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Reimagining the Hybrid Office
Danielle Cerny /

Reimagining the Hybrid Office

As organizations rekindle onsite work, enabling a culture of collaboration by reimagining office locations to be hybrid by design is more important than ever before. For expert insight into the topic, we interviewed Amy Loomis, Research Director for IDC's worldwide Future of Work market research service in our recent whitepaper, IDC Analyst Connection: Defining a Successful Journey for Office Reentry. In this article, we summarize her main conclusions about the hybrid office phenomena and the steps that need to be taken to foster a collaborative work environment.

The purpose of office work has changed.

As 2021 began and COVID vaccines became available, many organizations started to return to office-based working, but the ever-present health concerns and virus variants have encouraged employers to be more flexible in adopting hybrid work models. In hybrid models, office spaces become a hub for face-to-face collaboration, whiteboarding sessions, relationship and culture building and ad hoc meetings that drive innovation. The question became: How do you ensure that those who are remote can still feel connected and work effectively with employees who are onsite?

The organizational culture of businesses has changed.

In this new world of work, not only are there technological drivers for the new ways of working, but also cultural drivers. In order to succeed, an organization’s culture needs to support multiple ways of working and a dedication to team success over individual accomplishment. In a recent IDC Future of Work Survey, 36% of enterprise business leaders ranked enabling teams to work effectively together as their biggest organizational challenge for remote workers.

The technology needed to support work has changed.

Gone are the days of simply providing a clean office with basic needs for employees, such as temperature control, wifi and computer technology. Now, there are a number of considerations supported by a wide array of technologies that are key to in-office collaboration.

IDC research shows business leaders increasing spending in key technologies to support hybrid work in 2021 are: unified communications as a service (56%), mobile/remote worker productivity tools (53%), device management and security software/SaaS (49%), and virtualized network services (49%).

Forced reentry programs and policies are a risk.

In North America, original assumptions that broad vaccine adoption would eliminate remote and hybrid “experiments” have not come to pass. Many workers are still hesitant to work onsite because of health concerns, wasted time commuting, the inability to have an “anchor” work location, and uncertainty about which colleagues will be onsite when they are in the office. Investments in technology and changing corporate culture will set the stage for a more inclusive work environment that attracts top talent and ensures retention at a time when competition for highly skilled workers is especially fierce.

The full IDC Analyst Connection white paper can be accessed here.