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Arkadin is now operating as the Cloud Communications division of NTT Ltd. Together we do great things

Hybrid working: Are you ready for the challenges and opportunities ahead?

hybrid working challenges and opportunities

The world has changed. And with it, you and your organization will have too. You’ve adapted how you work and perhaps accelerated changes that, until the pandemic, were not a priority. There’s nothing like a crisis to focus attention.

Before Covid-19, we were already working with many clients keen to transform how their organizations communicated and collaborated. Across all sectors, around the world, similar concerns: How can we boost productivity? How do we reduce complexity and too many suppliers? How do we keep costs under control?

These organizations were ahead of the curve. When Covid-19 closed offices and sent people home, we worked with those clients to accelerate those plans. Yet with other clients, in times of need, I’m proud to say we were also able to respond; to help enterprises answer those questions and to enable business continuity; and in turn support the vital work they were doing to benefit others, across all sectors, around the world.

Anywhere can be an effective workplace

Today, we see that in some countries, offices are re-opening and that people are returning to their former workplaces. There are many variations and exceptions to this but overall, we’re seeing a fundamental change. It’s not just about a ‘return to the office’. Organizations are finding new ways of working: reducing their footprint; remodelling their buildings; re-thinking how, when and where their people should work. Similarly, employees have found new ways to be and do.

On a personal note, I’ve found that working remotely – whether meeting clients, partners or colleagues – it’s possible to maintain that vital human connection and develop those all-important relationships. The effectiveness and efficiency of the technology has also meant my own productivity has increased. The same is probably true for you and for many of your employees. The fact is an effective workspace can be anywhere. The pandemic has shown that, across most industries and regions, remote working is proven as viable.

Just a few years ago, this way of working would not have been possible. The technology has allowed continuity – and allowed the world to function. The innovation we have seen from our partners, the dedication and hard work from our employees, and the willingness of clients to put their trust in us… these have all shone like beacons over the last twenty months or so.

Evolving to optimize the employee experience

But for some, remote working is not without its challenges: Whether it be feeling isolated, or having meeting fatigue, difficulty in separating home and work life, or feeling excluded in some way, there are many reasons why being together is important in our lives.  

We see that most employees want the option to work from company premises. As you seek to optimize your operating model, it’s clear that hybrid working must satisfy evolving employee expectations but also vital enterprise functions. The challenge then is to ensure that your organizational strategies, policies and technology can cater for hybrid working. And that as you evolve, you can optimize your employee experience – and ensure a consistent and frictionless customer experience too.

Supporting sustainability initiatives

Change however, is reflected not just at an individual, local or even regional level. The rise of hybrid working, in redefined office spaces, and – perhaps – more-purposeful travel is in keeping with another trend: sustainability. In parallel with the pandemic, there is now an increased focus on this. Many enterprises have now signed up to meet international sustainability and workplace standards and are working toward net-zero targets.

It’s something we’re committed to helping our clients achieve – and world-class communications and collaboration technology has a major part to play in this. Cloud-based contact centers let people work securely from anywhere on any device; virtual and hybrid events help bring people together when they can’t or don’t need to be together; meeting-room solutions enable colleagues to connect with others and unite office-based and multiple remote audiences.

The pace of innovation continues to increase

Working with our technology partners, we have been able to provide the tools and support needed. And the pace of innovation only increases. Cisco, for example, has introduced more than 800 new features and devices in recent months, enhancing its Webex platform for ­­­­­meetings, calling, messaging, and event management directed at hybrid work. Developments in machine learning and AI technology are bringing people closer than ever, allowing for better communication and collaboration, even at a distance.

New challenges and new opportunities

As a business at the forefront of connecting others, enabling superior communication and collaboration, this has been a time like no other. The future remains full of challenges – but also opportunities too – and these are a few of the questions that we are now helping our clients answer:

·        ‘As employees return, how do we ensure sufficient network bandwidth to handle virtual events and increased video streaming?’

·        Similarly. ‘With hybrid working, how can we ensure low-cost, carrier-grade cloud calls no matter the location or the device?’ 

·        Another prescient question: ‘No matter where our employees are working from, how do we migrate our contact center to the cloud and deliver a world-class customer experience using unified communications technology?’

·        Across all of these, there is an ever-present concern, only heightened by remote working: ‘How do we ensure that our data is always secure, whether across a connection or at rest?’

Everything is interconnected

Whatever your challenges are, whether in human resources, IT or operations, I encourage you to discuss them with us so that together we can address them – and do so holistically. Everything is interconnected.

We’re all on the same journey, and we thank you for making us your technology services partner of choice. We’re here to help you stay ahead in the new world of hybrid working, scalable, sustainable and secure.

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About the author

Mark Alexander is CEO, Cloud Communications division of NTT Ltd

Together we do great things