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The United MakGroup provides curated solutions for those looking for hybrid working environments to stay in tune for the next normal Image Credit: Gulf News/ Nicholas D'Souza

Highlights

Work is no longer necessarily a place to travel to – it’s what you do. Equipped with the right technology, work can be seamlessly done from any location offering convenience, quality, flexibility and cost efficiency

Water cooler chats, cubicles, the open office, business trips – whatever aspect of traditional working culture you consider, 2020 has brought about a dramatic change in what it means to go to work. Covid-19 initially forced organisations to adapt to the work from home culture but today, with restrictions lifted and a general drive to restore the economy, companies are now transitioning to the next normal – hybrid working.

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The numbers from research done by global firms confirm the fact that both employers and employees are leaning towards a hybrid working model in a post-Covid world Image Credit: Gulf News/Nicholas D'Souza

Hybrid Working Spaces

“Location matters less and less, whether you are working from home, from a coffee shop, or from the other side of the world,” writes applied futurist Tom Cheesewright in the July 2020 Hybrid Working report. “What matters is your ability to add value, and your ability to communicate that value to partners.”

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Remote working using the latest that tech and connectivity can provide is all part of the next normal for workers in the UAE and globally Image Credit: Supplied

The report offers three steps for organisations to cultivate effective hybrid working practices:

Work patterns With employees enjoying more autonomy over both their working location as well as the timings and days of being online, it’s clear that Work From Home (WFH) policy needs to be built around a worker’s needs to be productive in their role.

Collaboration For those who have spent a decade or two used to rapidly exchanging ideas, orders, thoughts and opinions across a bustling open office space, it can be difficult adapting to WFH – particularly if home includes a family. It’s important for organisations to make smart investments in hardware that can help foster an engaging, productive home workspace, such as noise-cancelling dynamic headsets and video soundbars.

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Office spaces will become smaller conforming to the next normal requirements of businesses glocally, with tech accessories acting as a bridge between the client and the service provider. Brands such as Poly provide perfect solutions in this regard with the Poly Studio range of video bars for instance, providing boardroom-quality audio and crisp video that works with Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Blue Jeans, GoogleMeet, GoToMeeting, Webex and many other platforms without the need for a PC Image Credit: Supplied

Investment optimisation The new normal could see companies scaling back on the size of their office, which in 2020, may appear to be a high operational expense that provides little by way of return. Meanwhile, providing employees with the right hardware and software tools needed to stay productive outside company walls provides an almost immediate return on investment.

Technology

When setting up a hybrid workspace, several factors need to be considered: lighting, ergonomics (eight hours spent on a laptop on your sofa isn’t healthy) and sound are crucial. Meanwhile, in offices, a new set of technologies can boost productivity and collaboration while also allowing workers to maintain a safe physical distance from one another.

Low-touch meeting rooms, video conferencing bars and room systems can transform large meeting rooms into socially-distanced spaces for ideation.

Desktop mobile phone stations allow any worker to make a desk theirs by simply plugging their phone in.

Enterprise-grade headsets for blocking out all kinds of background noise – whether it’s the sound of children playing or office chatter.

HD-quality cameras provide a large field of view and work seamlessly with platforms such as Microsoft Teams, Zoom and Google Hangouts to minimise the sense of otherness and distance during virtual meetings.

Solutions

POLY (the merged entity of Plantronics + Polycom), a global leader in video and voice solutions, offers a number of tech-driven solutions for hybrid workers.

For example, the Poly Savi 8220 Office noise-cancelling headset and Poly VVX 350 deskphone, when paired with the Poly EagleEye Mini camera, block out distracting background sound and provide exceptional video, giving users total focus while working at their desk.

Meanwhile, the Poly Studio range of video bars provide boardroom-quality audio and crisp video that works with Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Blue Jeans, GoogleMeet, GoToMeeting, Webex and many other platforms without the need for a PC.

United MakGroup, Poly’s strategic partner in the UAE, is your go-to vendor for developing and adopting the ‘next normal’ for your workplace. They have many certifications to their credit such as Microsoft Gold Certification, Ribbon Silver Certification, ‘Best Service & Customer Experience’ award and more. Visit https://www.makgroup.ae/ to learn more about how to redesign your workspace at home or in the office. Their range of expertise spans across industries from banking, public safety & security, healthcare, education, retail, and hospitality.

As a systems integrator with a strong reputation in the regional market, United MakGroup offers enterprises the expertise required to design and implement the right collaboration tools based on corporate budgets as well as offer comprehensive technical support. “We can help companies design, migrate and implement a new working environment on platforms such as Microsoft, facilitate compliance recording, help with connectivity to their existing or upgrading their telephony, provide them with the end points, integrations using Robotic Process Automation and also offer managed services of monitoring their usage and analytics,” says Byju Bhaskaran, Senior Manager at United MakGroup.