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Choose a hybrid working solution that connects your people and their devices in any space

At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, around 65.5 per cent of employees worldwide were forced to work from home, with Australians quickly embracing remote working during the first wave. The Families in Australia Survey: Towards COVID Normal was released in June 2021, just before the latest harsh lockdown restrictions. It found that among the employed survey respondents, 67 per cent were sometimes or always working from home, compared to 42 per cent pre-COVID.

As the world slowly establishes a new normal, workers are demanding the flexibility that remote working brought to their lives. And in response to employees returning to their offices or negotiating hybrid work arrangements, forward-thinking businesses of all sizes are responding.

Choose a hybrid working solution that connects your people and their devices in any space
Image Credit: BenQ

Companies that relied on in-person interactions for decision-making and production often struggled to manage the shift to remote working. These are among the businesses now changing their office layout and investing in technology that can mitigate the effect of future disruptions as they prepare to welcome employees back to the office.

Flexibility is the key

The pandemic popularised the term “operational resilience”, a flexibility that will be required by all businesses as they continue to adapt to the pandemic. The Harvard Business Review defines this as a company’s ability to thrive under unexpected situations.

This includes a capacity to immediately soften the impact of disruptions and a capability to switch gears so that processes continue to run smoothly. The key to achieving this resilience is creating more flexibility in the workplace. 

So, what makes a workplace flexible? Among the criteria used to measure work flexibility is location.

Businesses are already reconfiguring their offices and choosing equipment that enhances the new paradigm: technology that facilitates effective and seamless communication and collaboration. 

How to reconfigure your office

Physical office spaces are getting smaller as the number of remote workers increases, and reconfiguration focuses on meeting new social distancing requirements. Redesigning a workplace for operational resilience and a hybrid workforce doesn’t have to be drastic or expensive. Decision-makers just need to assess the utility of current meeting rooms and employee cubicles and convert them into safe, multi-purpose workrooms suited for productive in-person collaboration and hybrid work.

Many companies are adopting a graduated approach to reopening their office, beginning with 25 per cent or 50 per cent occupancy. Calculating how to space people based on the percentage of occupancy can be simplified by automated space planning tools that enable you to optimise rooms for productivity and safety.

In the past, boardrooms were large office spaces reserved for occasional meetings involving board members, key stakeholders, potential clients, and internal teams. 

Meetings usually took place face-to-face, so there was a limited need for special equipment.

During the last year, the availability and affordability of safer collaboration technology have enabled businesses to upgrade their traditional conference rooms without an expensive makeover. Meeting rooms need to be interactive and equipped with smart devices that foster real-time coworking between office-based and remote peers. These include interactive displays with cloud whiteboarding and video conferencing set-ups. 

Choose a hybrid working solution that connects your people and their devices in any space
Image Credit: BenQ

Interactive displays are now replacing the traditional projector in the post-COVID-19 conference room. They enable effortless remote and in-person collaboration. Anyone can write on the whiteboard from anywhere – from nearly any device. The best displays also feature anti-microbial glass on the screen to keep germs from spreading when you have multiple users on the display.

Identifying your collaboration archetype

With many options available, choosing the most appropriate collaboration technology solution can be confusing. It is important to assess your meeting types before purchasing a meeting solution.

Hybrid work entails different types of meetings, but the most important one is the type of meeting you conduct most often. 

Several meeting and collaboration archetypes have emerged, and your buying decision should reflect the one that applies to your circumstances:

Internal collaboration: Spontaneous and often “huddle”-centric, these are collaborative businesses that run frequent small meetings. This scenario requires constant cloud access, high-speed internet connections, and smooth telephony. 

Learning and training: This is more one-sided, as the flow is from instructors to learners or trainees acquiring new skills. While collaboration is still important, you also need the ability to record sessions for future reference. 

External presentations: Meetings are usually with clients, prospects, and partners. There is no need for complex tools here, just excellent connectivity from anywhere, plus fast access to content. 

Mass broadcast: The largest meeting type and the most technically demanding. Here, presenters face big audiences and need to have extensive control over the content being shared. 

Pure work from home:  Your tech backbone must be compatible with myriad devices, from smartphones to desktops, Windows to Mac and Linux, and accommodate variable connection speeds.

Having an interactive screen promotes collaboration and cross-team productivity in each of these meeting types.

What to look for when choosing collaborative tools

Gartner research has found that meetings must accommodate all participants but allow the host to control the flow of the meeting. 

Choose a hybrid working solution that connects your people and their devices in any space
Image Credit: BenQ

Look for these features when choosing your collaboration solutions:

  • Screen and application sharing so that all participants can view each other’s relevant content and access communal apps, even if they don’t have them installed on their own devices 
  • Everyone can edit content presented and discussed in meetings unless it is locked for safety or priority reasons
  • Virtual whiteboarding to promote spontaneous creativity and effective brainstorming 
  • Meeting host controls to ensure collaboration stays on course and focused 

Don’t forget about security and privacy

The rise in popularity of hybrid meeting solutions has increased potential threats to security and privacy. New solutions must protect your organisation against external malicious parties and internal misconduct.  You will need secure cloud infrastructure, secure networks for content in transit, and client-end application security and data protection.

How BenQ products can facilitate seamless team collaboration

As part of a comprehensive hybrid working solution, BenQ’s Smart Projector is a portable display device that when adding a BenQ VC camera, enables customised video conferencing and helps turn any meeting room into a VC room.

Forget about messy cables – the BenQ Smart Projector delivers instant wireless projection and internet connectivity from your smartphone, tablet, or laptop in a few easy steps.

BenQ DuoBoard interactive screens drive collaboration with video conferencing and device compatibility as the focus. And importantly, with physical safety at the forefront when welcoming workers back to their offices, BenQ interactive panels feature germ-resistant screens and eye-care technology as standard. 

The dangers of poor air ventilation have also come to the fore during the pandemic. Health experts have identified three ways COVID-19 spreads: contaminated surfaces, droplets, and aerosols. Unfortunately, aerosols remain suspended in the air for hours, particularly in an unventilated indoor environment.

BenQ DuoBoard interactive boards incorporate CO2 sensors that alert users if a workspace has inadequate ventilation, making it more susceptible to contagion transfer. This important safety feature empowers your staff to take actions like going outside or opening a window, which creates a safer environment and minimises productivity hampering carbon levels.

BenQ provides end-to-end solutions which offer multiple levels of securities, from devices and software to cloud collaboration infrastructure. To learn how BenQ’s hybrid working solutions can connect your people, their devices, and spaces – Visit Benq.com/en-ap/business/

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Clare Loewenthal

Clare Loewenthal

Clare is an author, business commentator and passionate contributor to Dynamic Business. She was the Founder and Publisher of Dynamic Small Business magazine, which became Australia’s largest small business publication.

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