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UnifiedCommunications.com 2021 Technology Trends and Themes: Embracing the New Remote and Hybrid Workplace

Considering the dramatic and rapid shift in how and where work is conducted, and for at least the first quarter of the year, many offices will likely continue in a remote working environment. Companies will need to ensure they utilize change management, upgrade the c-suite, adapt continuous collaboration solutions, and have a means of measuring work productivity to optimize performance and effectiveness. UnifiedCommunications.com identifies the technology trends and themes, whether working at home, hybrid, or in the office, that showcase how businesses can utilize devices and technology to provide collaboration and workflow solutions.

“One thing we learned in 2020 is how critical technology is for everything in our lives, especially to ensure business continuity”

“One thing we learned in 2020 is how critical technology is for everything in our lives, especially to ensure business continuity,” says Ryan Herbst, technology expert and Chief Device Strategist for UnifiedCommunications.com. “We have new expectations about what the hybrid office and work from home environment looks like, and generally, this year, the companies that double down on collaboration technology will hold a significant competitive advantage. To maintain effective employee and customer engagement, remote and hybrid workplaces must address specific needs which ultimately require technology solutions.”

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To optimize work environments, UnifiedCommunications.com (UC) offers insights into four trends and themes for business owners, educators, students, and hybrid or remote workers to consider, especially as the pandemic is expected to continue through 2021:

  • Any New Technology Implementation Requires Change Management: Organizations may need assistance implementing and adopting solutions across the entire company. There needs to be Change Management – an understanding of the role certain technology/devices have in the workflow and crafting a strategy to ensure mass adoption of that technology in the enterprise. For example – Microsoft Teams adoption went from 44 million active users in March 2020 to 115 million daily active users in October 2020 – a number only expected to grow. As a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner in Communications and Cloud Productivity, UC utilizes extensive expertise and years of experience in the Teams meeting room and personal device ecosystem to provide both the right array of products, help train employees, and show organizations how to accomplish their goals with those products – ultimately setting a business up for success. Change management will increase productivity, reduce wasteful spending, and improve technology adoption.
  • C-Suite Demands Look Different: Executives have been among the first users in most organizations to return to the office and divide their time between office and home. Because the C-suite spends most of the workday in meetings, many executives require collaboration technology at both the home office and in the office that can provide a meeting experience equivalent to an in-person office meeting. The C-suite should include technology that feature simplicity: a 1-touch join, company branding, sophisticated digital backgrounds, and all-in-one, non-invasive meeting rooms solutions that can be positioned on a desk or floor and not damage the home or interfere with the room’s aesthetic.
  • Continuous Collaboration: We must reconfigure technology to accommodate collaboration and adapt to multiple scenarios like all remote, hybrid, or any combination of both. In 2021, we will see businesses utilize technology to create collaboration spaces where everyone feels included regardless of whether they are in the room or remote. This goes beyond everyone simply seeing and being heard and includes access to shared content, whiteboards, live captions, and meeting recording. Meeting rooms in 2021 are beginning to leverage cloud-based AI to count people, enforce social distancing, automatically transcribe meetings, and remove unwanted background noise from interfering with the experience regardless of whether it was generated in the room or via a remote participant.
  • Measuring Productivity in Remote/Hybrid Settings: In 2021 companies will have to refine and get creative with how they measure work performance. The art will be crafting creative ways of measuring that give workers a degree of liberty while ensuring accountability. Warm metrics are going to be key and these metrics need to allow freedom and responsibility. In addition, IoT data will come into play as well as leveraging systems and dashboards. Microsoft Teams offers amazing analytics on how people are spending their work time, including work-life balance metrics, which can help leaders formulate easy-to-understand goals and responsibilities with the mission and the vision of each department cascading down crystal clear. Simultaneously, it is important for technology and device purveyors to teach their customers about the technologies out there and listen to them, so we can help them meet their collaboration goals.

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“Companies need to think beyond Wi-Fi, hardware, and CPU power and focus on the devices and technology that fundamentally provide productivity and collaboration. They need to expand their investments to ensure they can support hybrid and remote work in a productive and meaningful way,” offers Ryan. “UnifiedCommunications.com sees it as our responsibility to help customers navigate the collaboration challenges of 2021 and create an environment where they can thrive.”

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