

Today, one might schedule the meeting in person, but remote employees can join via video call enabling them to be part of the meeting, jump into the chat window or even unmute themselves to join the conversation. The key is having the right technology to make this happen seamlessly.

How to prepare for the future

Every organization is facing new ways of working and to be successful, organizations must start by listening to their people. Team members will disclose the flexibility supports their productivity, collaboration, and wellbeing. So, as hybrid slowly becomes the norm, continue to offer a working model that prioritizes outcomes – not where or how the work gets done. Establish the infrastructure and technology orchestration happening in the background.

Looking for the right set of tools and offering choice should be the guiding principles. This mindset allows the creation of an environment where the majority of team members locally or globally can remain remote or in hybrid work settings. As the industry prepares its next steps, employees must be empowered with a choice. Affirm your organization’s technology and workplace culture are seamless. It’s the mindset and way of working that will pay off as this hybrid future evolves. Flexibility is the key!

(The author is Brand Director, Client Solutions Group, Dell Technologies, India. Views expressed are personal.)

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