Reimagining the Future of Hybrid Work

Connecting a collective of different work styles — Work from Home (WFH) workers, Return to Office (RTO) workers, and Work from Anywhere (WFA) road warriors to achieve experience parity is complex. In fact Forrester Research reports that only 40% of IT leaders have the right remote work tools, policies, and procedures in place to support a hybrid workplace. 

Learn more about Unify Square and our PowerSuite software and managed services to empower enterprise IT to manage this complex hybrid work model.

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Reimagining The Future of Work

We conducted a survey in late 2020 of over 500 enterprise information workers to examine key perspectives on workplace communications and collaboration in 2021 and beyond. Download our eBook now to reveal key insights into what remote work will look like throughout 2021 as communication and collaboration evolves.

The Shift to a Hybrid Workplace

Before shifting to hybrid work, organizations must do some heavy lifting to prepare for and optimize this new workplace model. As with any transformation, complications are bound to arise. The first step is to identify these obstacles and develop a strategy to overcome them.

This new work model is at the heart of hybrid work with a constant stream of channel messages, exchanges of files, and rapid chat threads. Remote work tools and platforms like Microsoft Teams and Zoom are vital tools to employees, and they have to work no matter where they work. IT must take measures to properly administer and secure these cloud-based platforms and prepare for the next phase.

The top six challenges that organizations should prepare for are:

Challenge #1 - Collaboration Security & Governance

Download a Microsoft Teams Collaboration and Security Checklist eBook to begin keeping track of your platform’s security.

Overnight, IT had to enable remote workers with collaboration platforms like Microsoft Teams. This type of rapid deployment was done without governance in mind. Major blind sports were created when it comes to security issues around guest access or over-permissioned users. This virtual environment has only increased, introducing additional risk surface area.

It is essential for organizations to secure their unified communications and collaboration platforms. Implementing policies that directly address the new challenges posed by hybrid and remote work can help carry your company culture into the digital world, ultimately improving the employee experience.

PowerSuite identifies collaboration security anomalies and alerts IT to top problem areas. A unique monitor, measure, and manage approach allows IT to balance risk with end-user productivity.

Challenge #2 - User Adoption

Efficient management of your hybrid and remote teams does not have to be a daunting task. While most remote employees rapidly adopted workstream collaboration platforms like Microsoft Teams, Zoom, and Slack, there are always outliers who struggle with this new technology. This rapid adoption, often without training, poses the question, how can your team identify end-users who not engaged and are excluded from the vital information exchanged via workstream collaboration?

PowerSuite’s advanced adoption metrics identify individuals, teams, or departments with low usage. To aid struggling users, PowerSuite’s Help Desk allows IT to view recent experiences of individual workers.

1. Emphasize overcommunication by having regular check-ins, virtual happy hours, and giving praise.

2. Build a new culture around work flexibility, boundary setting, and personal communications/connections.

3. Encourage time off scheduled blocks for breaks or personal growth.

4. Promote shorter meetings and respect time zones in a distributed team environment.

5. Depending on the nature of work, create new KPIs like Happiness index vs No. of tasks completed to infuse creativity.

We’ve compiled a list of best practices and steps to implement an employee-centric hybrid work environment. Please read our blog about creating a UC IT Champion Program to ease the adoption of new collaboration platforms.

Challenge #3 - Workplace Sprawl

Since the rapid deployment of cloud-based collaboration platforms, IT’s security and compliance departments are now encountering many challenges with this rapid deployment. Two challenges specific to Microsoft Teams that keep coming up are both workspace sprawl in addition to content sprawl.

This problem is due to the architecture of Teams and its deep integration across Microsoft 365 and Azure Active Directory. For instance, every workspace that is created will simultaneously generate a content repository in SharePoint. So, when there’s workspace sprawl, there will also be content sprawl.

There is always a balance to strike between security and productivity, and some companies choose to ignore sprawl rather than regulate it. However, doing so is extremely risky. Lack of data control is one of the largest areas of security risk when it comes to Microsoft Teams sprawl with issues of Data Loss, Data Leakage, and Data Confidentially. 

PowerSuite offers full lifecycle management for workspaces, complete with customizable workflows for automatic resolution. Choose from time- or activity-based expiration for maximum flexibility.

Challenge #4 - Scaling Rapidly

Although we are beginning to return to the office, this workspace is going to look nothing like it did pre-COVID. One of the biggest challenges enterprises are facing when it comes to heading back into the office is the rapid increase in network load caused by employees. It is important to think ahead to how bandwidth and capacity requirements are going to shift with increases in video usage when in the office.

Similarly, with some employees remaining at home, poor Wi-Fi connections are still going to wreak havoc on the home and hybrid workers alike. Lastly, prior to COVID, work from home employees were often treated as 2nd class citizens and received limited support from IT. Now, these employees have much greater expectations from IT and will demand full support from them.

With PowerSuite, your team can identify high-impact bottlenecks that reduce call quality, whether they’re at an office site or at users’ homes.

Challenge #5 - Executive Experiences

Every enterprise has a list of VIP employees that need to receive high-quality support around their UC and collaboration experiences. The list includes C-suite executives and their assistants, as well as customer-facing employees. Ensuring that these VIPs consistently experience high-quality calls when working from home is crucial.

One way to do this is by monitoring their call quality on an ongoing basis. This approach allows IT to create a list of VIPs and see the quality of their calls, which ISP they are using, and their location. This information can then be used to initiate proactive outreach to the VIPs providing quick troubleshooting when issues do arise.

PowerSuite offers proactive tracking of selected groups of users so IT can reach out before the nasty phone call. By identifying areas for quick remediation, PowerSuite helps IT keep these high-touch users happy.

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Challenge #6 - Shadow IT

Shadow IT can be defined as end-users who deploy software or hardware at work that the IT team is unaware of and hasn’t been able to approve or vet. Younger generations are especially guilty of using unapproved software and hardware. They have the app store mentality and are used to finding what they need in an app store rather than waiting for a top-down, IT-approved solution.

Shadow IT is a major security issue. End-users looking to complete their work download applications without considering the security ramifications. In fact, Gartner estimates that in 2020, a third of successful cyber attacks will center on data in Shadow IT applications. With a COVID 19-prompted move to remote work, Shadow IT is more common than ever before. Remote end-users are more likely to pick up unsanctioned applications as they adjust to a work from home environment. With applications not actively managed by IT, major security issues are presented as end-users fail to put the proper settings in place.

PowerSuite identifies unsanctioned adoption of popular UC platforms so IT can choose to take control of application security.

Introducing PowerSuite

The Solution for Hybrid IT Support

Our industry-leading PowerSuite software offers the tools you need to support hybrid work, including work from home, work from anywhere, office work, and everything in between. Orchestrate and deliver effective, reliable, and secure teamwork across multiple collaboration platforms, spanning both cloud and on-premises environments. PowerSuite simplifies the complexity of large enterprise collaboration and communications platforms, presenting a panoramic view of your environment. Manage, amplify, and secure your remote meetings and environment with analytics from PowerSuite.

PowerSuite software creates a unified set of dashboards to surface actionable insights and help to monitor, analyze, and manage a myriad of different collaboration and communications platforms. 

As more organizations manage end-user internet plans, PowerSuite’s unique ISP benchmarking arms you with the information you need to make an educated recommendation when it comes to quality.
PowerSuite’s Help Desk insights guide agents towards optimizing end-user experience, recommending when a Wi-Fi upgrade or a platform switch would have meaningful impact.
UC IT professionals know that some locations always perform worse. Now, IT can understand how their user experience measures up at different locations. Identify previously dismissed underlying issues with location-based benchmarks.

Now, helpdesk agents can quickly see the impact of location on an individual user’s call quality. Key location metrics and benchmarks identify whether the user is having an unusually poor experience or whether there’s a systemic issue. Learn More.

More organizations are beginning to run a multi-platform UC environment. PowerSuite benchmarks UC platform performance at the country, state, and city-level so you can give your sites and remote users the best quality experience available. Learn More.

PowerSuite identifies key trends in office-based vs remote calls and conferences so that IT can understand the percentage of work that's happening remotely. Learn More.

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PowerSuite helps IT teams understand their remote workers’ experiences with the ability to track key groups of high-touch users, like executives. Learn More.

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PowerSuite’s remote work Insights Center cards highlight actionable steps IT can take to improve the experiences of remote workers, from highlighting problematic internet service providers to surfacing UC platform location issues. Learn More.

Watch how PowerSuite can help you manage WFM & Hybrid Workers

Hybrid Work Tech Support

PowerSuite Cloud Managed Services for Work from Home Tech Support

Is your department struggling to keep up with the demands of a newly remote workforce? Enjoy peace of mind with 24x7x365 PowerSuite Cloud Managed Services. Our operations engineers are experts at not only keeping your UC or UCaaS environment up and running, but also proactively improving call quality. PowerSuite Cloud Managed Services goes the extra mile, resolving issues with platform and hardware vendors to save IT another headache.

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Check Out these Hybrid Work Resources


How To Optimize Unified Communications for Hybrid Work Transition

The switch to a hybrid work environment will undoubtedly be a steep challenge for enterprises. Not only are we entering an uncharted structure of work life, but the transition process will differ across companies, verticals, and geographies. Underlying this change, however, will be the need for UC and collaboration platform support to ensure worker productivity in this new hybrid environment. In this blog, we will go over the various phases of moving from remote work to hybrid work, while identifying how UC management and analytics SaaS tools can help along the way.

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