Collaboration Business Tips

8 tips for setting a hybrid working and collaboration strategy that empowers employees to do their best work – anywhere.

The businesses best placed to succeed in the new normal are those that adapted quickly to employee expectations – whether in the office, at home or a combination of the two. Still, there’s plenty of space for those yet to set their own hybrid working and collaboration strategy.

These tips will help you make the best business collaboration possible for everyone, everywhere.

In the office

Many of your employees may have been relieved to return to the office. Their time is spent among colleagues and collaborators, enabling them to enjoy social interactions they wouldn’t otherwise have. They have instant access to company resources. And when they leave at the end of the day, there’s a clean break between work and life.

Here are four tips for enabling their best collaborative work.

1. Save space for working together

It’s not unusual for a team to be spread over multiple locations – staying in touch via video or instant message. But an emptier office doesn’t necessarily mean a quieter one. In fact, it’s been proven that we talk louder when we’re on the phone than we would face-to-face.

It means dedicated collaboration spaces are essential for everyone, whether an individual on a call or a team working aloud – not to mention their officemates who might want some peace and quiet. Consider a few smaller pods in your open space as well as more traditional team-sized rooms.

2. Keep the noise down

With spaces dedicated to collaboration, the open office can now become a place of focus. But some employees can’t stand the silence, even when they are trying to keep their head down. Equally intrusive can be noises from outside – made especially jarring by the silence.

Consider broadcasting a steady backdrop of white noise throughout your open space, or soft furnishings and dividers that can create private areas for quieter conversations and reduce sound travelling between zones. By keeping sound from travelling, it can turn loud interruptions into little more than background noise.

3. Stay connected

If you haven’t already, decide which collaboration tools will be standard across your business. Microsoft Office 365 and Google Apps for Work, for example, allow teams to collaborate remotely, without the worry of conflicts between versions.

Everyone has their preference but it’s no good if half their colleagues are trying to reach them somewhere else. In the office, where many employees may be using these tools to make calls all at once, it’s also essential to have the high-quality broadband bandwidth to support them all.

4. Digital resilience

It’s no longer possible to keep your people, devices and data under a physical lock and key. With the advent of remote working, many employees are working outside of their companies’ security systems, creating complex, sprawling networks of potential security threats.

Ensure that your business has digital security at every location. A good solution will increase your visibility over your entire network and infrastructure and provide round-the-clock support.

At home

Other employees may have found they’re more comfortable working at home. There, they’re able to focus on the task in front of them. They may prefer to fit work around other equally important obligations. And some do so to be able to live further afield – even abroad.

Here are four more tips – this time for giving your remote workers the best collaborative tools.

5. Provide dedicated connectivity

Before the remote working revolution, employees only used their home internet service in the evenings and weekends. But now, entire households can be working and learning from home – and stretching the bandwidth thin.

Giving them dedicated broadband means your home-based employees aren’t competing for connectivity with the rest of their household. Meanwhile, mobile business broadband can do the same for employees on the move – so, they don’t have to rely on patchy hotel or coffee shop WiFi to work.

6. Keep calls flexible

Whether they’re making a call over lunch or just stepping out for a stroll, employees don’t want their collaboration tools to tie them to one place.

A flexible unified communication solution could be the answer. These solutions make voice, video, messaging and resource-sharing available and consistent between employee devices. And the best of them are not only compatible with the market’s most popular providers – but also work with numerous APIs and a wider developer community for seamless integration.

7. Improve home security

Working from home doesn’t mean employees should settle for consumer security tools. Enterprise-grade security must go beyond the office doors – to every remote employee and workspace connected to your network.

The rise of mobile working means there are mobile-first cyber security solutions available. With these, employees, managers and IT specialists can get a complete view of the business’s IT estate – and the insights, intelligence and protection they need to work remotely with confidence.

8. Back it all up

Whether in the office, at home or somewhere between the two, there’s one place that brings every employee together – the cloud. It’s how they save and share work. It’s how they collaborate. And somewhere behind the scenes, it’s where the vast quantities of business and customer data are created and stored.

But while the cloud may be out of sight, it can never be out of mind. Consider working with a connectivity partner to manage the complicated parts – like migration, security, applications and backup – so you can focus on doing your best work wherever you are.

We know the working world is constantly changing and adapting, we’re here to help your business navigate these changes every step of the way – in both the office, and at home.

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