Updated: Apr 28, 2022
Working hybrid is the trend. These tools are mandatory for IT professionals to sustainably implement the new working model.
To make hybrid working your future, you need these tools and technologies.
For IT decision-makers and leaders, one of the biggest challenges today is to help their companies implement new workplace strategies. Before the pandemic, remote work was usually a facet of the work culture - but only necessary in exceptional cases. In the meantime, the signs have reversed: new work models are on the rise, with many companies relying on a mix of presence and remote work - hybrid work is the future, according to many experts.
The trend towards hybrid working also demands a lot from IT managers: they are essentially responsible for supporting the corporate strategy and realising hybrid work in practice. The challenge here is to find the tools that work best, implement them and, along the way, ensure that change processes are easier to manage throughout the company and that the workforce remains productive.
Working hybrid: 11 mandatory tools
We have compiled 11 tools and technologies that are mandatory for IT decision-makers with a hybrid work strategy:
The classic office phone is a discontinued model. Office telephone networks have evolved and now offer the necessary flexibility for hybrid work scenarios. If you still want to hold on to your desk phones: There are new, modern solutions in this area as well.
Telephone system providers include:
Video conferencing solutions
Tools for video conferencing have long been able to do much more than just visualise the other party. 3CX, for example, has equipped its virtual conference rooms with live transcriptions and digital whiteboards. Google Meet now offers automatic subtitles for multilingual discussions. And Zoom has expanded users' ability to control side rooms to give large conferences more face-to-face interaction. At the same time, the pandemic favourite has added richer formatting options for chat rooms.
This is not about hotels and sleeping places, but about making it easier for employees to reserve desks, workstations, conference rooms and so on in the era of hybrid working. The principle of "first come, first served", on the other hand, will very likely lead to conflicts sooner or later that fit neither the new nor the old normal. Hoteling software can also do more and more: some solutions offer point-and-click maps of the workspace, others show the current "owners" of individual desks on a large screen. Still others support reporting that provides information about workspace needs. As companies continue to raise new requirements, the range of functions offered by the solutions is growing rapidly.
Leading providers of hoteling software include:
If it is known where each employee is located, it is also easier to react to infections. High-quality contact tracing software identifies all contacts of infected people. Some solutions ask staff to confirm they are asymptomatic at check-in, others use infrared cameras to take temperatures. Some tools can prevent infections by triggering an alarm when the minimum distance between two people is not reached.
When it comes to contact tracing for hybrid work environments, the following options are open to you:
Productivity tools from the cloud
Cloud-based office software is not new, but the solutions have become indispensable due to the pandemic and are therefore getting better. All these teamwork tools are designed to make it possible to work from anywhere, making them indispensable for hybrid work strategies. While companies continue to provide the hardware for their employees - deploying and securing it is now easier than ever thanks to browser-based tools.
Popular cloud-based productivity suites that can underpin your hybrid work strategy include:
Task management software is not only an indispensable tool for hybrid working. Tools for agile programming teams help project managers track the different parts of a project with tickets. Enterprise software managers, in turn, use their own tools to check what software is running on each machine, and sales teams have relied on CRM systems for years.
None of the solutions in this area were designed specifically for the New Normal - yet they are available wherever employees are in a hybrid work model and help streamline workflows and face-to-face meetings. If you want to go hybrid work in the future, the likelihood is that at no point will all employees be present at the same time. If you have been reluctant to adopt a (better) workflow management system, now is the time to change your mind.
The main providers in terms of scheduling software include:
In the unlikely event that you don't already use a messaging tool in your organisation, you should strongly consider doing so in the era of hybrid working. Messaging tools are ideal for fostering team cohesion when employees are rarely in the office at the same time. That being said, many applications in this space have improved with increased integration with workflow management tools. Upgrading existing systems can also drive up usage rates.
Vendors in this area include, for example:
In addition, open source options are also available, such as:
The pandemic has also turned the world of conferences, conventions and meetings upside down. This has been good for innovation: there are now virtual spaces that are modelled on the large conference centres. These are not just for large events - some companies also use them for hybrid work scenarios, such as internal meetings with the entire workforce.
The new providers of virtual meeting spaces include, for example:
Onboarding tools and training offerings have also evolved: Modern training software enhances the learning experience, for example through variable-speed videos or interactive quiz sessions. Knowledge is more structured than ever before and employees no longer have to wait for training sessions or even come into the office, which accommodates hybrid work scenarios.
Major providers also offer options for company-specific training. These include for example:
For many everyday tasks, an average laptop is sufficient even in the hybrid work age. Some tasks, however, such as video editing or 3D rendering, require more powerful processors and more RAM. Workstation pools with powerful hardware that can be booked via hoteling software are a good solution. Especially if the majority of employees only need more hardware performance in sections.
Not all collaborative interaction has to be done via video conferencing technology. Game companies, for example, use virtual reality worlds to create comprehensive virtual workspaces that integrate the best aspects of real workspaces. There are also some fun gimmicks, like a virtual fireplace. It's likely that even VR won't transform work into pure pleasure, but there's no reason why the new world of hybrid working can't be better than the old pre-pandemic office life.
Providers of virtual collaboration spaces include: