It is clear that hybrid working is here to stay, with many companies exploring how best to support the new realities of work and maximize employee engagement. While businesses continue to struggle with figuring out what remote working means for them, at least we know that the days of going to the office five days a week are long gone.
As we head into 2023, the drive has fallen to best engage employees, some of whom may struggle to truly connect with each other, as well as with partners and customers. Brian Mignault, senior director for smart collaboration and solutions at Lenovo, explains Best Product Pro the key elements of any hybrid work culture are flexibility and functionality.
“I live here in Raleigh, North Carolina,” says Mignault. “Lenovo has campuses in the Research Triangle Park, which with traffic can take me 45 minutes in the morning and 45 minutes in the afternoon to get home. Instead of being stuck in a traffic jam for an hour and a half, I now have the option to take my children to school, play sports or occasionally pick them up from school.
“That flexibility has improved my life and given me the opportunity to do things differently. But I also have the opportunity to be more productive and functional in my role on a daily basis.”
What many hybrid workers struggle with, including Mignault, is how meetings can pile up throughout the workday. These can start at 7:30 am and continue into the wee hours of the evening, he continues. While there is no silver bullet, the key lies in making the meeting experience much more intuitive, seamless, and engaging – with technology that helps create parity between in-person and remote meetings.
It’s something that Lenovo discovered four or five years ago with the rise of hybrid work that further emphasized the need to invest in improving the meeting experience and making it truly immersive. “Think about the time you walked into a room in the conference room and there might have been an audio puck in the middle of the table,” he says. attend that meeting? The outside employee who was outside the room that no one saw.
Now, Mignault suggests the industry is engaged in a major overhaul of the conference room, meeting structure, and the future of work itself. Hybrid work, the number of days in the office and even the specter of a four-day work week are all discussed. As you look further into the future, you start thinking about different technologies such as augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and artificial intelligence (AI) and how they can be integrated into improving the hybrid work culture.
However, ensuring a sustainable transition to hybrid working will not come without challenges, with safety being an important consideration. It is a concern that Lenovo has discussed at length with its partners Intel® and Microsoft.
“If you look at Intel technology, from a vPro perspective, that’s a big part of our platform that we have with our ThinkSmart solutions here at Lenovo,” he says. “Intel is one of our key partners in all aspects of our portfolio here at Lenovo, but if you look at our collaboration solutions, it’s built on Intel architecture and Intel vPro is a really important technology to me as we look at our software stack and how we manage meeting rooms.”
An example of the technology in action revolves around deploying patches to a conference room, or being able to see whether or not a conference room is being used effectively and how often it is being used. Mignault uses the ThinkSmart Manager software, powered by Intel vPro technology, to do this.
“In my opinion, when thinking about solutions that customers benefit from working together, I want people to think about one thing — and that’s simplicity — because things can get complicated very, very quickly,” he says.
Watch the video above to hear our full conversation with Lenovo’s Brian Mignault and learn more about how you can use the latest technologies to build a sustainable hybrid work culture.
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