Technology enabled us to safely work remotely during the pandemic, and technology will enable us to work in a hybrid model going forward. A study by Global Workplace Analytics estimates that “25 – 30% of the workforce will be working-from-home multiple days a week by the end of 2021.” So, how do you implement a hybrid work model without breaking the bank? Partially from the potential cost savings of employees working remotely. The same study by Global Workplace Analytics, stated that employers could “save about $11,000 per year for every person who works remotely half of the time.” Employee expectations for their remote work experience are rising, and the technologies necessary to meet those expectations can be confusing. Employees and companies need cloud-based tools that allow them to have video conferences and voice calls, send emails and manage calendars, manage files, create documents and collaborate as a team. Implementing these solutions in a cloud-based, hybrid remote work environment can add to an already complex IT ecosystem. Maintaining your budget related to these hybrid solutions starts by having the right-sized tools for your organization. Taking into consideration cost savings and ease of use here are 4 tools you should focus on for a successful hybrid work model.
1. Cloud Productivity Suite
A Cloud Productivity Suite serves as the backbone of your hybrid work ecosystem. The two main competitors in this space are Microsoft 365 (formerly Office 365) and Google Workspace (formerly G Suite). They both offer per user pricing for a variety of functions that allow your team to work effectively in a hybrid model. Encompassing email, calendars, filesharing, video conferencing and collaboration tools, the cloud productivity suite will enable your team to leverage the tools they need anywhere they have an internet connection.
Define your business requirements and select the suite of tools that best fits your needs. Things to consider include
– Learning curve – What tools are your team members already familiar with?
– Integration – Do you have other cloud-based line-of-business applications, like your financial package or practice management software, that need to integrate with these tools?
– Support – Will you leverage people inside your organization as power users or look to outside professionals to provide support or some combination?
– Implementation and migration – If you are not already in the cloud with all of your systems and tools, who will drive the implementation and migration and any on-going maintenance?
– Security and backup – No matter where your data is stored, it needs to be secure and backed up. Make sure you understand the options available with whatever tools you select.
2. Unified Communication as a Service (UCaaS)
Unified Communication as a Service (UCaaS) is a cloud-based communication solution that offers a secure means to collaborate across multiple channels (voice, video, chat, etc.) and guarantees seamless communications service for in-office and remote employees.
The UCaaS subscription model makes a lot of sense for a hybrid work environment. Unlike traditional models which involve locking a customer in for a specific number of minutes, numbers, and features each year, a subscription model is much more flexible. Companies can use the “as a service” model to add and remove functionalities as they evolve.
5 Benefits of UCaaS:
- Remote work support. UCaaS allows your team to work wherever and whenever by combining all your communication needs to a single cloud-based platform.
- Hands-free maintenance. The headache of setting up, implementing, and maintaining your communication system is no longer yours. Providers will handle all of that for you.
- Security. No need to worry, all your voice traffic, call logs, and usage records will be protected with the highest level of encryption possible.
- Cost-effective. UCaaS eliminates the unnecessary cost of physical infrastructures and virtually everything associated with them.
- Improve efficiency. No more application juggling. No more manual updates. No more communication hang-ups. UCaaS delivers a seamless experience for all of your needs from one platform.
3. Endpoint Hardware
It was no surprise that the study, “Digital Work Transformation: Equipping the Hybrid Workforce Across the World,” finds that organizations that equip their employees with the right remote work technology are more likely to thrive in hybrid and remote work situations.
According to the study, 47% of organizations that already had longer-term digital transformation strategies and investments before COVID-19 are showing strong signs of growth, and 62% of organizations with a longer-term commitment to digital transformation are investing in cameras and headsets for their entire workforce.
According to the study, 48% of North American organizations said they’re investing in peripheral devices like headsets and video cameras to augment their endpoint devices.
If you’re sending employees home with just their laptop and the built-in microphone and camera, you’ll need to invest in better cameras and microphones to create a consistent work experience for in-office and remote workers. You will also need to consider multiple monitors and external keyboards to increase productivity and address ergonomic concerns.
4. Security Operations Center as a Service (SOCaaS)
Cybersecurity is inevitably on your list of things to address this year but if you are like most you are left wondering what the best option for your organization may be. To help address the dynamic cybersecurity landscape you can now rely on outsourced vendors to provide and run your security operations center. Outsourcing to a SOCaaS vendor provides access to industry experts who are dedicated to watch over your digital assets, 24x7x365.
A SOCaaS vendor will provide:
- Simplified data collection & metrics
- Consolidation of your security stack
- Simple, real-world guidance that enables compliance
- Proactive maintenance and endpoint protection
- End-user training
Collaboration leads to success. Take the time to work with your IT team to find the right tools and implement the right processes to make the hybrid work model as safe and productive as possible. If you are not sure where to start The Purple Guys can help! Schedule a time to talk today!