Building the workplace of the future

How to facilitate hybrid working while protecting your business

The workplace of the future makes operations efficient by facilitating hybrid working while also ensuring business is always protected. A delicate tightrope to tread as the world adjusts to post-pandemic normality, now is the time to consider whether you’re delivering on both requirements.

Embrace digital transformation

Although not uncommon pre-COVID-19 pandemic, hybrid working was not the status quo. Businesses were slowly moving towards a more digitally defined operation, but the most sensitive activities were often retained in traditional working practices. This was mostly due to three reasons. Firstly, companies were not set up to facilitate remote working for complex tasks. Secondly, there were heightened cyber security concerns. Thirdly, there was a fear of the unknown regarding how it’d work – would employees be productive?

The last two years forced many businesses through a rapid digital transformation, adding increasingly complex layers to enable both hybrid and remote working. Examples of the changes include giving employees access to sensitive data through SaaS (Software as a Service – applications) platforms, in a secure and reliable fashion and the ability to share documents in the cloud efficiently and collaboratively.

Gartner predicts the rise in worldwide spending on cloud technologies, including: Infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS), Desktop-as-a-service (DaaS) and platform-as-a-service (PaaS), will increase to almost $600 billion in 2023. This is up from $214 billion in 2019. This clearly shows the rapid digital transformation shift forced by COVID-19.

The workplace of the future is therefore likely to retain elements of remote and hybrid working. The question remaining is whether the decisions made over the last two years are best for the business, and equally, best for the employee.

Establish a clear definition of the workplace of the future

Above all, flexible or hybrid working does not mean “always on”. Businesses and employees should take the necessary steps to ensure that the digital workplace does not mean employees are working at all hours.

The workplace of the future enables flexible and hybrid working in a way that should benefit everyone involved. For the business, this means business continuity for unforeseen circumstances, and for the employee, it means greater flexibility to accommodate responsibilities in everyday life.

This could mean anything from helping employees to spend more time with their kids as they don’t have to commute every single day, to enabling rapid business continuity outside working hours, should there be an extreme event. It could also mean accessing data and work tools from a range of different devices, some of which could be personal. This adds another layer of complexity to identification and authentication.

Recent research from professional services firm Mercer found that 94% of surveyed businesses believe their workers were either as or more productive while working remotely. Another study from Owl Labs suggests full-time remote workers are 22% more likely to report being happy in their jobs than those who are in the office all the time.

This research suggests the flexible and hybrid working dynamic that became so common during the COVID-19 pandemic is here to stay (at least in some part), therefore businesses must procure the right digital platforms to best enable the workplace of the future. They must also ensure they’re getting the most from their cloud investment, for instance having the correct level of Microsoft 365 licences and fully using the functionality and, if not, dialling up/down where necessary.

Make the workplace of the future a commercial reality

While many companies would have had teleconferencing facilities available for their employees for years, the workplace of the future is much more.

The workplace of the future enables all processes, not just communications, to be done in a reliable, secure, and efficient manner, while simultaneously, building in scalability to improve the flexibility and agility of the organisation. This means being able to access emails and data when it is needed, accessing applications from any device, working collaboratively without hassle, and doing all of the above in a secure manner that doesn’t compromise the integrity of the business.

Ultimately, this means creating a digital platform where business critical processes can be confidently accessed with no risk to the business or the authorised employee. This can only be done with the right cloud platform, configured in the right way.

Work with Vodafone Business and Centrality to modernise your workplace

Working in partnership with Centrality, Vodafone can support business customers on their quest for the modern workplace. We do this through an assessment of where you are now on your cloud migration journey, where you could be, and formulating a plan to take you there. As no two businesses are the same, it’s paramount that your cloud solution is the best fit for your business. We work with you to achieve this.

For most operations, remote and hybrid working will be critical to ensuring efficiency, but also the long-term sustainability of the business. Employees now expect flexible working environments. Research from EY suggests that more than half of employees prefer flexibility in when they work and 40% want flexibility in where they work. To ensure you can attract the best talent, businesses must adapt.

For the most beneficial outcome, embrace the workplace of the future concept in a way that works best for you.

If you’re an organisation with 150 to 2400 employees, visit our cloud solutions for business page to see how we can help guide you.

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