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What does Hybrid Workplace mean?

Updated: Aug 10, 2022

The Covid-19 pandemic wreaked havoc across the world. It caused immeasurable loss, fear, and anxiety. The world’s economies are still struggling to recover.

In this article we look at market research on how the workplace environment has changed, for better and worse. How we work will most probably never return to the “normal” we were accustomed to. We must adapt not only from an employer perspective but also from an employee perspective. The pandemic has brought us hybrid work environments, and these are here to stay.

The Hybrid Workplace - An Overview

A hybrid work environment has various integrated components like working from the office and working remotely. Changes in workspaces bring challenges and opportunities to how we work.

Best workplace practices should be redefined, and companies need to identify a work schedule and workplace culture that will best suit their requirements going forward.

Pros and Cons to Remote or Hybrid Workspaces

Microsoft’s Work Trend Index Report studied 30,000 people across 31 countries and examined data from LinkedIn and Microsoft 365. The report found that there are new trends, insights and benefits to consider in the hybrid work model:

  • A wider talent pool is available to companies because geographical restrictions no longer apply

  • The younger generation potentially struggles more to make meaningful connections in the company structure and have difficulty engaging in calls and virtual meetings

  • Personal networks develop as members of a certain team work closely together but are isolated from the other teams or departments. Yet, when these teams must return to certain workspaces or office setups, they struggle with changes

  • Creating a digital family can improve productivity. Employees who relate to each other feel closer to their co-workers and report higher productivity

  • Additional benefits include better time management as the work to home commute is no longer an issue. Working remotely offers a certain degree of flexibility, as well as the benefit of being able to work after office hours, which boosts productivity

  • Some companies no longer require office buildings, saving on costs such as rent and other overheads. When a physical meeting space is required, conference centres or co-working spaces are booked for the required duration as a once-off cost.

  • There are disadvantages. And they not as simple as a ‘need to cuddle the dog when working from home’ memes we have seen online. On top of that, the South African environment add additional barriers to working from home:

  • Home offices don’t always have all the infrastructure such as Wi-Fi, the latest technology, or stable utilities and power supply.

  • Leaders may lose touch with their employees.

  • New employees feel very isolated and overwhelmed because they may lack the support of their teams.

  • Other factors that negate the benefits of remote home working also include home network speeds, security, and power outages.

Bridging the Gap

Technology can help. Thankfully, the development of software and IT infrastructure is also evolving at a rapid pace. Microsoft’s development of the Power Platform and necessary infrastructures to host services and storage in the cloud has revolutionised endless possibilities.

From providing a personal OneDrive cloud storage solution to being able to host servers and related services in the cloud. Technological advances have reduced the requirement for physical hardware and local and international offices to host server rooms. This in turn reduces the costs a company incurs in maintaining and upgrading their hardware.

Companies can utilise online resources and only pay for the services they are using. They can also customise and administer their digital environment and adjust according to unique company needs.

Cloud Solutions

Microsoft’s Cloud platform inspires flexible work using apps and solutions such as Microsoft Teams, Microsoft Security, Microsoft 365, and the Power Platform.

Collaborative apps such as Microsoft Teams are more than just meeting room software. Apart from the basic ability to meet and share content, the sheer expansiveness and customizable enhancements for Teams makes it a must for every company.

SharePoint plays a big role in the Teams and the cloud environment. When you create a team in Microsoft Teams, it automatically creates a SharePoint site in the background, where the documents and files are safely stored.

What is the difference between SharePoint and OneDrive?

Both OneDrive and SharePoint are great cloud-based storage solutions, but the main

distinction is what you will be putting in that storage.

OneDrive is more personal. It’s your go-to for files you do not yet want to share with anyone. However, users can share certain content on their One Drives with selected team members or colleagues.

SharePoint is more collaborative, and this is where you would ideally want co-workers to

have input when teams are working on a specific project.

Microsoft has seamlessly integrated many of these apps in the hybrid workspace. So, SharePoint and Teams can be enhanced and customised with PowerApps and Power Automate.

The Point of All This

The aim is to increase productivity and automate repetitive or everyday tasks so employees and companies can operate more efficiently. Microsoft’s Cloud-based solutions and Power Platform have a wide range of apps and services available, with more being added almost daily. This fusion of technology is a perfect fit for the current trends towards developing a better and improved hybrid workplace culture.

Marisa Anderson

SharePoint Consultant : Digital Workplace

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