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.
Common Types of Workplace Technology
Alright, we have now defined workplace technology. What are some of the major types 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).
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?
Video Conferencing Software
Long gone are the days when remote work happened via email and instant messaging apps only. Video conferencing software has grown to be an integral part of our lives during the pandemic -- and it will continue to occupy a hugely important role in the future of work too.
That is why if you want to be an expert workplace tech company, on top of workplace chat platforms and workplace document sharing solutions for example, you should also have video conferencing software in your tech stack.
Employee Survey Platform
There are plenty of workplace tech tools you can use to streamline your HR processes while enabling employee flexibility . But while some of them can be really beneficial for both employers and employees, not all survey platforms are created equally. They have different features, different target markets, and more -- so choose wisely.
Desk Booking and Room Booking System
Not that we want to sell our own (amazing!) product here, but desk booking and room booking systems will make everyone's lives easier. It will promote productivity, help you track workplace statistics, remove friction, and create a seamless hybrid experience for all of your employees.
Visitor Management Software
If your business has to deal with a lot of visitors, you absolutely need visitor management software. This kind of tool will help you keep track of all workplace visitors, ensure workplace safety and organization , and avoid any HR or compliance-related issues.
Work Planning Tool
Last, but not least, a work planning tool is also a must-have piece of workplace technology that will help you improve workplace communication, workplace organization , and enhance workplace productivity.
Technology can make your life not only easier, but also more productive. It can transform your business, the way your employees feel, and, in the end, how efficient, creative, and solution-driven they are in the face of challenges. Embrace the right hybrid technology stack and you'll have plenty of benefits to reap!