Hybrid work – Part tech and part culture

Hybrid work blog cover image

Prior to the pandemic, the notion of hybrid work was foreign and in most cases was for the “exceptional situation”. There used to be a small group of remote workers who weren’t near the office, and the road-warriors who were rarely in the office. On average though, working in the office was the norm.

Beginning in 2020, there were headlines, articles, research, and statistics on how hybrid work is here to stay. While some companies have started demanding workers return to the office, most are still trying to figure out how to embrace hybrid work or evolve their existing hybrid work model. Making it work presents technical challenges along with cultural and social challenges.

Leveraging cloud desktop technology facilitates the best environment allowing hybrid work. Access, collaboration, security, and reasonable costs allow employees to work uncompromised in the office, at home, or on the road. Consistent, secure, compliant, and available infrastructure helps define a manageable Hybrid IT model. At the core of this is the user experience. While computing environments, variable costs, and layered security can create challenges for businesses, emerging managed products like Spot PC by NetApp overcome the hurdles with a simple, managed, secure, and ready-to-use fixed-price offering.

A successful hybrid workplace requires the right technology backing it. However, the cultural and social implications are equally important. This requires businesses to carefully balance their approach and policies. Starting with the end goal in mind, businesses must ensure users experience connectedness to not only the applications and data they need, but also to other employees. This is not just a technology issue. The type of work performed along with the need to collaborate with others raises the role of management in making this work. Leading a team of people that at any point can be in the office, on the road, or at home requires technology to connect everyone, tools to enable success, and trust. The personality of the company is determined by more than just the brick-and-mortar office. It is also being defined by the ability for workers to be connected, productive, and engage the applications and data required to get the job done securely without compromise. This does not just mean more Teams or Zoom calls, emails, and posts. Connectivity happens when there’s clarity in expectations. Effective connectedness can occur for hybrid and remote workers through refined communications and feedback.

The key attributes that the best cloud desktop technology enables are listed below. Managed Service Providers (MSPs) have an opportunity to help businesses connect the dots between the “tech” and the business. Ultimately end user computing has a simple purpose, to enable the user to work better.

  • Distance is defined by emotional presence and physical presence. While there is a compelling case for in-person presence and the social implications that come from it, having people that are at times or fully remote is not an excuse for compromise. Companies need to leverage collaboration technology, application and data access, and seamless interfaces to connect people emotionally regardless of location.
  • Managing, and more importantly leading, in these environments require managers to highlight what is expected. While easier in an office setting, this is still possible for distributed workforces. Demonstrating, highlighting, and promoting values through examples and recognition will help define the expectations for all. If you want your team to be bright-eyed, engaged, and visible (cameras on) during remote sessions, then do so yourself. If punctuality is important than start your call on time or even a minute or 2 prior to the scheduled start of the call.
  • Work Hour refinement – The days of defined work hours are morphing into being accessible and available as required. Cloud desktops facilitate this technically, yet management must acknowledge and facilitate this occurring. Establishing trust between all involved parties is paramount.
  • People that aren’t in the office much, or at all, miss out on spontaneous cross-functional interaction. To help overcome this, having employee development plans with cross-functional assignments, activities, and general participation can help fill the gap. Technology can help you accomplish this. As an example, including employees in another function’s Teams or Slack groups is a way to boost interaction.
  • Check in regularly – The notion of remote work, while made possible by technology, is primarily about people. Check in via video calls, schedule regular meetings, and start and end each conversation about the person. Be sincerely interested in the individual, and they will notice.
  • If it’s hard to measure effort when someone is remote, instead measure results. A big concern about remote work is whether people will work too little or even too much. Define expectations more around results and less about effort.
  • If we continue to define the work categorically as “hybrid” it will remain a label. Instead, people work in an office, at home, on the road and back and forth. What we expect in terms of level of engagement, results, and transparency should not be defined by where someone works.

The MSP’s role

Managed Service Providers as the trusted advisor remain the focal point for not only the IT support work yet also for guidance and insight in areas that relate to technology. The formalization and acceptance of hybrid work has its challenges. Being an expert in cloud desktop technology, security, access, and the user-experience with the technology are the cornerstones for any MSP to be seriously considered. Having an understanding, respect, and opinion on the cultural, social, and human aspect of how hybrid work can move from a program to a competitive advantage will help enhance the MSP role in front of the customer.

How Spot PC helps MSPs win

Spot PC is a managed cloud desktop product for MSPs. As a turnkey solution, it includes all the key aspects an MSP requires to deliver a robust cloud desktop solution. Spot PC is also a fixed priced product per seat to the MSP. Gone are the days of variable Azure billing eating into profits or forcing the MSP to deliver the Azure bill outside their fixed-fee managed service. From onboarding, service and support, and the Azure subscription, Spot PC reduces the burden on an MSP allowing them to focus on what they do best: providing a completely managed service, being the customer’s trusted advisor, and helping their customer’s business operate more securely with less compromise to access and performance.

To learn more about Spot PC, please visit https://spot.io/products/spotpc/.