The days of workers spending their days entirely in an enclosed office are gone. Hybrid work is here—and it’s here to stay. To make it successful for your employees, hybrid work requires a more thoughtful approach. One where people, business, and technology meet to power an inclusive experience for all – and getting it right requires thinking about work differently.
While many organizations have managed to enable remote work, many still find themselves struggling to adapt and meet the demands that support the health and well-being of the business and their employees. With 64 percent of employees saying their ability to work from anywhere is key to staying in their job,1 organizations must find effective solutions to support their employees – however they choose to work – while meeting business needs at the same time.
Empowering the employee experience with the right technology
As an active advocate of diversity and equality in the workplace, I’m excited about the possibilities that technology can bring and what that means for the future of work. I’m particularly interested in how employees communicate, collaborate, and connect – as these pieces are fundamental to an employee’s experience. And it’s essential that you as an employer get it right when it comes to technology’s role in facilitating these interactions. But the path is not always clear. I know from my organization as well as hearing from customers, the big question is: What are the right technology and solutions to address the multitude of individual needs?
Take charge of your hybrid work strategy
To navigate the complexities of hybrid work and how organizations can overcome them, I had the opportunity to sit down with Paul Giralt, a hybrid work expert in the Technology Enablement and Acceleration Office of the Customer and Partner Experience (CPX).
As a Distinguished Engineer at Cisco, Paul has personally experienced the evolution and impact that hybrid work has on our workforce and our customers. I asked him for his invaluable insights and observations. Not surprisingly, he says that to succeed at hybrid work, organizations must fundamentally redesign the work experience around the workforce—not just the office.
Here are three best practices to consider as you create the best hybrid work experiences for your teams.
1. Empower equality, inclusion, and well-being
Your people must be the center of your hybrid work strategy. “Balancing employee well-being with productivity is incredibly important, because if you don’t do that, it can lead to poor morale,” says Paul. And organizations should do whatever is needed to help ensure that each member of every team has an equal experience at work.
An excellent place to start is to meet your employees where they want to be. Take the time to understand their needs and pain points, then you can create policies and programs to cultivate a hybrid work-oriented culture. At the end of the day, employees want to work where they feel seen, heard, and included. And office design and technology are two key areas that shape these critical intersection points.
2. Take a holistic approach to hybrid work
Often, we find our customers are not looking at hybrid work holistically. Most IT teams look at hybrid work from a siloed perspective when considering networking, security, remote access, collaboration, and cloud for functionality. However, effective hybrid work requires looking at all these aspects together to understand how they support and complement one another. Are they easy for employees and IT teams to execute? Taken together, they can create a seamless experience for employees no matter where they are based or how they sign on to work, with the same compliance and security policies met.
“Hybrid work is about empowering employees through technology to work wherever they need to be,” says Paul. It should be a frictionless experience so that technology enables innovation – instead of thwarting it.
3. Flexibility is critical for change
Because the hybrid workplace is a work in progress, to enable flexibility, a data-driven approach is needed. Facilities and workplace resources teams need to digitize real estate to understand how office spaces can be used before and after shifting to a hybrid world. Workspaces need to be dynamic and inclusive to adjust to different work styles, yet also bridge between local and remote employees.
Paul suggests ensuring IT teams have the right level of visibility and manageability so they can understand how networks, endpoints, and applications shape hybrid work policies. Then, your teams can monitor how technology supports or detracts from inclusive experiences. Once they have these insights, they can evolve policies and reexamine experiences to change course as circumstances warrant.
For more hybrid work insights and best practices, and to watch the webinar “Hybrid work is hard: Creating the best experience for your employees in a hybrid world,”explore CX on Tour, a virtual, on-demand event that takes you behind the scenes with distinguished engineers, subject matter experts, and IT executives from Cisco Customer Experience (CX) andour partner organizations. This virtual customer event gives you access to roundtable videos, webinars, blogs, and more.
Human expertise and technology matter in a hybrid environment
If your team lacks the necessary skills to envision and implement an inclusive, hybrid workplace environment, Cisco can help. We understand how a seamless, integrated multi-architectural approach for networking, security, cloud, and collaboration can ensure your workforce has what it needs to be successful.
With Cisco CX Hybrid Work Services on your side, we can help you build a robust, resilient, and flexible hybrid work infrastructure that helps you achieve your business goals. From greater connectivity to increased collaboration and fortified security, our industry experts work closely with you to combine digital intelligence using AI and machine learning, so you can optimize work experiences no matter where your employees are based.
1 Cisco Global Hybrid Work Study 2022