B2B Tech Talk with Ingram Micro
B2B Tech Talk with Ingram Micro

Episode · 2 months ago

Crafting hybrid work environments and leveraging collaboration technology with Michelle Ritz


We’re all still in an experiment when it comes to hybrid work. Companies are trying multiple approaches and methods for finding sustainable success among remote and in-person workers.  

Despite the challenges and friction with the hybrid model, studies show demand for flexibility and autonomy is only growing among employees. 

Shelby Skrhak speaks with Michelle Ritz, regional product marketing manager at Jabra, about: 

- How office spaces are shifting

- The impact of meeting equity

- Collaboration technology  

To join the discussion, follow us on Twitter @IngramTechSol #B2BTechTalk 

Listen to this episode and more like it by subscribing to B2B Tech Talk on Spotify,Apple Podcasts or Stitcher. Or, tune in on our website.

You're listening to B two, B tech talk with Ingram Micro, the place to learn about new technology and technological advances before they become mainstream. This podcast is sponsored by Ingram Micro's imagine next. It's not about the destination, it's about going someplace you never thought possible. Go to imagine next, DOT INGRAM MICRO DOT com to find out more. Let's get into it. Welcome to B two, B tech talk with Ingram micro. I'm your host, Shelby Skirt Hawk, and our guest today is Michelle Roots, Regional Project Marketing Manager for Jabra. Michelle, welcome, thanks so much. She'll be so happy to be here today. Excellent. Well, you know, today we are talking about jobbers hybrid ways of working, report for which explores three different areas. There was worker autonomy, workspaces and technology. So I want to break those down. The first I wanted to kind of share the introductory paragraph because I thought it was actually a good state of the union, if you will, for where we are with hybrid working and said we're two years into the greatest work experiment of all time. What began as a necessary shift to remote work has evolved into a long term exploration of hybrid ways of working together. We've had the opportunity to completely reinvent how, when and where we work. So let me ask you, Michelle, what does today's Office Space Look like? Yeah, that's a great question, shelby, and what's interesting is I think we're still living in this experiment. You know, I think over the last few years organizations have been talking about what this return to office will look like and now, over the last few months, we've actually been able to really live it and go back to the office and see what the discussions have been and how to implement those in real time. So when we talk about like, what does an office space look like, or where we're working from, I think anywhere could be an office space. Is What we're discovered over...

...the last few years and that, in terms of hybrid it's really about having the space, technology and organizational processes all working together to make that successful return to office. When we look at what organizations and people, you know knowledge workers, are looking for in terms of their office space, they want to have a space set's, you know, quiet, where they can focus if they need to work individually, meeting rooms that are equipped with technology, typically video and audio, so that they can include people that are working from home in addition to people that are in the office, but also flexible access to desk space depending on WHO's coming in the office, and then just potentially one room virtual meeting rooms, so if I need to interact with somebody who's not in the office, I can have space to do that. So we're looking at different, you know, areas and spaces for how organizations will set up their offices as people start to return more and more to the office. Yeah, well, you know the landscape for Wote work forces. It's really changed since our original remote work plans. So we're kind of maturing and these remote workforce plans and we're still in that experiment, like you said. So why is worker autonomy an important factor in a successful remote workforce? I think we've seen that organizations and employees like agree that a flexible, hybrid working model is important. But in addition to that it's also, like you said, that word autonomy and the flexibility. You know, knowledge workers have proven over the last few years that they can be productive working from home. Um, and we know in our stats from our report that people want the autonomy to work where they want to work, when it's important to them. To manage their own schedules. Sixty five percent of employees say they want to manage their own schedules and being able to have the autonomy to do what I need to do, either if it's in the office to meet with somebody or if it's something...

I need to do individually, and I do that better from home. Being able to have the flexibility to choose. That is really important, and what we're seeing is that the workforce, employees, are actually getting gravitating towards companies that will allow them to have that autonomy. That is actually taking over as one of the main criterias over compensation and other parks that organizations offer. Being able to have that flexibility and autonomy is really a driver for when people are looking to join new organizations. That's so true. I mean, you know, it used to be that the perks were, you know, we're free drinks and food at the office, but now you know, the kind of the hot park is really because we realized, you know, maybe there's more to than just spending an hour in the car to get to work, being there and spending an hour in the car to get back. It really is fascinating and I think so this report. Then the I guess the second pillar of it was studying workplaces. So can you share some of those insights about return to work versus work from anywhere? Are there generational factors that play into this? Absolutely, and, like I mentioned just a moment ago, we know that organizations and employees are aligned to having a hybrid working model to be able to work in the office if they need to meet with somebody or if it's conducive to being in the office, working from their home location certain times during the week, or even from a third location. And that's what we're seeing as well, is that it's not necessarily the homework office. It's even having that flexibility to work in a busy cafe or an airport, but having the technology and the tools to be able to do that productively. Um and and as you mentioned just a moment ago, the flexibility and tying to that autonomy is being able to make your own work schedule. We know that. You know, while we're here in the term of digital fatigue and there's this blur between work and home life balance, employees are still saying that they have a better work life balance because they're able to do what works for them in...

...terms of being able to leave and pick up their kids midday or take a call from a busy airport, so being able to fit that into their schedule. But when we look at office spaces in terms of your point, shall be about the generation. We know that, as this is growing, workers are already considering changing jobs for employees that offer that hybrid option. On overall level, it's about forty of workers are saying this, but we see that that's higher from millennials. Sixty three percent of millennials have said that considered changing their job to work for an employee that offers that hybrid option and that seventy seven percent prefer to work for a company that gives them that flexibility. You know, they'd rather be able to have the autonomy, autonomy to work from anywhere, the ability to work from, you know, their schedule. They prefer that over a fancy corporate headquarter location and going into the office, you know, five days a week. And what about the generations that actually entered the workforce when all of this was happening? They've only known work from from anywhere or remote work. How does the workplace look to them now? Absolutely there, there can definitely be you know people who have joined the workforce who have never been in the office. They've only been full remote. So now having to adjust to that. It takes planning and I think that was one of the key things for that call out in the beginning is is how it really ties together the space, technology and organizational processes, because we know hybrid working works, but it also takes a little bit more planning in terms of do I have the right tools to work from home or the office? If I'm productive in the office and I need to go home or have that time in between that transit, how do I ensure that I remain productive? I have my full set up here with my audio, my video, my laptop, a space to sit? So it's just really thinking about and planning these specific details that we've never had to think about in order to remain productive no matter where we're working right well, I actually just the other day I read a...

New York Times opinion piece. It said hybrid models should not create new hierarchies that place a premium on in person facetime. So that's a topic that we're starting to hear about. This idea of meeting equity. So for those that are are new to that, that concept, can you talk a little bit about meeting on equities with remote versus on site employees? And I guess how technology is is part of that conversation? Absolutely, and I think from our stats that we've learned is we know that more than half of employees are concerned about how their careers are going to progress if they're full remote. So that meeting equity is a huge concern. They're worried about if they are only remote and they're not in the office, do they have access to the same resources as people in the office, and not just resources that are, you know, tangible items, but resources of access to, you know, my my direct boss, you know, do I have that facetime with my leaders that I would get if I'm in the office? How do I mimic that remotely? So we definitely talk about, you know, that meeting equity and keeping collaboration human, being able to ensure that if I'm a remote participant, I still have that equitable access to the resources in the room I feel like I can be heard and hear what's happening. So just thinking through all of the new dynamics that a hybrid working model means. It means you have to consider the people in the room, but also the foreign participants and making sure that everyone feels that they can have that, you know, share equity of being able to have their voice heard and also participate right right. Well, the third part of the study was about collaboration technology. So what did the study say about this and and how is Jobra addressing those needs of the collaboration technologies that are out there? So, when we look at the report itself, we know that the stats are around, you know, offering technology bundles.

So if I feel like I, as an employee, have the resources, the technology at my fingertips to work from home productively, go into the office and transition, I feel like I can overcome that hurdle of my career and being remote because I have access to that. So I think being able to have a technology bundle. We know that organizations are providing products and that's great. We know that employees expect that their organizations provided to them. If they're not getting a technology bundle or the tools, that's when they typically default to using either what they have at home, the default camera or audio on their laptop, which does not always provide that best experience. So providing the best in class technology for your employees is really going to help bridge that gap. And then we think about what jobras bringing to the table. We know that video has become a crucial point in driving these experiences, mimicking that meeting equity. You know, when we think about over the last two years, because everybody was pretty much working remotely, we all had meeting equity because we were all a little boxed on the screen. So how do we replicate that going forward? How do we really make sure that that's, you know, the same equity as we go back and some people are in the office and some people are working remotely. So what we really work to do within job on our video collaboration solutions are pancast portfolio, is bring intelligent meeting room experiences and that's around being able to see everyone within that room. If I'm a foreign participant, we have that virtual director, so if I'm watching a conference room and there's a panic cast fifty there, it'll automatically frame the active speakers so I get a better view of WHO's speaking, versus that, you know, really feign screen of like six people across the table and not knowing who's who's participating and who's saying what. And then an additional experiences that we're driving. We'll have our dadynamic composition really shortly, which will again mimic that close up of the four, up to four people in that same room, kind of what we've been used to over the last four years, and then taking that...

...a step further, we also offer live whiteboard streaming. So if you think about that as a real world example, I'm a far on participant. There's brainstorming and a white board there. I typically wouldn't be able to see that. With our streaming content camera you can actually see. The foreign participants can see live what's being added to that White Board, so they're able to have access to that resource within that room. Yeah, that's interesting. Well, Um, you know we've talked a lot about about video but uh also, you know, let's focus a little bit on just the audio. You Know How critical is clearer audio and I guess what's possible with really great audio equipment. And you know what, it's funny because we we think about how critical video is, but if we don't have audio then that really puts a damper on on any sort of collaboration or communication. So we can't overlook how important audio is and good audio. You know, it adds to the digital fatigue. From our studies, we know that if we've presented the same information, one with clear audio one with audio that's garbles or has echo, it's actually perceived differently on the presenter. The participants view the presenter differently if the audio isn't so good. So as an impact on you, the one who's actually presenting the information. So we've done a lot of you know, just updating of our headsets and just really driving home the need for professional and certified headsets, being able to have that linked angle so that you are connected to your laptop, being able to have the boom arm with open office standards so that it is blocking out any background noise and you don't have to worry about, you know, people hearing the noise behind you. So just really ensuring that you get great quality audio as well as seamless integrations with the platforms that we're all, you know, really living our days on these days. Um, in terms of those certifications. Yeah, well, as we start to wrap up our episode, we always ask our guests the same final question and that's where do you see to technology going in the next year? I know that's...

...broad but uh, I guess within this space, where where is the technology going this year? You know, it's robby. Is Interesting and what I hear a lot of across both audio and video is about where we talked about those intelligent meeting experiences. So within Jabra from the video side, just really expanding on the intelligent experiences that we're offering, but also artificial intelligence and AI. We see that coming across even within, you know, the contact centers we we engage with. Being able to have that artificial intelligence to help guide the users of the headsets and just give them data that they can use to make adjustments is really going to drive technology into the future. So we'll be seeing a lot of that across the board in our video experiences as well as audio well. Um, for listeners who want to follow up or find out more about what we talked about today, when they reach out, they can reach out to the Jabber team at Ingram micro we actually have an emails Jabra at Ingram Micro Com. Or for any other product references, feel free to check out job or dot com and look through any of the products pages that we have there excellent. Well, Michelle, I really appreciate your time and your inside and the conversation today. Thank you so much for joining me. Thank you so much for shelby, for having me. It's been wonderful, and thank you listeners for tuning in and subscribing to B two B tech talk with Ingram micro. If you like this episode or have a question, please join the discussion on twitter with the Hashtag B two B Tech Talk. Until next time, I'm shelby scare talk. You've been listening to B two B tech talk with Ingram micro. This episode was sponsored by Ingram Micro's imagine next. B Two B tech talk is a joint production with sweet fish media and Ingram micro. Ingram micro production handled by Laura Burton and Christine Fan. To not miss an episode, subscribe today on your favorite podcast platform.

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