The cover story closely examines the scopes and challenges of hybrid work, the new model incorporated into work environments, worldwide.
Hybrid work has become a new norm worldwide. The COVID-19 pandemic hit has structurally changed work conditions in most enterprises invariable on their size and strength. Working remotely wasn’t new to the tech industries. However, keeping the lowest and adequate strength at the office and letting the rest of the workforce contribute from the feasible locations could be the newest idea in the business.
The lessons learned during the pandemic are important for companies for any devastating situations of this kind. Therefore, steps are taken to configure and facilitate work and keep that unaffected in similar situations.
Workplace Shifting and Hybrid Paradox
Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft rightly said, “The ongoing workplace shifting, hybrid paradox, and the great shuffle can be compared to nothing that happened in the last hundred years.”
The lockdowns imposed all over the world made workers shift from offices to homes overnight. The majority of businesses and enterprises were not prepared to handle the paradox that had been created. The workforces of these companies were uncertain about how, when, and why they work. The fascinating thing is these concerns have been addressed with technology and solutions within the past 18 months. Not only did they learn to conduct work or enforce business continuity but also reskilled the workforce and found ways to fix issues remotely.
Secure Work Environment
The concept of hybrid work hasn’t been brewed after the pandemic hit although the pace of work towards the model has been accelerated due to it. Tech companies in the US and elsewhere in the world suggested the model of work, in which employees can collaborate and contribute to respective projects irrespective of their work location.
Mr. Amanulla Khan, Managing Director of Linksys – META says, “the work culture started to change well before the pandemic. Solutions that accommodate office and remote work have been in development for a while now. However, business continuity plans of the companies after COVID-19 hit accelerated the need for remote working solutions, increased discussions on cyber security, and significantly blurred the line between consumer and enterprise, across the globe.”
When employees work from remote locations and access office networks from numerous devices, information security becomes a major concern. While traditionally rigid verticals, incorporating financial, healthcare, and educational enterprises, also have subscribed to remote/hybrid work options, the cybersecurity and information security solution providers also find new landscapes of business.
Coordination and Collaboration
Coordination of the workforce is highly important when it comes to working from remote locations. Similarly, customers also feel connected with service providers or product suppliers. Integration of efficient hardware and software is required to facilitate seamless communication between all stakeholders.
Microsoft, Cisco, Google, Zoom, and TeamViewer have been showing strength and dominance on the software side. Whereas, Jabra, Logitech, Epson, Poly, and numerous others including niche players influence the market with their hardware solutions.
Apart from the regular call, meet, and message features, the software applications host digital whiteboard, real-time collaboration, co-create, and content share within them. Similarly, hardware manufacturers trying to create intelligent videoconferencing enabling cameras with AI and machine language.
“Unlike static webcams, Jabra PanaCast cameras stitch visual inputs from at least three cameras, covering 180 degrees, and bring them to a single frame intelligently. They can handle pinpoint and shift focus to a speaker, capture whiteboards, screen-in-screen feature, count the number of members in a conference room, and calculate the time they spend on a meeting. All these actions seamlessly happen on a single screen,” said Abraham Mammen, Director – VC, Eastern Europe, Russia, CIS, Middle East & Africa, Jabra quoting the devices released by the company.
Desktop and Cloud Infrastructure
Hybrid work collaboration can be implemented successfully only if the supporting environment shows competency. Edge service platforms, virtual desktop infrastructure, cloud-native solutions, and data management tools play a vital role in this segment.
Large enterprises signaled that until 2025, they want to concentrate more on digital infrastructure than physical at offices. It appears the phenomenon persuades small and medium enterprises also to choose similar actions within their organizational range. Online huddle rooms, displays, and video walls are extremely becoming popular among companies that embrace the new-age technologies.
Solutions providers have diverse approaches on this matter. In the SME sector, Zoho helps companies to digitalize entirely with their 50+ pre-developed solutions after reviewing their business constraints. At the same time, VMWare, Infor, and some other companies offer end-to-end ERP solutions with single or multi-cloud support. SAP, Microsoft, Amazon, and Google are competing in the top-line market. Resellers and product or (and) solution distributors offer both suggested and tailored solutions to businesses.
The unprecedented pandemic has impacted every sector. Initially, every business faced operating troubles. Some industries were competent to reorganize and ensure business continuity in the best possible way. However, customer satisfaction, reassuring of data security, and keeping up with profitability had dealt with their own challenges. The latest technologies and solutions have combinedly covered most challenges and inculcated top practices for the evolution of the new age in the tech and professional world.