The future of work brings new challenges for businesses
There’s no doubt that the pandemic has sped up the transformation in the way we work. A period of sustained and widespread home working has led to new expectations about how employees want to work. According to CCS Insight’s survey research, 75% of employees in roles that can be done remotely want to continue to do so at least some of the time moving forward.
We’re also seeing businesses recognizing and embracing remote work: 34% of companies expect more than half their workforce to work from home for three or more days per week after the pandemic, which is more than double the figure before the outbreak of Covid-19. The likes of Aviva, BP, HSBC, KPMG, Nationwide and Vodafone, as well as a multitude of technology companies, have all declared their intention to support a hybrid working model for the long term, with staff dividing their time between the company office and working remotely.
However, embracing this change is only the first step; there are still challenges that companies need to overcome as a priority to support a hybrid working model. At the heart of this is ensuring that employees have the technology they need to work effectively, be that from home, an office or elsewhere on a given day.
The changing environments we find ourselves working in, along with more visibility of what devices our friends and family are using, are triggering new demands from employees, beyond just laptops and phones. There’s also appetite for home office equipment like standing desks and chairs, as well as monitors, webcams and headsets, which make the hours spent on online video meetings and remote collaboration tasks more comfortable, professional and easy to manage.
What was once a minority group of employees that could be supported on an ad hoc basis or simply overlooked by an employer is now the dominant portion of the workforce. Businesses must now take a more strategic and scalable approach to meeting the needs of remote or hybrid workers.
Against this backdrop, our research shows (see chart below) that IT provisioning remains the biggest challenge in enabling a remote or hybrid workforce, and in getting the right hardware and devices to employees for a secure, consistent and productive workplace experience — one that’s also portable to support a hybrid workstyle.
The provisioning process also needs to allow employees to get up and running quickly and with minimal technical expertise, with support provided entirely remotely. This is a big shift for many organizations, and one that many have yet to get to grips with.
Poly Gets Ahead of the Curve with a Comprehensive Hybrid Work Offering
This shift also has implications for providers of these devices and tools, and one company that’s been focussing sharply on this area in recent months is Poly, focussing on video and voice solutions. Formed in 2018 from the merger of Plantronics and Polycom, the company has seen demand for its products jump during the pandemic and has accelerated its investment in products to meet the needs of a hybrid workforce.
In February 2021, Poly launched Poly Studio P Series, a new line of video conferencing products designed to upgrade employees’ experience in online meetings, wherever they’re working, with professional-grade video and audio, ranging from its Poly Studio P5 Webcam to its Poly Studio P21 Personal Meeting Display.
This week, the company has announced a new version of its successful Voyager Focus Bluetooth communications headset. Targeting hybrid workers, and promising to put an end to the growing problem of background noise affecting online meetings at home and in office environments, the platform-agnostic Voyager Focus 2 promises high-end digital hybrid ambient noise cancellation and acoustic fence technology to ensure crisp and clear communication.
Most importantly, however, it’s not just the quality of its hardware that sets Poly apart, but the tools it offers to IT organizations looking to meet the needs of their hybrid workforce. The new wave of Poly products supports remote provisioning and management through Poly Lens, a cloud-based device management application that lets IT teams remotely provision, monitor, update and track inventory of their employees’ voice, video and headset estate.
In addition, Poly recently launched Poly+, a service package that provides support and troubleshooting to end users, bypassing their company’s IT team altogether. It also offers audio and video kits, which provide an all-in-one, out-of-the-box communications set-up that can be shipped directly to employees, further helping to reduce the provisioning and support overhead for already-overstretched IT teams.
A Great Model to Follow
Although most organizations have successfully pivoted to a remote working model over the past 12 months, this next stage of hybrid work brings a whole new perspective on what’s needed. It’s prompting many to recognize the importance of a more strategic approach to IT provisioning and management, embracing cloud-based processes and automation to enable scalability. The employee experience is a growing area of focus for many businesses, even as hybrid working makes IT visibility of that experience increasingly difficult.
The onus is now squarely on suppliers to simplify the procurement and provisioning process for businesses, and Poly’s strategy here, combining devices, support, provisioning and management is a great example of how to approach this, with a complete set of solutions addressing the leading problem areas.
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