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Incorporating Lessons Learned Into Your Workplace Strategy

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A modern workplace
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We’re heading into the season of reckoning – Q4 always sees a flurry of planning for the next year —and in planning ahead, IT and enterprises leaders also have to reflect on what they’ve learned all year. Those 2021 lessons will inform their technology decisions, which in turn impact everyone in their enterprise.
 
Perhaps, the biggest workplace issue that enterprise leaders will be grappling with in the year ahead is what the future of work will look like for their organization. For online retailer Amazon, their anticipated return to office has been replaced with maximizing flexibility, as my colleague Lisa Schmeiser wrote in a recent WorkSpace Connect article. Instead of having everyone back in the office in January 2022, Amazon will let individual teams decide on the remote/in-person balance that works best for their group. More broadly, employees are also looking to hybrid work and workplace flexibility in the future, with a survey from commercial real estate services company Jones Lang LaSalle Inc finding that 66% of survey respondents wanted to shift to a hybrid work model.
 
Though some lessons learned have profound implications (like where you work in the case of Amazon), others might be less drastic but still important. In my latest WorkSpace Connect article, I explored the issue of office noise, looking at some recent research from device maker Poly. The problem of office noise in the open office isn’t anything new, but as some workers head back into the office, they are sharing their concerns of “noise rage” directed toward loud colleagues.
 
Part of addressing noisy offices comes down to technology. A host of device makers, including Poly, offers a range of headset and video devices with built-in noise cancellation or suppression, and the same feature is now a staple of cloud-based video meeting services. In addition to solving this issue with tech, a variety of low-tech solutions from soundproofing areas or providing private or semi-private workstations can help.
 
Whether it’s rolling out a new working style or simply trying to cut down the amount of noise in the office when employees return, IT, HR, and faculty departments will need to come together like never before, as I shared in a separate WorkSpace Connect article that recapped Cisco’s Enterprise Connect keynote session. “The interesting thing about hybrid work is that in many more ways it's more complex than when everyone worked in the office or when everyone … started working at home,” said Jeetu Patel, EVP & GM of security and collaboration business units for Cisco.
 
That workplace complexity will necessitate IT, HR, and facilities to come together. “HR and people teams are going to be thinking about the impact of hybrid work on culture and employee well-being and recruiting and retention and team dynamics and so much more, and facilities [teams] are completely reimagining the physical workspace itself,” Patel said.
 
In addition to ensuring that teams have the right communications and collaboration tools to work productively wherever, IT professionals will have to work with facilities to ensure that the workplace of the future is video-enabled. According to Frost & Sullivan's research on video conferencing devices, out of the 110 million meeting rooms and classrooms around the world, only 6.4% of them are video-enabled. So, in the next year, IT can expect to put – and support – more cameras and equipment in more places than ever before.
 
So, as we wrap up another year of unique workplace challenges, I’m imploring everyone involved in making workplace decisions for the next year to take a minute or two to reflect and see how perspective and flexibility can help them to work across departments and address workplace priorities.
 
To read the latest articles published on our sister website WorkSpace Connect in their entirety, please click the links below:

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