Communications Blog • 7 MIN READ

Innovation in today’s hybrid workplace

Jason Andrews

Written by Jason Andrews

The way we work has changed forever. Globally, organizations have found themselves in a new era of work, with shifting cultures, re-imagined leadership roles, and a barrage of ever-arriving new technology.

The hybrid workplace is a revolution of sorts, creating the perfect scenario for achieving optimal productivity, and happier employees. The hybrid working model delivers limitless possibilities for innovation - and it’s the ability to innovate that sits at the core of every successful business.

In our comprehensive guide to ‘Future-proofing the hybrid workplace’, we explore in detail the key factors that make the hybrid workplace work better.

In this blog we’ll talk about what innovation in the modern workplace should look like. But first let’s define innovation from a business perspective, so that we’re clear on its importance in the modern workplace.

“Innovation refers to the process that an individual or organization undertakes to conceptualize brand new products, processes, and ideas, or to approach existing products, processes, and ideas in new ways.”

Northeastern University

 

We’ll explore innovation focusing on three key themes: Culture, Leadership, and Technology.

Culture

Managing talent, investing in skills, and equipping all employees with the right tools.

The beating heart of any organization is its people. In a hybrid working world, its crucial that your people have the right tools and support to succeed, and the ability to innovate wherever and whenever they work. This is no mean feat, because it requires meeting the needs of every individual, embracing diversity in every form.

An effective culture allows your people to be innovative by providing the drive to be creative, progressive, and adaptive. To achieve this, it’s important for leaders to:

  • Support the workplace with technologies that suit remote, office and frontline workers.
  • Adopt an integrated and intelligent approach to security, powered by the cloud and AI.
  • Provide access to any information your people might need whilst maintaining security, privacy, and regulatory compliance.

Leadership

Managing and optimizing the new interplay between employees and technology

Without collaboration, the hybrid workplace would have no backbone. Leaders are tasked with implementing strategies – driven from the top and including all teams - that empower their people to interact effectively with colleagues, or autonomously, regardless of location.

To create a sense of cohesion and a shared purpose, it’s vital to equip and trust your people to use the digital capabilities that best suit them. Leaders also have the responsibility of supporting their teams from a mental wellbeing perspective, ensuring inclusivity and support to help boost creativity and job satisfaction.

Technology

Supporting new communications and workflows that empower employees

Obviously, without the technology we have today, the entire hybrid workplace machine wouldn’t function. But leaders need to implement the right technology platforms to allow the development of strategic direction and a strong culture.

Technology allows team communication and collaboration through software, online apps and devices, giving employees the means to track progress on common projects, regardless of physical location. Today’s tools support innovation through:

  • Cloud storage
  • Document synchronization
  • File-sharing
  • Digital whiteboards
  • Messaging
  • Video conferencing

Technology is also important in supporting managers and HR teams in managing their staff. Technology provides a goldmine of data and analytics to enable feedback, encouragement, on-site training and overall employee performance management from any location, in real time.

How visibility enables innovation

Without end-to-end visibility into your hybrid UC ecosystem, it would be impossible to create a successful hybrid working model.

There are many components to the hybrid workplace, including:

  • Multiple vendor collaboration platforms
  • People working from various locations
  • A plethora of devices, not all of which are100% business compatible
  • Disparate networks
  • Different time zones

Without the right monitoring tools to see all of your network’s devices, applications, and software, an organization has no power to promote innovation in the hybrid workplace.

You need data

Data is essential to create new business models, analyze how current business models are working, and make informed business decisions.

By being able to easily see your data, you can understand your employees and the way they work – from how motivated and engaged they are, to the performance metrics of a team and its impact on ROI.

Every decision made by an organization should be anchored by data. For example, HR leaders can collate human resource data with the information embedded in communication tools to bring about new strategies.

Monitoring tools give you the power to leverage any data you need, through customized dashboards and detailed analysis.

Ecosystm

Image source: Ecosystm360

Case study: Legal & General

One company embracing innovation in the hybrid workplace is Legal & General. The financial services giant, which manages more than $1.7 trillion (as at December 31, 2019) in investments for clients, uses Microsoft Teams as their preferred collaboration platform to allow contact centre employees to work remotely and continue to help customers even when they’re not at the office.

They also use Microsoft 365 E5 alongside Teams to share information securely and stay connected.

Legal & General developed their digital workplace on SharePoint called “The Hub”. This brings together the Microsoft 365 suite as well as keeping employees up to date with company news, while keeping the employee base productive and connected.

Teams Live Events has also been used to host virtual company-wide events with Legal & General’s Chief Executive, allowing staff from across the world to hear from the organization’s leaders and ask them questions.

Heather Andrews, Employee Experience Director at Legal & General, said:

“The transition that we’ve made has been phenomenal and it feels to me that we won’t go back to the way we were.”

 

Successful innovation in the hybrid workplace

Unified communications and collaboration platforms form the basis of some of the most essential business systems.

Performance and experience management tools can enable organizations to build the innovative hybrid workplace of the future, by helping:

  • Deploy new technology with confidence
  • Deliver the best user experience
  • Quickly locate and fix performance issues, even before they occur
  • Reveal detailed, customized data to uncover the insights you need to succeed.

As hybrid becomes embedded in our working culture, the demand for a seamless user experience increases, and the need for high up-time, fast problem resolution, and intelligent insight has never been more critical. To ensure successful innovation, organizations must simplify complexity and prioritize agility and flexibility.

This relies on a new generation of technology, enabling IT teams to use the power of proactive, real-time visibility to optimize business operations to ensure they can deliver high-quality services to all users, no matter where they are.

Topics: Communications Customer experience Performance management Real-time monitoring Collaborate Hybrid workplace

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