Editors note: My TechDecision’s sister-site Commercial Integrator has teamed up with the IMCCA, the New York-based non-profit industry association for unified communication and workplace collaboration, to produce a quarterly supplement that focuses on all things collaboration from multiple perspectives. Together, the organizations launched Collaboration Today and Tomorrow.
CI: Please tell us a little about Jabra.
Gina Spencer: Jabra is part of the GN Group, which is a world-leading audio and video brand that has been dedicated to sound for over a century. We create intelligent headsets and communication tools so people can enjoy better calls, music and media. And we also have intelligent videoconferencing solutions for better more inclusive meetings, whether you are working from the office, from your home or on the go. Jabra is technology for life’s new rhythm.
CI: Tell me more about what you have observed for hybrid work in the industry.
Spencer: Hybrid work is a combination of remote working and working in a traditional workplace. It allows for a worker to go to the office to engage in socialization, collaboration, or even brainstorming with their team, but also gives them time to work remotely, so they have an environment which fosters concentration, creativity, and even an opportunity to learn new things.
In the last few years, hybrid work has become more common, so we are seeing the need for professional audio and video devices become much more important. Remote workers need to stay connected to the office, to each other, and to their clients using immersive tools that promote meeting equity.
We often hear hybrid work referred to as the new normal or the workplace of the future, but it is not really a new idea. Although the typical 9am to 5pm in the office is still the norm for some, we have been talking about remote and hybrid work for years.
Look at this quote from Satya Nadella, the CEO of Microsoft: “Work is no longer a place you go to – it’s about making things happen where you are.” He said that in 2015! The idea about hybrid work is not new, but it is here to stay.
CI: What are the challenges associated with the hybrid-work model?
Spencer: 1) The first challenge is lacking a vision for the hybrid workspace. About 90% of organizations are in favor of a hybrid-work model, but very few have worked out a vision and a plan for how to make it work. Companies will need to give employees more autonomy and flexibility while focusing more on the employee output vs the time they spend in the office.
2) They also struggle with the wrong workspace, so these spaces will need to be equipped with intelligent and versatile technology to accommodate the hybrid worker that may be coming into the office a few days a week.
3) The next challenge is around safety and security. According to the experts the first thing to do is to conduct an audit of existing cybersecurity standards. Identify the pitfalls and eventually set new standards that meet the requirements of hybrid working.
4) And finally, we have the challenge of digital fatigue. This is real. Employers need to consult with their employees, they may need to reduce workloads, encourage breaks, and of course select seamless and easy to use technology that helps maximize productivity.
CI: What steps go into choosing the right equipment for the hybrid worker?
Spencer: At Jabra, we look at the needs of our users. Hybrid workers need to have a high-quality audio and video experience, no matter how or where they are connecting from. They need to use devices that address the safety and security concerns from their organizational headquarters, and they need these solutions to be easy to use. 84% of hybrid workers believe that the right technology will help them have equal access to opportunities at work.
When considering options for the office, some like to have the simplicity of a room system and others prefer to use the room by connecting their own laptop to host the meeting. Jabra has flexible solutions that promote meeting equity in either model.
And when considering options for remote workers, it is important to think about the different environments people will be working from. They will need noise cancelling audio devices that only allow the person on the far end to hear their voice. And they need a high-quality personal video camera with intelligent light optimization that adapts to every space. This will ensure they make a great impression every time they have a meeting. If we do all these things right, the hybrid worker will have seamless and enjoyable collaboration experience.