Building a safe and hybrid world of work: The three main things it entails
A study estimates that 98% of future meetings will have at least one participant working remotely. Therefore, organisations would need to optimise experiences for employees to innovate and remain productive wherever they are.
Over the last 18 months, safety and wellbeing have become top priorities at every level – individual, company, and country. However, due to the accelerated digital transformation triggered by the pandemic, the connotations of safety have widened. With the world becoming more connected and digitized by the day, the safety of people and organisations is becoming rooted in cybersecurity as the attack surface widens and becomes more complex. In fact, according to CERT, India saw a spike of almost 300% in cyberattacks in 2020 over 2019.
This will only expand going forward, as the preference for digital alternatives across industries continues to rise exponentially. In this context, one of the most significant tectonic shifts taking place is in the way we work. As digital technologies transform the future workplace, how and where work happens is becoming irrelevant.
The future of work – Hybrid, resilient, secure
Simply put, the future of work is hybrid. A study estimates that 98% of future meetings will have at least one participant working remotely. Therefore, organisations would need to optimise experiences for employees to innovate and remain productive wherever they are.
To be successful in the era of hybrid work, organisations need to ensure the solutions they adopt are flexible, inclusive, supportive, secure, and easily managed on the backend by IT. Firstly, in terms of flexibility, businesses will have different work styles, roles, and environments. In response, platforms will need to be smart and sophisticated enough to accommodate those environments. But it's not just about flexibility. It's also about making sure that no one feels left out and everyone has an equal experience. The third area is extending support to our coworkers virtually.
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We believe empathy is a superpower, and it is impossible to have sustained productivity without wellbeing. Thus, hybrid work solutions must create a safe space for people to be their best selves and offer intelligence that allows employees to make informed decisions about how they spend their time.
Lastly and most importantly, protecting the organisation, employees, and data is critical. As teams become more dispersed and workflows become virtualized, people will become the first line of defense. So, security must be built from the ground up in everything we make and use, not bolted on as an afterthought. The way organizations must think about this is - secure by design and private by default.
Here, identifying and leveraging the right virtual collaboration platforms – which are quickly becoming the greatest enabler of productivity and wellbeing for hybrid workforces – is vital.
The success of the hybrid workplace is grounded in secure virtual collaboration
Collaboration without compromise is key, especially as these platforms continue to facilitate critical functions like governance, citizen services, banking, and more. We've seen this in our company as well. India has consistently recorded the 2nd highest usage of secure video calling solutions (like Webex) globally since March last year, with a 40% increase in usage in March 2021 year-over-year. Interestingly, this rise is driven not by enterprises but by sectors like small businesses, governance, healthcare, education, etc.
To cater to these growing and varied needs, secure collaboration platforms should provide end-to-end data security from device to device, in transit, at rest, and when it's stored. It should authenticate users into the ecosystem based on their role and permissions and secure each interaction, regardless of whether it's messaging, calling, content sharing, or video. And finally, it should seamlessly and securely integrate with other productivity tools used throughout the user's workday.
Over the past year, we have been working to deliver a secure collaboration experience that is 10x better than in-person interactions, and we have introduced several innovations across our in-house solution to make this happen.
Hybrid workplaces are the key to building a safer, more inclusive world
The way organisations worked pre-pandemic and during the pandemic will be starkly different in the next wave of work – where good enough is simply not enough. By 2024, in-person meetings will account for just 25% of enterprise meetings, dropping from 60% before the pandemic.
In this increasingly hybrid world, virtual collaboration is no longer viewed as just a communication tool; it is becoming the connective tissue within an organization's culture. Beyond just holding meetings, secure collaboration platforms are essential to creating intelligent and inclusive workspaces that can help companies reach and acquire a broader talent base and help diverse teams work harmoniously.
If these changing tides are harnessed quickly adequately, we can build a far safer, more inclusive, and equitable world – this is where the true potential of hybrid workplaces lies.
This article has been written by Minhaj Zia, Director for Collaboration Sales, Cisco India & SAARC