IT Brief Australia - Technology news for CIOs & IT decision-makers
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How technology can level the playing field in the hybrid era
Tue, 14th Jun 2022
FYI, this story is more than a year old

As businesses across the globe continue to grapple with the aftershocks of the COVID-19 crisis, it's become crystal clear that the hybrid work model is here to stay. But with it comes a host of new challenges.

Managing potential disparities between remote and in-office experiences has increasingly become a prevalent topic in Australian business, particularly as many offices are shifting from a purely remote set-up to a new hybrid environment. Yet, only 13% of company leaders are thinking about it.

As we move into a new era of work, company leaders must think about productivity and DE-I in a holistic sense by factoring in potential inequity between those in the office and those who are remote. By integrating this consideration into their hybrid future, businesses can level the playing field and ensure all employees have equal access to the tools and applications needed to drive themselves towards career success.

Creating an equitable workplace, regardless of location

A few years ago, when just 3% of the global workforce worked remotely five days a week, proximity concerns felt like a far-removed issue. Now, as companies consider their return-to-office plans, that problem is firmly on their doorstep.

While the hybrid model is positioned as the new future of work, the risk is that those who choose to work at home will become excluded from important elements of the corporate experience, have less of a voice in meetings or forgo promotion opportunities.

Currently, companies are most focused on the day-to-day logistical challenges of balancing remote and in-person teams. But we can't overlook the bigger issue of ensuring equity. This starts with acknowledging and addressing the potential biases managers may hold toward in-person and remote work.

Employers that ignore the needs of each of the three growing groups of workers — hybrid, in-office and completely remote — can inadvertently disadvantage and dishearten their staff. In fact, Logitech research shows that 42% of Australians would rather work from home than receive a pay rise.

The first step in building an equitable hybrid workplace is to ask your employees what they need to be active participants and collaborators and ensure access is available.

Embracing technology

Achieving work equity in a hybrid world means equipping employees with the tech tools that enable them to feel fully seen, heard and valued no matter where they are. To find the best tools to empower your teams, focus on addressing common worker challenges and collaboration pitfalls that emerge when teams are dispersed.

In the hybrid work environment, much (if not most) of your workforce is remote. Even colleagues who happen to be in the same office at the same time might not want to assemble in a confined space. Given today's realities, it's no surprise that video collaboration has become the way organisations keep their people connected – to each other, to partners, and to clients.

For example, investing in a portable video conferencing device that can easily be moved into huddle spaces can enable in-room screen sharing from laptops or mobile devices and ensure all participants are on the same page, keeping meetings on track.

In the old way of working, marginal collaboration tools might have made the grade. After all, most of your team was just a few footsteps away, and in-person meetings were almost effortless. But that was then … and this is now. Investing in the right collaboration tools will empower every team member, remote or otherwise, to participate fully, feel included and do their best work.