The ‘hybrid workforce’ encompasses the newly emerging trend of workers working a mixed schedule of both onsite and remote. Since COVID-19, workers are now typically working an alternating schedule of being in the office as well as at home. The hybrid work environment is interchangeably referred to as ‘flexible work’, ‘work from anywhere’ or ‘remote work’ and basically means your employees have the option to work both in the physical office as well as remotely from where they choose.
When the COVID-19 pandemic suddenly upended everyday business operations, many business owners found themselves with workforces unable to operate efficiently. Whether it was an outdated operating-system on a desktop device, or unreliable and unsecure VPN access…businesses all around the world took a pause to examine their company’s technology. Many companies needed to go remote, and they did not have the resources, or knowledge, to acquire the appropriate technology to support this ‘new normal’.
Companies did not have a dedicated IT resource, and quickly realized the importance of Managed IT Services as well as other business communication tools that would allow them to become flexible amongst the COVID-19 shutdowns. Now, as businesses begin to open back up and look to the future, we are seeing the emergence of the permanent hybrid work force…part office, part home.
This poses the question “What are the best technology solutions to support this hybrid work model?”.
Short answer, there are many technology solutions to support a ‘work from anywhere’ model, but to quickly update your technology to support this emerging trend we suggest having the following put in place:
- Laptops: when updating your employees outdated operating systems, opt for laptops. Having a laptop allows your team to be able to pick up and go wherever they need to and still have access to their important documents.
- Hardware accessories for your end-users: working off a small 13” screen is not optimal for team members that require larger screens and multiple programs running simultaneously. Consider adding a docking station, and additional monitor to your technology order to ensure your workers have the same functionality at home as in the office.
- Managed Print Services: supporting team members with a smaller footprint, multifunction devices or desktop printers allows access to printed materials as needed. Utilizing Managed Print Services from an office technology vendor safeguards your company from overspending on consumables or passing off the expense to your team members. Managed Print Service contracts cover items such as toner, parts, and labor. These contracts also allow volumes to be accurately tracked and reported so money is not wasted.
- Office 365 featuring Microsoft Teams: Make your team able to collaborate seamlessly both inside the office and while they are working remotely. Utilizing Microsoft Teams allows you to communicate with your team members via your phone, tablet, or laptop, while SharePoint allows access to files anywhere you have internet.
- VPN Access: Granting your team members access to all their server-based program’s is important to workflow continuity. Your team’s specific software applications may not all be available in the cloud and maintaining access to these programs from anywhere (securely) will create a seamless transition when they are not working in the office. You will need to implement technology such as a Watchguard’s suite of security tools to safeguard your data.
Get the Best Technology Solutions for your Company!
If your company is currently operating under a hybrid work model or thinking about implementing this going forward, make sure you are consulting with an appropriate office technology vendor. CEI – The Digital Office has been supporting the Raleigh | Durham area since 1957 and is able to provide your business with the technology support you need. Call us at 919-781-8885 or fill out the form below to speak with a tenured Account Manager.