Does anyone have any plans or thoughts on how you’re going to adjust your office technology setup for more hybrid in-person/remote work?


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I know some orgs are talking about what returning to the office might look like. Does anyone have any plans or thoughts on how you’re going to adjust your office technology setup for more hybrid in-person/remote work? more small meeting rooms? changing white boards for smart boards? different conference room a/v setup?


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or, maybe you’re downsizing the physical office location. less technology in house, smaller space…


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I am interested in this as well. We are actually planning a collaboration with as architecture firm to build a concept on a conference and office environment.


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Great question. We don't have schedules or much input from leadership on what they want for our company yet, but we've been brainstorming heavily inside IT about things, and here are some broad range discussion starters that we've been tossing around.

1. "Hybrid" work will be a challenge for technology, workflow, and personnel. We've got people who are WFH now, but aren't working in efficient WFH patterns, or have patterns that are predicated on everyone being remote. It will take time to understand what an efficient future looks like in collaboration tools.
2. Most of our physical collaboration spaces are not set up well for anything other than phone conferencing - we need to add video everywhere!
3. Taking #1 and #2 into account, we need to design video integrations in ways that provide good experiences to people both in the room, at home, or in another room at another office. Things like multiple monitors to show both people + content, digital whiteboards, etc. will become very important.
4. Even though surface transmission of COVID isn't as much of a worry as it was this time last year, we need to think about the "touch" factor of conference rooms as psychologically many of us are still freaked out about shared surfaces. What does our cleaning / disinfecting routine look like? Where can we eliminate common touchpoints and get better UX at the same time (e.g. wireless screen sharing to eliminate dongles and cables on the table, making conference room controller displays auto-answer incoming calls, looking into antimicrobial screen covers for tablets that need to be touched).



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This is a unique opportunity to define what "hybrid work" means for the company, and potentially moving toward collaboration models that are slightly less dependent on synchronous communication styles. Less conference room time, more Google Docs or Jamboard time. Less phone calls, more Slack reactjis and threads.



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I always think of a discussion I had back in my days at another company.
“If collaboration is a problem in your team, maybe X isn’t the problem?”

Like my take is that at the end of the day what will make or break the whole hybrid model is not the amount of technical gizmos or tools you outfit the office with. But rather how you decide as a company that you will work both in regards to asynchronous work and enabling remote work to happen. The biggest fear for me will always be the companies that say “oh we will do a hybrid model where people can work from home” and just kinda leave it at that. Still making all the important decisions on site, not taking into consideration remote participants in video, doing planning outside of the common planning tool etc.



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HUGE agreement there Robert, especially the "still making important decisions on site" part - even things as "basic" as managing your team requires a mind shift in a hybrid environment. That's not something that IT can mandate or push, but something we need to influence in the right direction and be prepared to support as the business moves forward.



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Great insights here. It’s all coming back to 1. People 2.Process 3.Technology, in that order. We can help support that with fancy tools, but there needs to be a complete understanding and agreement of the processes first. Just because a process will technically work in a hybrid environment doesn’t mean it will in reality unless the people are onboard and holistically understand the problem.



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Some great commentary here on this. I think we are going to see a shift to more “internal wework” environments, i.e. reconfiguring existing offices to be like your own company wework. Hot desks for folks to work from 1-5 days a week, more emphasis on collaboration spaces (open, cafe style) and meeting rooms (probably larger given the psychological significance of space now), less huddle rooms.

Agreed re. meeting rooms needing to be all VC-enabled as well, the dual screen setup especially, and there will need to be a steady and consistent push to be consistent. One VC platform, one collaboration platform, one project management app. Getting teams to work together and remove the work-about-work they do is critical to being successful in a hybrid environment. That also means IT needs to create spaces and experiences that are “better than” going out and getting Yet Another App for something. Which means IT needs to let go of this ‘control everything’ mentality that so many still have, and adapt to a ‘control what matters, and embrace flexibility everywhere else’.

Investing in simple meeting rooms will help; not sure I think wireless presentation stuff matters versus something like having a Zoom Room with a crestron panel, for one touch meetings and then present from laptops.

I have also spent a lot of time thinking about how this will potentially lead to a second-class structure if some employees are in the office, and others are remote, so how do we fix that? Hybrid can still create the privilege cliques that can be present while the company continues to hire remote/far remote employees that can’t.



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Some great commentary here on this. I think we are going to see a shift to more “internal wework” environments, i.e. reconfiguring existing offices to be like your own company wework. Hot desks for folks to work from 1-5 days a week, more emphasis on collaboration spaces (open, cafe style) and meeting rooms (probably larger given the psychological significance of space now), less huddle rooms.

Agreed re. meeting rooms needing to be all VC-enabled as well, the dual screen setup especially, and there will need to be a steady and consistent push to be consistent. One VC platform, one collaboration platform, one project management app. Getting teams to work together and remove the work-about-work they do is critical to being successful in a hybrid environment. That also means IT needs to create spaces and experiences that are “better than” going out and getting Yet Another App for something. Which means IT needs to let go of this ‘control everything’ mentality that so many still have, and adapt to a ‘control what matters, and embrace flexibility everywhere else’.

Investing in simple meeting rooms will help; not sure I think wireless presentation stuff matters versus something like having a Zoom Room with a crestron panel, for one touch meetings and then present from laptops.

I have also spent a lot of time thinking about how this will potentially lead to a second-class structure if some employees are in the office, and others are remote, so how do we fix that? Hybrid can still create the privilege cliques that can be present while the company continues to hire remote/far remote employees that can’t.



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I’ve also noticed companies and people spending a lot of time trying recreate a digital version of things and events in the office. Top of mind is something like a digital whiteboard (miro, jamboard, et al) which have their place, but they’re not magic bullets. VC Fatigue (tm) is very much a thing now, and I think the all-video-everything world is going to snap back to a more natural balance as well, so I’m also hesitant to slap VC EVERYWHERE (in every meeting room, 100% yes, but in other spaces, mm, maybe not) as I fully believe people inherently crave other people and those experiences will be more compelling to build for than putting a camera in/on everything.



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