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Now is the time for businesses to prepare to support their future workforce and workspaces. The pre-pandemic days of working in an office are now unrealistic. After a year of working from home, many employees like the format and prefer its flexibility. While some offices may return to in-person work, others will adopt hybrid or fully remote models.

“Happy, enabled, and connected teams can work from anywhere,” says Lynne Oldham, chief people officer at Zoom Video Communications, Inc., who says hybrid workplaces are here to stay.

Collaboration tools

In the last year, collaboration tools have become more crucial than ever, forming an essential linchpin keeping remote and hybrid workers connected.

Investing in collaboration technology will be essential for businesses to enable a successful hybrid workforce. Video communications have already played a significant role in keeping executives, employees, clients, and customers connected. Now they are poised to help bridge workplace gaps even more.

With Zoom Rooms’ innovative Smart Gallery feature, which uses AI to show in-room participants in their own individual squares in the Zoom meeting, all attendees appear to be in the same setting, even though there’s a mix of in-person and virtual attendees. With this feature creating one consistent visual for all, it helps eliminate stress and reduces confusion around who is and isn’t in-office.

The upcoming rollout of Zoom Apps will allow meeting participants to do more during their meetings. With Zoom Apps, they’ll be able to use key business applications directly in the virtual meeting, helping improve workflows. Employees can be more efficient and effective before, during, and after Zoom Meetings — resulting in enhanced employee collaboration and engagement, and efficiency. 

Building forward

Legacy processes and technology can’t keep pace with the evolution of the workplace. Instead, companies need to adopt agile technology that supports employees as they embrace a new way of working. Remaining nimble and eager to try new things will be fundamental for success. 

Zoom’s latest initiative, “Building Forward,” focuses on three principles — talent, transformation, and trust.

Oldham says it’s essential for companies to get and keep great talent. That starts with listening to employees, meeting their needs, and being “far more flexible” than in the past.

“I call it radical flexibility,” says Oldham. “How we can build our organizations around this hybrid workforce and empower our folks to decide when, where, how they work and really evaluate going forward, based on results, rather than whether you’re in the office from 9-to-5.”

She says while people miss the in-person experience, they don’t want it 100 percent of the time anymore. Instead, they want the ability to come into the office to collaborate with the team and then work remotely the rest of the time.

While flexibility is key for supporting the needs of new and existing talent, it’s also important for transforming traditional processes — such as how businesses sell, deliver services, and develop their workforce.

Oldham encourages companies to make the investment in technology now. She says doing so will give your team six months or more to get used to working with the tech, which will help them move into that new business model, whether it’s hybrid or fully remote.

While transformation doesn’t happen overnight, “it’ll drive consistency,” she says. “It’ll drive productivity.”

Supporting employees to work remotely or hybrid can empower them to stay focused and productive. Oldham encourages companies to gauge their employees’ mindset. For example, three times during the pandemic, Zoom has surveyed its employees to find out what their needs are.

“The culture of trust is really creating this thriving company culture where team members feel recognized, valued, and that they’re contributing,” she says. “It doesn’t live in the walls of a building, that lives in your people.”

See how Zoom can help you develop the workplace of the future. https://zoom.us/

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