Grappling with the challenge and opportunity of hybrid work will be a priority for many organizations into the foreseeable future. According to research by McKinsey, only 10 per cent of employees will spend more than 80 per cent of their time in the office, and 50 per cent will spend more than half of their time working remotely.
99% of employees spent more than 80 per cent of their time in the office in the pre-COVID-19 era.
More than two-thirds of companies lacked a plan for handling remote work, according to a study. The appetite for hybrid work is there, but not the knowledge of how to achieve it. Collaboration with a strategic business partner that can deliver solutions, rather than single products remains a big opportunity for the channel.
“For partners, it’s really how they can help implement what a workplace strategy might look like and how they can help their customers improve elements like work-life balance, productivity and engagement.”
Audio and video can be used to boost engagement, but there is more to it. The removal of desks and design of more collaborative spaces are things that can be done by those in the office.
The channel needs to be active participants in the customer journey in order to help design the vision and deliver on the potential of technology.
Addressing the hybrid challenge
The approach to the hybrid work model needs to account for several key trends but not all of them are obvious.
1) The changing nature of work itself and the differences in how work is done.
Customer expectations have been growing around real-time interactions.
The expanding security challenge and how to mitigate against risks to protect both businesses and customers.
In this new age of digital innovation, technology disruption and keeping up with the rate of change are very important.
How employees can be comfortable and safe working from home.
The role of our distribution business is to enable our partners with the tools they need in each of these spaces. The ASG business unit was launched by Ingram Micro to bring together tools around collaboration, cloud, cybersecurity, mobile and remote working applications. By ensuring that each of these tools can contribute towards a cohesive vision for the hybrid workplace, they were able to empower their partners to have those strategic and whole-of-business conversations with their customers.
Some of our partners will find that their customers already have the right collaboration tools, but perhaps those haven’t been configured correctly or they might not have the right security tool. We take a modular approach so our partners can pick and choose what work from home looks like in their environment.
The ongoing priority & opportunity
Hybrid work isn’t a technology challenge, Armstrong said. The technology is there and readily available. The challenge – and opportunity – is in the engagement. Organisations that take meaningful action now can drive inclusivity, improve productivity and enable much higher levels of interactivity, which in turn helps boost employee happiness, engagement, and productivity.
“This doesn’t need to be a long sales cycle,” Armstrong said. “If a customer has skilled partners that understand the technology and can use Ingram Micro to help facilitate solutions, they go in and quite quickly articulate some of the business challenges and how the hybrid approach can address those. Then, with the modular design approach, they can install and deploy something very quickly.”
From there, Armstrong added, there was a real opportunity to engage more deeply with customers, particularly as more solutions and innovations start coming to market. Improved signage for meeting rooms in the office, for example, or better calendar systems, backed with AI smarts, to help workers better manage the balance of meetings in their workday. Hybrid work is an ongoing engagement opportunity.
As businesses look to find more sophisticated ways to engage the workforce, hybrid work will continue to be a key opportunity and priority in the years ahead. New technologies and innovations will continue to contribute to the vision of a successful hybrid working environment if partners bring new technologies and innovations.
To know more about hybrid work, register here and to help partners drive hybrid office adoption, Ingram Micro is running a promotion for notebook and desktop bundles. Click here for more information.
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