The tools you need to succeed in a hybrid work environment

The Chronicle

By Hamilton Manika

ONE of the phrases that emerged over the past couple of years as more companies embraced remote working was “the new normal”.

At the time, most of us took this to mean that in addition to having to wear masks and sanitize our hands at every opportunity, businesses that discovered they could continue operating remotely would continue to do so. do forever.

Considering lockdown levels have decreased, many companies are insisting that their staff return to the office. This is because there is a level of creativity and collaboration that is not possible outside of the workplace.

This is partly true, as is the counter-argument that remote work increases productivity, which is why many companies combine the benefits of remote work and office work.

The hybrid work environment

The “hybrid work environment” is becoming commonplace in many companies, reaping significant benefits from this new model. For example, companies may adjust their size based on a cost perspective; the morale of their employees is maintained and the costs of real estate and the maintenance of office space are lowered.

Another benefit of the hybrid working model is the expansion of the talent pool; companies can choose local talent or source from a global workforce. Thanks to remote work, companies are no longer limited to hiring employees in a specific geographic region.

Rather than being limited to hiring within the geographic area of ​​operations, there is a growing trend to seek the right talent across borders.

This model makes it easier for companies intending to expand into other African countries to hire the right talent. Additionally, it also ensures that organizations can view talent within broader and diverse technology contexts. This approach is more cost effective and also helps the organization leverage local business knowledge and leverage global experiences and skills.

The hybrid work environment has additional benefits for the workforce. Dividing work time between the office and home allows for a better work/life balance as well as reducing the time spent on long journeys (as well as the cost of fuel and wear and tear on vehicles).

It gives employees the freedom to effectively manage their working hours, offering them the opportunity to participate in training and learning activities. Employers who adopt a policy of continuous learning can strengthen their employees’ learning skills in the workplace and encourage them to apply what they have learned.

In addition, a hybrid working model protects companies and their employees against the pandemic, because it is easier to switch from a hybrid model to one where employees work exclusively remotely, because all the infrastructures and working practices are in place.

The right tools

However, hiring the right talent is only half the battle! Organizations need to ensure that the right talent pool has access to the right tools. Lack of access to the right tools means employees won’t be able to work effectively. An essential ingredient of a successful hybrid model is access to digital technologies like the cloud.

Over the years, smart technologies such as cloud, IoT or SD-WAN have enabled better collaboration and increased productivity. Not confined to a specific desk, phone or computer screen, employees have the freedom to share their skills and seek new opportunities from anywhere with nothing but access to a device and high-speed connectivity.

Collaboration is key to keeping efficiency high in remote work, and businesses should look to a vendor that can offer a host of cloud-native collaboration solutions.

Migrating voice functionality to the cloud brings flexibility, stability, and security as it becomes an integral part of a company’s cloud infrastructure. It offers a myriad of benefits to any business operating in a hybrid work environment. Users can be assigned a landline number on all their devices and thus be reachable, regardless of where they are geographically or what device they have at hand – a kind of “mobile landline”.

They can also move seamlessly between devices, bringing the value of true convergence. Employees are always reachable, encouraging collaboration, which boosts their engagement and productivity.

A cloud-based voice platform also offers more resiliency and fewer business continuity disruptions thanks to its provider’s cybersecurity measures and reliable connectivity; businesses are less likely to find their employees unable to connect to important conference calls or experience downtime due to hacking. Plus, customers will still be able to contact a business, meaning there’s no loss of sales and revenue.

In addition to this, all upgrades for software maintenance and infrastructure are transferred to a service provider, which saves additional costs; Service Leverage Agreements (SLAs) ensure service providers are available to help with support, continuity and expansion plans.

The best collaboration offerings should provide users with a versatile and reliable platform and accommodate as many devices as possible. As a Microsoft Gold Partner, Liquid Intelligent Technologies’ OneVoice for Operator Connect is a contemporary Unified Communications vehicle, pioneering the Hybrid Workplace in Africa.

Over the past two years, we’ve seen organizations finally embrace technology, and this is a key win for the future of work. Businesses finally embracing the cloud for their operations have allowed them to reinvent the way they work. For the first time, organizations are not restricted in where they hire their talent pool, so they need to ensure the right tools are in place to create the hybrid model, which is planned and executed well and not treated as an experience that is short-lived.

Hemilton Manika is Regional Sales Manager at Liquid Intelligent Technologies

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