Hybrid workplaces make sense from a lot of points of view. They offer businesses and employees alike the opportunity to be flexible and rapidly adjust both to preference and necessity. And yet, if you want to succeed at implementing a solid hybrid work policy, you should definitely consider the workplace technology that's needed to make it really...work.
Wondering what that may be?
We've piled up the top five tools for businesses embracing hybrid work model. Read on to find out more.
What Is Workplace Technology?
Let's start with the basics: what is, in fact, workplace technology and how do we define it in the context of this article?
In short, workplace technology is the set of tools needed to run a workplace at any given time. Whether you're an employee sending emails from your smartphone or a manager looking to give real-time feedback on workplace performance, workplace technology has become an integral part of the office culture over the past few years.
It's workplace technology that allows businesses to make use of the flexibility they need in order to carry on with their operations smoothly, whether it is through cloud-based solutions for projects or platforms enabling better workplace communications. The workplace technology stack your business needs to combine intranets and extranets, CRM systems and project management tools, as well as additional tools that will make your hybrid work model work.
Essential Categories of Hybrid Work Tools
Alright, we have now defined workplace technology. What are some of the major categories of workplace tech all businesses need to consider (particularly when running on a hybrid model?)
Collaboration and Communication Solutions
Workplace collaboration and communication tools are so essential you simply cannot ignore them. One of the major perks for employees in a hybrid workplace is autonomy, so if you want to foster workplace cohesion and collaboration among your workforce, you should consider investing in workplace communication and collaboration software.
Collaboration tools and their functionalities vary from workplace to workplace. If you're looking for a digital workplace that will help your employees understand each other and their projects better, you should consider implementing collaboration and communication tools that enable everyone to communicate effectively (live or in a-sync, depending on the work model you have chosen for your business.
Work and Project Management Solutions
If workplace collaboration tools are a great way to improve cohesion and communication, project management solutions provide an ideal way to keep your employees on the same page and up to date with projects, goals and priorities.
What's even more important is that project management tools also give you a platform for performance tracking, allowing you to keep everyone in the loop when it comes to workplace progress.
Work and project management solutions come in all shapes and sizes, so it's crucial to determine what kind of tool suits your organization best. Some tools are more rigid, others are super-flexible, and others are built almost exclusively for a-sync teams. Shop around and choose the one that works best for you.
Not all workplace tech needs to have a real-time component, calendar solutions being one of the few exceptions. Much like project management solutions, workplace calendars provide employees with an up-to-date overview of projects and goals. Also similarly to other workplace tools, calendar solutions should be flexible enough for daily work adjustments without losing sight of workplace priorities and deadlines.
Finding a payroll solution to suit your business is important because it 's the backbone of any workplace. After all, it's how you pay your workforce and compensate them for their achievements, right?
As with workplace project management and calendar solutions, payroll software should be accurate enough to keep workplace finances running smoothly (and your team happy to get their well-deserved payments in time).
Digital Workspace Scheduling Systems
Never underestimate the power of an organized schedule! Coordinating resources between various physical locations while managing remote workers calls for robust scheduling systems like Yarooms, which offer real-time updates on resource availability and bookings for conference rooms, leading to minimized conflicts based on occupancy levels.
Cybersecurity and Access Management Tools
Increased digitalization also means increased vulnerability against cyber threats. Organizations must adopt cybersecurity essentials like 1Password, which ensures password management and data encryption across devices, ensuring safety amidst higher online traffic volume.
Document Sharing and Management Applications
Information access is crucial when collaborating from different locations—thus necessitating reliable document-sharing solutions like Google Drive or Dropbox that allow file storing, version control, and synchronization across devices with shared folders, making working together efficient.
Time Tracking and Productivity Monitoring Solutions
Optimizing work schedules and measuring productivity is critical to thriving in a hybrid landscape. Tools like Toggl Track or Harvest provide valuable insight into task progress and timelines, facilitate performance reviews, and ensure individuals remain on top of their workload.
How Can Technology Support Hybrid Work?
In a world where everyone moves freely and flexibly from home offices and remote locations to more traditional office settings, technology plays a huge role in bridging the gap and connecting people, places, and projects in a seamless way.
So, in a hybrid workplace where employees have the freedom to work from any location and on different projects, technology provides both practical support and inspiration. It's where your entire business operations reside, where product development happens, where marketing campaigns are created, and where your entire company simply functions.
Workplace technology is obviously important in non-hybrid contexts too. But with some employees working on site and others remotely, the tech you use to connect everyone becomes even more important.
Here are some essential ways technology can help you provide a better, more efficient support system for your hybrid business.
Automated Repetitive Tasks and Reduced Overhead Costs
Workplace software helps employees automate repetitive tasks , providing them with more time to work on important projects rather than wasting time on the small stuff.
For instance, some of the tools you can use to automate repetitive tasks include document collaboration software, automated project management systems, automated calendars , and even time tracking tools. All these workplace technologies should be capable of giving your employees more time to dedicate themselves to workplace projects and goals instead of wasting hours on tedious admin tasks.
Obviously, workplace connectivity is even more important in a hybrid environment than in a traditional on-site workplace.
When workplace connectivity is a necessity, technology helps employees stay connected with each other and the rest of your company. The easier communication in the workplace becomes, the more efficient your company runs.
For workplace connectivity, you should rely on messaging software that can keep employees in touch with co-workers irrespective of their location. Email, chat tools, social collaboration, as well as documentation tools are all very important when you want to make sure your business runs smoothly regardless of where your teams decide to work from.
Improved Employee Experience
Last, but definitely not least, workplace technology can also help you improve your employee experience. For instance, meeting room and desk booking software can make the entire hybrid experience more seamless for the employees. Instead of focusing on finding a meeting room last-minute or not having a designated desk for the days when they choose to work from the office, they can simply focus on putting their skills and expertise to good use for the business.
Furthermore, surveying tools, as well as workplace feedback tools , are also useful when you want to gather feedback from your employees on workplace culture, workplace satisfaction, workplace productivity, workplace flexibility, and so on.
Things to Consider When Choosing Workplace Technology
Fortunately for Facility Managers, Human Resource professionals, and Heads of Operations, the market is no short of options when it comes to workplace technology.
How do you make sure you pick the best tech for your business, though?
Here are some tips you should definitely consider.
Ease of Use
The workplace software you choose should be easy to use. You don't want something too simple that it limits your employees' capability to complete their tasks, but at the same time, you don't want something complicated and convoluted from which they would only get frustrated.
In other words, technology in the workplace should provide a good balance between ease of use and productivity. It shouldn't need extensive training for your employees to operate with it successfully, it should easily integrate with your existing tools, and it should help your organization run smoothly without making the workplace experience unpleasant for your employees.
No tool exists in a void, on its own. Your different pieces of workplace tech need to communicate with each other. They need to be interoperable and work together for your workplace to function.
If technology is not interoperable, it's useless, and you should get rid of it ASAP, because it will actually make you waste more time and effort, as well as make your entire business more prone to human error.
Quality and Accessibility of Support
Workplace technology should have great support to back it up. Technical problems can happen at any moment, and the software you choose needs to be there for you when they do. In other words, it needs a professional team that is ready to provide expert assistance for your workplace to run smoothly at all times.
Mobile applications are no longer just "nice to have". They are essential to the smooth operation of pretty much any kind of business (and thus, any kind of workplace tech).
There's a reason why workplace chat apps, workplace document sharing applications, workplace task management tools , and workplace calendars all have mobile apps - and the reason is that it's useful and needed. In fact, deploying a workplace tech solution that doesn't support its employees' need to use it on the go is basically causing your business to never be at its best.
Data makes the world go round. So your workplace technology needs to be able to provide you with data insights that help you figure out how well your workplace is doing, what needs improving, and what opportunities lie ahead of it.
Your workplace technology should also be easy to scale and adapt to your growing business' needs. It should grow with your business so it never becomes irrelevant, and so you never need to replace it.
And most importantly, workplace technology is still workplace technology even if you use it for work-from-home days. So the workplace tech stack approach is useful whether you adopt the hybrid work model or not.
Last, but definitely not least, the workplace tech you choose to embrace as a company should also be within your budget. At the end of the day, you want every tool your employees use to provide the business with at least some sort of ROI -- so pricing will surely matter when it comes to making the final call. It should not, however, be the leading criterion in choosing technology for your workplace (as that could lead to picking inefficient or unsuitable tools).
5 Essential Tools in Your Hybrid Workplace Tech Stack
So, all this being said and explained, what are some of the absolutely crucial tools you should consider for a hybrid workplace tech stack?
Comprehensive Review of Project Management Suites (e.g., Asana, Trello)
You need the best project management tools to facilitate seamless remote work. Take Asana and Trello as prime examples — both offer essential features like task scheduling, time-tracking capabilities, prioritizing tasks, and delegating functions to different team members.
Asana distinguishes itself with its inclusive workspace, allowing comprehensive oversight of individual tasks within major projects. Here, everyone involved can see their role in the bigger picture, which massively boosts employee engagement.
On the other side stands Trello. Its visually oriented interface based on a board system enables users to easily oversee status changes or track progress by dragging and dropping various boards. Its lightweight design is perfect for teams that value simplicity over complex feature sets.
As unique as they are in their ways, it's evident that these tools significantly improve coordination among remote workers.
In-depth Look at Communication Software (e.g., Slack, Zoom)
Effective communication is pivotal to streamlined operations in any hybrid workplace model. Services such as Slack and Zoom have become top picks among the best remote work tools used globally.
Slack triumphs with its channel-based messaging system, making collaborations more organized and accessible. The autocomplete feature's ability to reference documents saves valuable time during high-paced discussions, too!
Zoom has been a revelation since the onset of COVID-19 and has become instrumental in virtual conference organizations. Displaying sterling video quality and reliable connectivity even with larger groups maintained business dynamics unperturbed during lockdowns across the globe.
Such software choices remain fundamental pillars in maintaining operational synchrony amongst spread-out workforce units today.
Benefits of Space Utilization Tools (e.g., Yarooms)
Managing logistical issues typically encountered while coordinating physical space usage becomes easier when utilizing specialized software like Yarooms Workplace Experience Platform.
Yarooms streamlines procedures for booking meeting rooms. With its easy-to-use interface, employees can view room availability and make reservations well in advance. The platform not only streamlines desk reservations or meeting room bookings but also offers valuable workplace analytics, supports hybrid work planning, and seamlessly integrates with various tools and applications.
Such tools empower businesses to maximize their workspace capacity while offering logistical support to employees.
Evaluating File Collaboration Services (e.g., Google Drive, Dropbox)
File collaboration services such as Google Drive and Dropbox rank amongst the best tools for remote work due to their seamless integration capabilities. They provide flexible storage, anywhere-accessibility, sharing options, and collaborative editing of files.
Google Drive shines for teams heavily reliant on real-time collaboration via Google Docs, Sheets, or Slides, making it a go-to for many organizations.
Dropbox distinguishes itself with its powerful file-syncing service, allowing users to securely access & share files across several devices instantaneously without interruption.
This amalgamation of quick access, interaction, and collaboration makes these tools vital cogs in hybrid working environments.
Protecting Your Hybrid Team: Security Software Essentials (e.g., 1Password)
Ensuring data protection when personnel are spread over different locations becomes critical. Thankfully, software like 1Password serves as a reliable security solution, effectively managing passwords and confidential information across teams.
1Password connects every team member under a singular vault, where they can conveniently store, share, and access company-wide resources. Also, bear in mind its high-caliber data encryption, which makes this software a trustworthy safeguard against cyber threats while navigating the complex world of remote work.
In such an era dependent on digital collaboration across vast distances, utilizing services like 1Password ensures your company's intellectual property remains protected in all these endeavors.
Specialized Tools for Niche Needs
Without a doubt, the software for working remotely must be carefully selected to target both generic and specific needs within unique organizational contexts. In this regard, specialized tools that address niche demands in a remote or hybrid working environment are convenient. These tools help streamline specific tasks while fostering engagement even when teams are geographically distributed.
Collaborative Note-Taking and Brainstorming Utilities (e.g., Miro, Notion)
Regarding collaborative brainstorming, let's dive into two superior tools: Miro and Notion. Digital whiteboards like Miro offer visual collaboration features that essentially replicate the flexibility of traditional brainstorming sessions on steroids. You can conceptualize ideas, engage with Post-it notes virtually, map out plans, and create diagrams—endless possibilities!
On the other hand, Notion provides a versatile platform for note-taking. It allows you to organize information using tables, databases, and Kanban boards, among other options. Plus, it creates easy-to-navigate wikis for your team members, ensuring everyone is up-to-date with developments.
While each offers something different—Miro being more visual and interactive and Notion acting as an organized hub—they complement each other perfectly in a well-equipped remote working technology toolkit.
Asynchronous Communication Platforms (e.g., Loom, Twist)
The nature of remote work often leads us to realize that not all communication needs to happen simultaneously--enter asynchronous communication platforms such as Loom and Twist.
Loom enables swift video recordings, allowing users to share their screens effortlessly or simply communicate through video messages rather than typing lengthy emails. Allowing the viewers to pause, rewind, or rewatch will enhance clarity while saving time.
Conversely, Twist operates by organizing conversations into structured threads instead of real-time messages, which one might miss due to time zone differences or during focused work hours, promoting healthy work practices while ensuring everyone stays informed.
Creative and Development Collaboration Tools (e.g., Figma, JIRA)
Working in a creative or development team remotely? Fret not! Applications like Figma and JIRA are some of the best technologies for working remotely within these fields.
Figma offers real-time collaboration, allowing designers to collaborate simultaneously on projects—an absolute game-changer for remote design teams. The bonus of being browser-based ensures you won't need extra resources to run it effectively.
JIRA, a project management tool built for developers, is perfect for software development processes, specifically agile methods. It allows meticulous tracking of issues, bugs, or tasks and customizable workflows, enabling better productivity amongst teams with minimal disruptions.
Switching to an adept mix of specialized tools can be your secret weapon for fostering efficiency while alleviating many pain points associated with remote or hybrid work setups.
Hybrid Work Technology Rollout Strategy
Transitioning into a hybrid working model requires careful planning and strategic execution. It's not merely about selecting the right equipment; it also involves creating an effective rollout strategy for your chosen hybrid work technology.
Developing an Implementation Plan for New Tools
Once you've identified the tools that best suit your team's needs, it's time to set the wheels in motion with a structured implementation plan. This plan should outline each stage of the tool rollout process, detailing everything from setup stages and user onboarding to post-launch evaluations.
Here are some steps to consider:
- Setup Stage: Coordinating with IT teams or service vendor support personnel ensures a seamless technical setup.
- User Onboarding: Prepare comprehensive user guides and tutorials for different learning styles.
- Test Phase: Conduct a pilot test within select modules or departments before going company-wide.
- Launch Phase: Formally introduce the new system across all departments, ensuring everyone is on board.
- Post-Launch Evaluation: Carefully monitor usage, solicit feedback, and prepare to make any necessary tweaks after launch.
This strategic implementation of hybrid working technology will ensure minimal disruptions while maximizing efficiency.
Educating Teams Through Comprehensive Training Programs
Training is an essential cog in the hybrid work machine, promoting competence and confidence among users as they navigate new systems and workflows.
However, many times, people find it easier to attend a group Q&A session to ask a question than admit they don't know how to use a tool. This suggests that one-size-fits-all educational initiatives may fall short of their objectives due to individual comfort levels and learning techniques.
Therefore, implementing a multifaceted training approach becomes vital. Here are some ideas:
- Provide written guides highlighting key features of each newly adopted tech tool.
- Schedule live demonstrations or webinars for real-time instruction and troubleshooting.
- Facilitate group discussion sessions and one-on-one Q&A opportunities to answer lingering questions.
Such diversified educational methods help ensure comprehensive understanding across your team members, pushing your hybrid work strategy toward success.
Establishing Continuous Feedback Loops to Ensure Tool Efficacy
Rolling out a new technology stack is not a set-and-forget mission; it demands ongoing attention. Just like any other operational aspect, assessing the effectiveness of your hybrid working technology is crucial.
Regular feedback cycles offer an opportunity to identify areas for improvement, capture user sentiment, and ensure tool functionality aligns with business goals.
Remember: open communication lines foster transparency and engagement within teams. Encourage every team member's input on their experience with the newly implemented tools. Next, collate this data into actionable strategies to drive a better user experience while boosting efficiency in your hybrid workplace.
Guided by these principles - strategic planning, multifaceted education initiatives, and continuous feedback loops - you're well on your way to designing an effective rollout strategy for new technologies in your hybrid workplace.
Avoiding Common Pitfalls When Selecting Hybrid Work Tools
Finding suitable hybrid working tools for your company could be daunting and uncertain. However, staying ahead of potential stumbling blocks simplifies this process. Let's delve into some prevalent errors teams often make in their search and learn how we can shrewdly side-step them.
Navigating Technology Overwhelm with a Focused Approach
As tech markets continue expanding, the number of available solutions increases rapidly. It's an understandable temptation to want all state-of-the-art features incorporated into your hybrid work model. Unfortunately, this sometimes overwhelms technology — where you grapple with bloated software suites that may end up more hindrance than help.
The principal tip I'll offer here is straightforward: stay focused on your team's requirements. Begin by outlining your business needs meticulously, then align them with possible tools. Your organizational goals should guide every decision along this path, allowing you to skip fancy but unnecessary extra tools.
A practical method might be preparing an ordered list matching each need to a prospective solution:
- Efficient collaboration across remote teams – such as Asana or Slack…
- Secure file sharing – Dropbox Business suites are worth considering…
And so forth.
Once clear about expectations and requirements from these tools, greater focus ensues, leading toward sensible eventual choices.
Balancing Features with User-Friendliness to Enhance Adoption
Another pitfall entails obsessing over feature-rich apps while neglecting user experience (UX). While essential features remain crucial during the selection procedure – the simplicity of usage cannot slip under the radar either. Look out for demo versions or free trials before finalizing decisions; these provide insights regarding team adaptability correlating to different tools.
In essence, striking a careful balance between advanced functionalities and user-friendly interfaces propels successful implementation. By dodging such pitfalls, you'll end up with efficient hybrid working tools fitting into your workflows and achieving easier staff adoption while promoting a productive work culture.