Business reinvented: Technology will drive office evolution


In an early May blog postGoogle CEO (CEO) Sundar Pichai shared his vision for the company’s workplace future – more than a year after the covid-19 pandemic forced offices around the world to close almost overnight and employees suddenly switched to working remotely using Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and a a host of other virtual collaboration tools.

“The future of work is flexibility,” he said, adding that Google is “reimagining a hybrid workplace to help us collaborate effectively in many work environments.” This includes testing multipurpose workspaces and developing advanced video technology that “creates greater equality between those working in the office and those who participate virtually.”

Google is not alone in its efforts to keep pace with the evolution of the office post an unprecedented pandemic. Citigroup recently announced that the majority of employees will be designated as hybrids working in the office at least three days a week. Ford said 30,000 North American office workers will be allowed to work under a flexible hybrid model. Every organization in nearly every industry is trying to determine how to navigate and respond to changing employee expectations and emotions about how and where they work.

For example, EYs 2021 Business Redesigned Employee Survey It revealed that nine out of ten employees want continued job flexibility, with more than half of workers globally that would consider leaving their jobs if flexibility is not provided post-pandemic.

Additionally, employees’ expectations for job flexibility may not match up with their leadership’s expectations. According to a recent information statement conducted by the global market research company Ipsos and the premium audio brand. EPOSWhile 53% of decision makers think the majority of employees will spend more time at the physical workplace next year instead of remotely, only 26% of employees agree.

Employees are also demanding more and better technology to foster increasingly flexible ways of working and more sophisticated options for collaboration on and off the field. Ipsos/EPOS studyfor example, it found that 89% of all end-users currently encounter difficulties when conducting virtual meetings or workshops. The research found that around 63% of global end users regularly experience problems during job interviews due to poor voice quality. The most common issues included background noise (32%), line noise (26%), and requesting repetition of information (23%).

The shift to remote work has highlighted the need for resilience, agility and flexibility not only in how businesses operate, but also in how their employees work. The transition from a completely remote environment to hybrid possibilities is a similarly disruptive moment that requires technology innovation to equalize the work environment for everyone – both from home or another remote location, and for those who are physically in the office.

“The onset of the Covid-19 pandemic was like a time machine that suddenly transported us decades into the future,” said Paul Silverglate, Vice President and US technology industry leader. Deloittetalks about how networks, services and devices come together to effectively support the transition to work from home and school. “The technology underlying these new behaviors has been truly tested and often driven by increased connectivity demands. In addition to adapting, we have exceeded the limits of what our current technology can deliver.”

Investing in innovative technology is critical to the employee experience

As organizations emerge from the pandemic, more than two-thirds (68%) of CEOs plan to invest heavily in data and technology, while 61% plan to launch a new transformation initiative. EY’s 2021 CEO Mandatory survey. The question is, how can companies invest in innovative technology to enhance the employee experience in a hybrid workplace? After all, as people return to a new, hybrid workplace, it becomes very clear that the traditional conference room with desks, chairs and speakers can no longer cut it.

Firms like EY have invested heavily, including a conference room that offers life-size touchscreens and an immersive meeting experience with integrated cameras and speakers. Increasingly, as 360-degree cameras, microphones and speakers are placed in gathering places and the number of screens increases, the conference room is likely to turn into a “Zoom room”. meena krenekis director of interior design at Perkins+Will, an architecture firm that is renovating offices, including its own, for new ways of working.

Google is also creating a new meeting room called Campfire; this room is where the attendees themselves sit in a circle interspersed with large screens showing the faces of callers via video conferencing, so that the virtual attendees are on the same footing as those physically present.

These moves reflect the nation’s consensus. Ipsos/EPOS studyThis found that employees and leaders continue to see the benefits of meeting virtually. About 79% of end users know the benefits of video for virtual meetings, up 7% from 2020. In addition to saving time and cost compared to face-to-face meetings, 21% of decision makers say video meetings help them feel closer to their team, and 17% believe it builds trust in their working relationships.

Whatever the future of the workplace may look like, it must align with the company’s culture as well as its efforts to recruit and retain top talent.

For example, many financial companies rated face-to-face cooperation as too important to lose and therefore asked people to come to the office early during the economic reopening. In Silicon Valley, on the other hand, some companies are giving up their headquarters and becoming completely remote organizations.

But most companies are taking a hybrid approach: Accenture’s 2021 Future of Work A study of 9,000 workers worldwide found that the vast majority (83%) said a hybrid model would be most appropriate for a productive and healthy workforce.

“Employee expectations are changing and we will need to define productivity more broadly, including collaboration, learning and wellbeing, to drive the career growth of every employee,” said Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella. final report. “All this needs to be done with flexibility in when, where and how people work.”

Learn more about EPOS’ audio solutions for virtual collaboration Request. And listen to the EPOS podcast Request.

This content is produced by EPOS. It was not written by the editorial staff of MIT Technology Review.


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