You can read about how a device and the applications it holds must meet the needs and the role of an employee in the previous blog. For modern working, you have to manage both people in the office and people working remotely.

“Hey Mirjam, how was your family party this weekend?” – “Yeah, it was great to be able to celebrate my birthday with everyone. We had nice weather and my parents came too, my father’s back up and running, we enjoyed seeing everyone (… five minutes later): “… but let’s start the meeting, we’ve plenty to discuss. Hans, can you turn on the screens to bring Annemarie and Joris in? They’re working from home and on site today.”

Does the above situation sound familiar? In our introduction to this blog series on modern working, we said that modern working includes more than just the necessary cloud solutions. It’s also about a new way of working, codes of conduct and agreements. In meetings at the office that also involve employees who are working in a different location, we tend not to start the video call until the formal part of the discussion starts. And that’s a shame, because this means that those who work remotely miss a very important part: the social talk.

This chit-chat is what lubricates all the wheels of communication. By talking about things that aren’t related to work, you get to know each other better. And once you know each other better, you also have more understanding for, and trust in, each other. This is valuable for collaboration.

That’s why it’s important to make room for informal conversation. In an organisation where work is (also) done remotely, these informal moments are less spontaneous. To ensure good connections between the office and home (or wherever else), it’s important to consider this carefully and have clear arrangements and agreements in place.

For example, agree that the video link will start as soon as the first person is in the meeting room and will only switch off again when the last person leaves the meeting room, so that those employees, customers and partners who are working remotely can also join in the social chat before and after the meeting itself.

Maintain team spirit

Of course, there are other ways to maintain and grow team spirit, such as organising a weekly online breakfast session, or arranging a certain day in the month when everyone is in the office for a few hours for drinks on Friday lunchtime.

Other things also need to be agreed to create good links between those in the office and those working remotely. When are you available as a department, for example? Between 8:30am and 5pm? Or are you going to have different hours? And only by phone and email? Or, for example, also via WhatsApp or chat? What have you agreed about this? Think about the department’s response time and ‘opening hours’.

Application and devices

When we talk about hybrid working and what’s needed for a good connection between the office and a remote workplace, we’re also talking about applications and equipment. This includes applications that provide a single point of contact by integrating WhatsApp, web chat, telephony and social media. Employees can easily switch between all the different channels from any device and from a single point of contact.

Also think about devices such as video conference room systems to enable someone to join in digitally. Software and hardware that makes it easy for employees and visitors to plug into a device from elsewhere via user-friendly, intuitive software.

We’ll discuss another very important topic of modern working in the next blog post. Here you can read the key things you need to know about the secure workplace, or cybersecurity.