The future of work is hybrid workforce: a combination of office and remote working environments. Research undertaken during COVID-19 already shows that 86 percent of Australian workers would like to continue working remotely at least some of the time. In fact, 22 percent have already been offered a permanent work-from-home option, while 73 percent believe their employer would be open to the possibility.
However as the specifics pan out, it seems that there is little chance that we will return to the scenario where all employees work full-time at the office. So how should your organisation prepare for a hybrid work environment and equip your workers for productivity, no matter their location?
As is often the case since COVID-19 flipped the business world on its head, the answer lies, at least in part, in your digital transformation strategy. Since the pandemic started, organisations have fast-tracked their digital transformation plans to enable their suddenly remote workforce. Now, as we consider a different future for our workplaces, business leaders must build upon these foundations to create a hybrid work environment that will enable staff and drive growth.
But before we outline some of the smart workplace solutions available for forward-thinking business leaders, there are three things you should remember when planning and implementing your digital transformation strategy for a hybrid workplace.
While at Kyocera Document Solutions, we believe that we all have a role to play in caring for the environment, the benefits of a sustainable approach to transformation are not just for the planet. Businesses with a focus on sustainability are able to attract and retain better staff due to their value alignment. Other benefits include a better business reputation, resource recovery, cost savings and improved staff morale. There are plenty of opportunities to improve your environmental footprint when going digital, so put it on the agenda from the beginning.
One of the risks of remote work is that your company culture falls apart as people fail to connect with each other and with the organisation’s goals. When creating your hybrid workplace, consideration must be given to how you will maintain a positive and collaborative office culture when not everyone is in the office. Not only will this result in happier employees, but a good workplace culture will also drive productivity and growth, so is part of the road to success.
Your people are the greatest resource that your company has, so don’t lose sight of them as the shape of your workplace changes. Employee wellbeing needs to be prioritised alongside productivity and job outcomes, as well as the understanding that different workers will have different needs or responses with regards to their work environment. Consulting with staff throughout the process of adopting a hybrid workplace will go a long way to ensuring that your plan succeeds.
With that in mind, here are five smart workplace solutions to include in your digital transformation strategy and enable your hybrid workforce both during COVID-19 and into the future.
1. Secure home office printers
Printers are often overlooked security risk. However, with many workers buying basic consumer printers when setting up their home offices, that risk has increased. Providing your employees with secure home printers will not only be safer for your business, but also more cost-effective in the long-term thanks to significantly lower running costs. Kyocera’s ECOSYS range is perfectly suited for the remote working environment, with easy set-up and flexible maintenance options to suit different needs.
2. Business automation tools
Business automation allows your staff to focus on higher value tasks while the rote administrative and processing tasks are completed by a computer at a fraction of the time and cost. Robotic process automation is one such tool that enables this and can be used to gather and analyse data, communicate between systems, and perform routine and repetitive tasks. We have an entire ebook dedicated to the growth business automation can drive for your business, you can read it here.
3. Document management systems
It goes without saying, that if you have employees working from multiple locations, you’re going to need some sort of system in place to manage the flow of information between them. An Enterprise Content Management (ECM) is one example of a system that will allow you to manage all your data and documents in one place, as well as automate tasks such as classification and processing. For this reason, ECMs are great for improving productivity and enabling collaboration across teams, making them an obvious solution for hybrid work environments. And they’re not just for big businesses either – small businesses can benefit from an ECM.
4. Project management tools
Strong communication should be at the top of every organisational agenda, and when we’re talking hybrid workplaces, this means having the right project management tools to support remote working. Without effective communication between managers, employees and other stakeholders, one in five projects will fail. The five of the top project management tools to consider are to-do list apps, scanning apps, e-signature tools, document sharing tools and video conferencing platforms.
5. Virtual reality (VR)
Augmented reality (AR) and VR becoming commonplace in the workforce may not be as far away as you might think. AR/VR have already been used for business applications such as real estate tours, property design in construction, organising data, fundraising and practising surgeries. At the rate that the technology is developing, the opportunities for AR/VR’s use in hybrid workplaces are really only as limited as your imagination.
If your business, like many others, is being forced into the new hybrid workspace, our Returning to Work ebook will be of interest to you. You’ll learn how to prepare your business for the return to the workplace and the measures to be undertaken to prepare the workspace itself, plus much more. Download it today.