There has been a resurgence in hybrid work throughout the world due to its amazing flexibility and autonomy that is provided to employees. A hybrid workplace is primarily about how we choose to work, but it also encompasses a lot more than just deciding where to work. It is about how we build the relationships that will lead to a successful team, how we enable our teams to work collaboratively both in the office and remotely, and how we enable our teams to communicate with one another in a positive way.
In order to better understand how Zoom enterprise customers approach these critical aspects of hybrid work in their companies, we invited a panel of Zoom enterprise customers to a workshop that we held on July 13 at our recent Work Transformation Summit. A panel of three experts joined us to share the lessons learned about hybrid work and how it will look in the future. The panelists were, Chris Bedi, CDIO at ServiceNow; David Picot, SVP, Real Estate at BJ’s Wholesale Club and Doug Edwards, SVP, Enterprise Associate & Business Solutions at Humana.
There were a number of key takeaways that emerged from the session, including:
Redesign workspaces to accommodate hybrid work and empower connection
It is no coincidence that our workspaces have evolved along with our philosophy about work. In a traditional office, which continues to be dominated by closed offices, traditional meeting rooms, and cubicles, the needs of a modern hybrid workforce cannot be met in such an office, which resembles the traditional office of the past. There has also been considerable work done by our panel of thought leaders to modify their workplaces in order to accommodate the unique needs of the teams they lead:
David Picot, SVP, Real Estate, BJ’s Wholesale Club – Our new open floor plan includes Zoom-enabled technology and a virtual technology that is compatible with the open floor plan. This new office isn’t the same as our old office, which had high cubicle walls and old-fashioned cubicle partitions that separated each department, and now we have a much more open concept. Currently, we have more open seating than we do workstations, and so far, it has proved to be an extremely useful arrangement.”
The Vice President of Humana’s Enterprise Associate & Business Solutions, Douglas Edwards, has taken on a new role. Our”>role.Our team has been making a great deal of effort over the past couple of months to redesign our workspaces so that we can make it easier for our teams to collaborate. As a result of our planning, we were also able to carry out a lot of work in order to help us during that process. It was important for us to be able to fine tune the experience for our employees before they returned to work, so we asked them to choose from five workstyles.”
Chris Bedi, CDIO at ServiceNow – To help facilitate the hybrid mode of working in our office, we have integrated our own technology with innovative new technology such as Zoom Whiteboard in our meeting rooms in order to ensure that not everyone is confined to the office at the same time to complete their work. Because of this, we do not have to have everyone in the office at the same time to use Zoom Whiteboards.
This is still a learning period
It is true that the hybrid work model has held the attention of many organizations for quite some time now, but there is still a great deal to be learned about determining the best possible work structure by taking into account the habits, needs, and preferences of each specific team.
Our panelists had the following to say about the challenges they faced during this learning process:
Douglas Edwards, SVP, Enterprise Associate & Business Solutions at Humana – Even though we did a lot of planning, we are still learning as we go along. As a company, our strategy is to provide guidance in an open-ended and test-and-learn manner, that will allow us, instead of imposing rigid policies on our customers and associates, to pivot based on the needs of those customers and associates. Be flexible about your approach to hybrid work, because once you establish a policy, a lot of things will change as soon as you put it into effect.
Chris Bedi, CDIO at ServiceNow – Our team is really eager to find out the new patterns in the next 12 months with respect to the preferences and the needs of different positions in our international teams around the world, in order to better serve them. After we have learned those new patterns, we can let them go for a while and see how we can use them in planning new strategies to make our workplace even better and more effective based on these new patterns that we have developed as a result of our knowledge of those patterns.
David Picot, SVP, Real Estate, BJ’s Wholesale Club – We have a new environment that I describe as an experimental one, since we are always learning and experimenting in it. It is true that we have hired a lot of experts who have been able to help us in the process, but we do not know for sure if we are on the right track. We need to remain flexible and be prepared to react accordingly to any changes that occur in the future as they occur.
Inclusivity is key
The benefits of hybrid work are evident to both employees and organizations, with employees being able to work wherever they want, at any time, and from whatever location they choose. Meanwhile, organizations are able to support their staff dispersed across multiple time zones and countries thanks to hybrid work. In order to achieve this, organizations must be able to create an environment in which employees feel engaged and included, both in their interactions with colleagues on a daily basis and in the culture that underlies it.
David Picot, SVP, Real Estate, BJ’s Wholesale Club – Since we are a retail company that employs over 30,000 people in total, the majority of our team members will always be in the stores, as we are a company with over 30,000 people working for us most of the time. We firmly believe that it is extremely important that we can reach out to and touch base with them in order for us to accomplish the goals set forth in our report, which is why we put together a series of town hall meetings in order to accomplish just that. Even though they are no longer active, we still have them, and people really enjoy interacting with each other, collaborating, and being able to share a wide variety of topics.”
Chris Bedi, CDIO at ServiceNow – There is no doubt that informal interactions in the workplace, like those that happen in the cafeteria or around the coffee machine, provide an excellent opportunity for an employee to learn about problems that might otherwise go undetected within the office. We must be committed to finding a way for people to have casual and spontaneous connections, regardless of whether they are in-person or remote, in order for inclusivity and connection to be enhanced and I believe we must find a way for these casual and spontaneous interactions to take place.
Douglas Edwards, SVP, Enterprise Associate & Business Solutions at Humana – Regardless of whether one works from home, at work, or somewhere else, doing so should not be a barrier to their career advancement. Our goal is not to get to a point where your career will only advance if you are in the office all the time. In order to create an equal work environment for everyone, the importance of inclusion and equity in workstyles cannot be overlooked.
Flexibility is at the heart of hybrid work
It seems that employees have more flexibility than ever before when it comes to how they prefer to work, with the choice of working from an office, remotely, or combining the two. Despite the fact that flexibility is an important concept for organizations to embrace if they wish to maintain employees that are happy and committed:
Chris Bedi, CDIO at ServiceNow – In our organization, hybrid work is essentially about the ability to be flexible in the way we go about doing things. Apart from respecting the right of our employees to stay at home if they are not comfortable with coming to work, as well as the ability for them to collaborate in person if that is what they feel comfortable doing, we also value the ability for them to collaborate in person if that is what they feel comfortable doing. With Zoom allowing us to sell and provide service to our customers, we are able to provide them with a greater degree of flexibility.”
Douglas Edwards, SVP, Enterprise Associate & Business Solutions at Humana – The innovation in this space is still in its infancy, and I think there is a lot more to come. It’s likely that companies with a well-balanced approach to employee flexibility, as well as opportunities for employees to collaborate in person, will attract a larger pool of talent, and you’ll start seeing other companies follow suit as time goes on.
David Picot, SVP, Real Estate, BJ’s Wholesale Club – As a team, we maintain a flexible work schedule so that we will be in the office on Monday and Tuesday each week; however, in time, we will be able to make further changes to our schedule based on how members feel about the way they want to work and where it would be best for them.
Experience the Work Transformation Summit
Watch the recording of our Work Transformation Summit to get a better understanding of what the future looks like for hybrid work, to find out how your teams and organization can best prepare for it, and to gain insights into how to make it successful.