Navigating the ‘messy middle’ in hybrid workspaces

Karachi: The remote-work world that we embracedat the height of the pandemic has evolved with blended, hybrid environments now taking centre stage. This will define the post-pandemic business landscape, according to Microsoft’s latest Work Trend Index (WTI).“The best of both worlds” is what employees surveyed in the WTI are after: 73 percent want flexible remote-work options to continue, while, at the same time, 67 percent are craving more in-person time with their teams.

WTI figures show that 46 percent of the globally surveyed employees were considering leaving their current employer because they can work from home. In the EMEA region, this figure, although lower at 36 percent, is still significant. As such, a company’s approach to hybrid working will define “who stays and who goes,”the index notes.

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What’s the sentiment in Pakistan?Last year, news outlet Nikkei Asiareported that emerging nations such as Pakistan, India, and Bangladesh have a strong presence in the global remote-work market. In fact, the article notes that, in 2020, workers from these countries made up over 80 percent of the remote workforce. With economies reopening after pandemic-induced lockdowns, companies will be able to implement an effective hybrid workspace, having had equal success operating exclusively in-person and exclusively online. The importance of balancing the two comes down to employee wellbeing – offering the flexibility of remote work alongside the collaborative, social aspect of seeing colleagues in person.

 Just like the rest of the business world, we’re learning as we roll out these hybrid-enabling changes. On what we’ve learnt, Nicole Herskowitz, Microsoft Teams General Manager, highlights that hybrid meetings have been a game-changer for shaping a successful work environment.

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For Microsoft, Herskowitz shares that following the “ABC” practice on Teams-based meetings has been key. The ‘A’ is for Audio, because having the right tech to give everyone an equal opportunity to be heard clearly is a cornerstone of inclusive collaboration. The ‘B’ is for Bring Your Own Device (turning on your camera but muting your mic).  ‘C’ is about Collaboration; specifically, about assigning a facilitator to streamline interactions between virtual and in-office meeting attendees.

As the WTI highlighted, enabling successful hybrid working will mean reimagining office space and investing in supporting technology. Microsoft has innovated on the technology front with new Teams Rooms features to better manage the messy middle. There’s a Front Row layout where the video gallery is at the bottom of the screen, spread out horizontally.. The Surface Hub capabilities in Teams Rooms have also been enhanced to offer more ways to collaborate seamlessly.

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