The old adage “What goes up must come down” can also be applied to health crises, and the coronavirus pandemic seems to be receding. But now’s not the time for a victory dance. Companies have many questions to answer as they plan for a return to the office. Will it be a full return to the office or a hybrid approach? Are they able to support everyone, regardless of location? Do they have the right technologies to ensure smooth operations?
When the WHO labelled COVID-19 a pandemic, and the lockdowns began, companies had to quickly set up a winning environment in which their people could be both happy and productive at home. But over a year has passed since this initial en masse shift. According to a recent Randstad study, a sizable proportion of people, burned out on virus restrictions and eager to move past their apprehensions, are adopting an optimistic stance regarding the future. Of the 27,000 workers in 34 markets surveyed, 78 per cent said they are ready to return to the office either part of the week or full-time.
“We are witnessing positive trends across the board which will hopefully prepare us for a return to some version of normal,” said Jabra VP of Sales Mark Derby. “One of the big challenges right now for companies is how to sort through all that has happened – all the adjustments, all the band-aids, all the ad hoc – and to retain only those elements that make sense over the long term.”
One element of business that will be as important post-pandemic as before – and likely even more important – is communication and collaboration.
“Working in isolation has shown people that they can maintain lines of communication and collaborate effectively through technology,” said Derby. “‘Normal’ going forward will be about flexibility and the ability to adapt, and tools and solutions like the ones we at Jabra offer deliver exactly that.”
New world of work
In his 2020 book Ten Lessons for a Post-Pandemic World, journalist and political commentator Fareed Zakaria says life in the post-Covid world will be, “in many aspects, a sped-up version of the world we knew.” This certainly applies to technology. The pandemic served to accelerate the adoption of many technologies that would otherwise have taken many years to go mainstream.
“The key is people’s willingness to adapt,” said Derby. “Covid has proven that people, given the right motivation – in this case, the smooth continuation of business operations – can and do quickly come on board technologies that even a few months earlier were thought of as toys – nice to play with but optional. What we at Jabra offer is a way to move effectively from high-tough analog interactions to digital experiences.”
Coming into the new world of work, said Derby, companies want the assurance that they’re prepared for whatever comes, or for whatever scenario plays out. “While having good people is key, what 2020 showed us is that having the right tools can and does make a huge difference, whether it’s for simplifying people’s work or helping drive engagement. We know business success comes from getting the right talent – and keeping it – and a big part of that is giving your people the tools they need to do their job effectively.”
The right tools
Jabra unified communications tools are a great way for companies to ensure their people perform and are engaged, regardless of whether they’re working at home, at the office, or in a mixed or “hybrid” scenario:
- Jabra’s portfolio of audio headsets is certified and optimized for Microsoft Teams:
- Jabra Evolve2 headsets meet Microsoft’s audio quality standard requirements, suppressing background noise – everything from in-office buzz and chatter to the sounds of family and home if working remotely. Each device has a dedicated Teams button and call and volume control.
- Jabra Engage headsets deliver A-grade call performance and industry-leading noise cancellation for busy work environments (call center, development lab, busy household, etc). These headsets work out of the box with over 10,000 traditional deskphones.
- Jabra’s PanaCast is the world’s first intelligent 180° Panoramic-4K plug-and-play video conferencing solution – a powerful communication and collaboration tool for employees in and out of the office.
“It’s an expectation now that companies will provide their employees with the tools they need to thrive in a location-irrelevant hybrid reality,” said Derby. “Jabra is in the fortunate position of being in the business of making possible, this kind of flexibility.”