guide for hybrid workplace platform implementation

Hybrid Workplace Platforms: A Complete Guide [w/ Expert Advice]

The concept of workplace flexibility isn’t new, but its evolution has accelerated due to global challenges like COVID-19. Before the pandemic, remote work was often considered a perk or a niche-based role rather than the norm. This evolution began with the digitisation of the workplace, progressed with the adoption of flexible work policies, and now has settled into what many consider the future of work: the hybrid model (typically implemented using hybrid workplace platforms). Before we understand the role of hybrid workplace platforms, let’s understand how work has evolved in the last few decades.

Historically, work was strictly in-office, but the prevalence of the internet and mobile devices has changed that. Technology enabled employees to communicate and collaborate from anywhere in the world at any time, setting the stage for remote work. The response to the pandemic showed that many jobs could still be done from home, increasing the importance of flexibility.

This article aims to be a comprehensive guide for organisations looking to transition to a hybrid work mode, using a hybrid workplace platform. Together, we will explore the key features, pre-implementation assessment and strategies, and upcoming trends in hybrid workplace platforms. Let’s get started!

Table of Contents

Necessity of the Hybrid Work Model for Hybrid Workplace Platforms

So, what is the hybrid work model and why is it essential to implement hybrid workplace platforms? The hybrid work model is a blend of on-site and remote work. It provides a balanced approach that has gained popularity due to its ability to combine structure and social interaction of office work with the flexibility of remote work.

Offering a hybrid work model helps companies attract and retain top talent in a competitive job market. As per the 2024 Frazer Jones report, 89% of Asian organisations are concerned about employee retention! How do you maintain employee satisfaction and retention? By prioritising and accommodating their preferences, whenever feasible. Additionally, having a hybrid workplace strategy ensures business continuity during disruptions like the pandemic. Why? Because companies can quickly adapt operations when unexpected challenges occur.

“Hybrid work models have become essential in today’s dynamic business environment. As someone who’s witnessed firsthand the transformative power of flexibility, I’ve seen how it not only empowers employees to excel professionally but also enriches their lives outside of work.”

Angela Spence, Global Employee Experience Leader.

The Role of Hybrid Workspace Platforms in Modern Work Environments

Hybrid workplace platforms are at the core of implementing effective hybrid work models. Hybrid workplace platforms provide tools for managing office spaces and enabling flexible workplace arrangements. These platforms typically include modules for desk booking, meeting room scheduling, and automated visitor management, creating an enhanced workspace experience. Some people also refer to these platforms as Workplace Experience Platforms. Employees use a hybrid platform to book desks or meeting rooms for days they plan to work in-office. The automated visitor management allows companies to pre-register and pre-scan visitors for enhanced security purposes.

These integrated features of hybrid workplace platforms help optimise office space utilisation and enhance the hybrid work environment productivity. Technology modules like desk booking, meeting room scheduling and visitor management play key roles in enhancing workplace flexibility and efficiency, often in subtle but impactful ways. For example, desk booking and meeting room scheduling systems allow employees to reserve workspaces tailored to their needs with real-time occupancy views –- be it a quiet corner for focus or a meeting area for collaboration –- and alleviate the stress of securing a workplace due to its options. Similarly, visitor management systems can regulate the check-in process for guests, minimising disruptions and allowing employees to focus on their work.

This directly boosts productivity and job satisfaction rates because employees can directly access the ideal workspaces for their needs daily. The hybrid work tools provided by hybrid workplace platforms make collaboration easy for remote and on-site teams through communication tools.

Key Features of Hybrid Work Platforms: What to Look for in Hybrid Workplace Platforms

“Hybrid workplace platforms are fundamental to successful hybrid work models. Drawing from my own experiences within teams, these tools not only enhance productivity by streamlining office space management but also significantly improve employee satisfaction by catering to their individual work preferences.”

Angela Spence, Global Employee Experience Leader.

Hybrid workplace platforms are essential tools for organisations transitioning to, or already on a hybrid work model. These hybrid platforms provide a structured, efficient means of flexible working environment, which is essential for success in today’s landscape.

Leading hybrid workplace platforms provide many features with integrated capabilities to ease the adoption of hybrid work. One of the top hybrid workplace platforms is Acall because we offer desk booking, meeting room reservation, and real-time space management.

Desk Booking & Meeting Room Reservations: Maximising Office Space Utilisation

Effective space utilisation and management is critical in a company that has chosen to adopt a hybrid work model. Besides increasing employee satisfaction, one of the biggest motivators behind for-profit organisations is the cost savings from reduced desk-to-person ratio. In other words, a company can fit more people in the same space, which translates to savings. This is due to many employees splitting time between in-office and remote settings. They can do this through the desk booking and meeting room reservation features. Top hybrid workplace platforms let staff to easily book desks or reserve meeting rooms through user-friendly interfaces.

For instance, you can use workspace booking features of the Acall Mobile (on iOS and Android) or Acall Web Portal/Acall Desktop to allow employees to reserve desks or meeting rooms. This system integrates hot desking — a flexible strategy that lets a single workspace be shared by multiple employees based on their time-slots. Acall’s hot desking solution includes features that free up desks by enabling auto-cancellation upon no-shows, with the check-in window of 1 to 120 minutes.

Acall also provides real-time updates on office occupancy, displayed through dashboards on their Web interface. Using these features, the HR team and managers can plan effective space utilisation.

Acall Mobile app provides real-time updates on office occupancy
Book meeting rooms or seats easily on the go with the Acall mobile application.

Employee Check-in Options: Flexible Choices

Check-ins are a major component of hybrid workplace platforms. They enable people to know how hybrid workspaces are used, and who uses them.

Offering more than a single check-in option is essential for top hybrid workplace platforms. Why? It allows them to cater to different organisational needs, employee types, and company policies to provide the optimal choices for each company.

For instance, Acall provides multiple check-in options. These options in Acall’s hybrid workplace platform include QR codes, kiosks and tablets at the office, and Wi-Fi connectivity for automatically registering an employee’s presence. Our hybrid workplace desktop app further allows remote employees to register their presence as well. This means that all employees can have the freedom to check-in through their preferred means of operation on a specific day. In the case of shared spaces in an office, check-in and check-outs are essential to have sufficient space for all.

Acall hot desking real-time occupancy tracking
See where and when your co-workers are and find the best time to collaborate

Communication & Collaboration: Tools for Hybrid Work Platforms

Hybrid workplace platforms facilitate seamless communication and collaboration across distributed teams. The top hybrid solutions platforms have messaging systems, video conferencing tools, and collaborative project management features so that team members can work together, on-site or remote. Real-time communication is also vital in maintaining teamwork and operational continuity.

The right tools for hybrid workplace platforms are the key to the successful implementation of a hybrid workplace platform. Let’s look at some of the most commonly used tools and technologies for hybrid offices and hybrid workplace platforms:

  • Communication Platforms: Tools like Slack, Microsoft Teams, or Zoom that offer reliable video conferencing and team messaging functionalities.
  • Collaboration Apps: Applications such as Asana, Trello, Canva, or Microsoft 365 allow for sharing documents, managing projects, and maintaining productivity.

Note that while these are some of the most commonly used apps and softwares, there are other softwares or tools you might come across in a hybrid setting too.

Access Control & Security: Restricted Access for Security

Security and customisation are enhanced through detailed user permissions settings. Administrators can set rules to enable or restrict access to certain areas or workspaces in the office, based on authority. This feature improves the security of the hybrid workplace platforms by limiting the access to only authorised personnel.

Employee Autonomy & Scheduling Flexibility: Improved Work-Life Balance

Workplace experience solutions empower the staff to self-manage their schedules by providing real-time updates on office space occupancy through analytics. Employees can find and book desks with their project partners, team members, or alone in quiet space. This feature enhances the job satisfaction and morale of the staff members. On the other hand, this frees up the HR managers to have the time to focus on other tasks rather than planning space utilisation. The flexible scheduling also makes sure that employees only come on-site when there are office spaces available to be booked, saving time and money on their commute to work. According to research by Accenture, 83% of global workers saw a hybrid model as the right fit for them. However, more workers are fully onsite post-pandemic (36% in 2022 vs. 25% in 2021).

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Hybrid workplace platforms with these features can help businesses can gain the upper hand in managing their employees.

Phase 1: Assessing Your Organisational Needs For a Hybrid Workplace Platform

Before implementing a hybrid workplace platform, it is important to understand the steps necessary for its effective utilisation.

Choosing the right hybrid workplace platform requires careful consideration of your organisation’s specific needs and goals. The process involves assessing these needs, comparing available platforms, and selecting the one that is most aligned to your organisation.

Identify Specific Business Needs and Employee Preferences for Hybrid Work

The first step in transitioning to hybrid workplace platforms is to clearly define your specific business requirements and align them with your employee preference. This dual focus ensures that any implemented changes meet operational goals while also enhancing employee satisfaction and productivity.

To do this, you need to start by gathering input from the stakeholders in your company. This includes management, HR, IT, Operations, and, most importantly, the employees who will use the platform on a daily basis. I mean, employees are the “lifeblood” of any organisation, right? You can do this in the following way:

  • Engage with Stakeholders: As mentioned above, begin by consulting stakeholders from different departments, such as HR, IT, and Operations. Their insights will help you tailor and pinpoint the strategic needs that the hybrid workplace platform must support. For example, HR may require a hybrid workplace platform for easy tracking of employee attendance and performance across locations.
  • Employee Surveys: You can conduct surveys, polls, or focus groups to gather employee feedback on current conditions and expectations for a hybrid setup. Understanding what works well and what doesn’t helps customise the hybrid model to better fit. This might include preferences for mobile access to work tools or a need for better communication channels, and more. Remember, catering to employee preferences will help you realise your goals more than you might think.

A study by Qualtrics in 2022 found that employees who use technology to improve productivity are 158% more engaged. Similarly, these employees are 61% more likely to stay with their current organisation. Sounds enticing? Great! But before getting to that stage, here are some expert-suggested questions for gathering employee feedback from our team:

Work Environment Preferences:

  • Do you prefer working from home, the office, or a combination of both?
  • List the top three factors that influence your preference for working remotely or in the office.

Communication and Collaboration Tools:

  • Which communication and collaboration tools do you find most effective for remote work?
  • Are there any specific features or functionalities you would like to see in our communication tools to support hybrid work?
  • How important is it for you to have access to office amenities (e.g., meeting rooms, printing facilities) on days when you come into the office?

Work Schedule and Hours:

  • Would you prefer a fixed schedule for remote and office work, or more flexibility to set your own schedule?

To access the complete list of employee survey questions regarding hybrid workplace platforms, download the checklist from the PDF below:

“These questions are by no means exhaustive. Conducting surveys, polls, or focus groups is crucial for organisations to better understand the unique needs and preferences of your employees in transitioning to a hybrid setup. By gathering this feedback, organisations can customise their hybrid model. This might include preferences for remote access to work tools or a need for better communication channels. Listening to your team’s feedback is not just about making adjustments; it’s about driving engagement and retention.”

Angela Spence, Global Employee Experience Leader.
  • Identify Key Objectives: Whether it’s enhancing work-life balance, reducing office space costs, or improving collaboration across different locations, you need to clearly define your organisational aims. This is essential. Why? It will lay the groundworks for a successful transition, even if doing this right now is cumbersome. For instance, if reducing office space is a priority, a platform that supports efficient desk booking and space management is ideal.

Phase 2: Conducting an Infrastructure Assessment for Hybrid Work Platforms

Once you have identified your key objectives for transitioning to a hybrid platform, the next step involves an infrastructure assessment. To ensure your infrastructure is ready to support a hybrid workplace platform, conduct a detailed review of your IT systems, physical space, and technology compatibility.

IT Infrastructure Review for your Organisation:

First, assess the capability and security of your existing IT setup to support both office-based and remote work powered by hybrid workplace platforms. This includes assessing network capacity and stability, data security measures, and the availability of support for remote access technologies. Do your subscribed cloud services, like Amazon Web Services or Microsoft Azure, provide sufficient flexibility and security for remote access? For instance, a company might assess whether their current internet bandwidth can support all employees accessing cloud services simultaneously, especially during peak hours.

In the last decade, many companies have shifted towards using AWS or Azure to enhance scalability and security. Implementing multi-factor authentication (MFA) and encrypted virtual private networks (VPNs) will further improve the security of remote connections. They will also protect sensitive data when employees access systems remotely. This review ensures that your foundational IT systems can support hybrid workplace platform operations without risking performance or security.

Physical Space Analysis for your Organisation:

As your employees shift between working remotely and in the office, managing your office space for optimal usage becomes crucial. This is especially true for financial reasons. How can you manage this? How many employees do you have and how many days a week will they come to the office? What kind of space will they need? Specifically, what is the desk to employee ratio?

The process involves assessing how the current office layout can be adapted to support flexible working conditions while ensuring comfort and productivity. There are a few things you need to consider. This includes reconfiguring areas to allow for social distancing, providing spaces that support various working modes — whether collaborative, individual, formal, or informal – and integrating technology for better communication between staff.

To this end, many companies are now adopting hot desking to maximise their office layouts. This has several advantages. By eliminating assigned desks and utilising a hot desking system, companies can significantly reduce the amount of office space needed. This translates to lower overhead costs, especially when considering rent, utilities, and furniture expenses. Acall also offers a hot desking solution that provides real-time office occupancy with dashboards or physical displays.

Hot desking offers a way to do more with less. It also maximises the existing space utilisation by ensuring all available desks are being used throughout the week. This makes sense because the focus on space optimisation aligns with the need to create a flexible and hybrid work environment powered by hybrid workplace platforms.

Google’s Commitment to Hybrid Work

In fact, in 2021, Google announced a new approach to hybrid work: Team Pods. Team Pods refer to flexible spaces equipped with movable walls and furniture that can be reconfigured to meet the specific needs of different groups, supporting both physical and remote collaboration. If you want to go even beyond, you could think about integrating technology-enabled meeting rooms with advanced systems like Zoom Rooms or Webex video conferencing solutions to support hybrid meetings that are as interactive (it can make you feel isolated being one of few on video call while others meet in the offices) and productive as possible with high-quality audio and visual setups. In fact, Google is so committed to bridging this gap in hybrid workspaces that in May 2024, it announced the Project Starline (to be launched in 2025) which makes a virtual call feel like a one-on-one conversation.

physical space analysis hybrid workplace platform starline google
Project Starline by Google.

“I was working remotely in another country and I always felt left out during meetings because my colleagues, who were together physically, were able to see each other’s faces while I had trouble expressing myself since we didn’t have good video conferencing tools.”

Sharon Lok, Marketing Professional.

This approach enhances the functionality of physical office spaces for optimal utilisation of a hybrid setting to make the workplace more responsive to the needs of a diverse workforce. This review process involves providing information on floor plans, workspace types (desks, meeting rooms, quiet areas), and entering capacity information. This data becomes the foundation for the hybrid workplace platform’s functionality, allowing it to recommend desk booking strategies, show real-time desk availability, and facilitate booking.

Technology Integration & Compatibility in Hybrid Offices:

Assessing the compatibility of existing technological tools and integrating new solutions is crucial for a productive hybrid work environment. This involves ensuring that all communication and collaboration tools are compatible with existing IT infrastructure and support the needs of a distributed workforce. The goal is to create a cohesive technology environment that facilitates effective communication across different locations and time zones.

So, you should consider how the hybrid workplace platform will integrate with existing technologies such as Microsoft 365, Google Workspace, or enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems like SAP or Oracle. Seamless compatibility with communication tools like Slack, video conferencing like Zoom, and project management software like Trello is also crucial. The future of work is real-time collaboration on shared files and documents.

A hybrid workplace platform should integrate seamlessly with these technologies, enhancing connectivity and security. Salesforce’s partnership with Microsoft Team is a prime example, showing the importance of choosing tools that enhance connectivity within hybrid platforms, ensuring that technology facilitates rather than hinders interaction. Furthermore, the redesign of Dropbox’s user interface to focus more on team spaces illustrates how platforms can evolve to better support real-time collaboration, crucial for hybrid work setups.

This strategic integration is the cornerstone of a successful hybrid workplace platform, bridging the gap between digital and physical workspaces to create a seamless, productive work environment. At this point, we can move on to see how you can plan the implementation of a hybrid workplace platform in your organisation.

Phase 3: Evaluating and Selecting Technology Solutions for Hybrid Workplace Platforms

Selecting the right hybrid workplace platform is crucial for organisations adapting to the evolving needs of modern workspaces. This section aims to provide a structured framework for comparing and choosing the most suitable technology solution, by examining a variety of top platforms alongside their distinctive features and functionalities.

Criteria for Choosing the Right Hybrid Platform

Guide to Hybrid Workplace Platforms

At the start of your selection process, consider these criteria for your hybrid workspace platforms:

  • Scalability: The ability to accommodate an increasing number of users and complex operational needs as the company grows.
  • Flexibility: Essential for adapting to the varied and changing needs of your organisation to allow for customisation.
  • Security: Vital for protecting company data and ensuring safe access to the platform’s features.
  • User-Friendliness: An easy to use interface that reduces the learning curve and facilitates widespread adoption across the organisation.
  • Integrations: Compatibility with existing systems to maintain streamlined workflows and data consistency.
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Ensuring the Chosen Hybrid Workplace Platform is the Perfect Fit for Your Organisation

Beyond assessing based on hard criteria that we’ve listed above, consider how the hybrid workplace platform fits into your organisational needs:

  • Cost vs. Benefits: Calculate the total cost of the hybrid workspace platform, including setup, training, and maintenance support. While it’s important to consider direct costs like platform cost, training, and setup, it’s also crucial to consider broader advantages. These include increased productivity, improved employee satisfaction, and reduced operational expenses, such as office space and commuting costs. These factors contribute to long-term benefits that may outweigh initial costs. By taking a holistic approach to evaluating costs and benefits, your organisation’s stakeholders can make informed decisions that optimise resources and drive sustainable growth.
  • Security and Privacy: Make sure the hybrid workspace platform has a means of access control to prevent unauthorised personnel from interfering with the hybrid platform as well as meeting the necessary security and privacy regulations of your industry.
  • Hardware Integration Capabilities: Check if the hybrid workspace platform can integrate with your existing hardware setup and any future technology enhancements your organisation might consider, such as IoT devices or specialised meeting room technologies.
  • Availability of Free Trial: Look for hybrid work platforms that offer a trial period to test out the system’s functionality and integration capabilities before making an investment. For instance, Acall offers a free trial for companies with large user bases.
  • Vendor Reputation and Support: Evaluate the vendor’s reputation, customer support offerings, and Service Level Agreements (SLAs)SLAs to ensure timely resolution of any issues. Clear communication, responsive support teams, and well-defined SLAs are essential for a positive experience.

Choosing the right hybrid workspace platform involves a balanced evaluation of these factors. The approach aims to meet immediate needs and support long-term adaptation and growth.

Comparison of Top Hybrid Workplace Platforms

Several platforms are noteworthy, each with unique features and benefits:

  • Acall: Acall is a workplace management platform for hybrid teams. Our suite of products includes desk booking, meeting room booking, and automated reception – we cover everything related to how offices utilise their spaces – and we drive down the costs. Our vision is to empower people to live their personal AND work lives to their fullest, without having to choose.
  • WorkInSync: This platform excels in managing workplace capacity and optimising real estate for Facility & Workplace Managers. It also offers robust data security and seamless integrations, making it a solid choice for IT Managers.
  • Skedda: Known for its extensive user base, Skedda integrates smoothly with major platforms like Microsoft 365 and Google Workspace. It caters well to the needs of global teams requiring seamless scheduling and space management.
  • Robin: Specialising in desk booking, room scheduling, and providing workplace analytics, Robin enhances in-office coordination and community building, making it particularly effective for on-site collaboration.
  • OfficeSpace: This tool is adept at fostering employee connections and optimising space utilisation with intuitive planning and real-time insights, trusted by over a thousand global companies.
  • Othership: Othership offers a flexible working platform that accommodates a variety of on-demand workspaces, ideal for businesses seeking versatile workspace management solutions.
  • Tribeloo: Enhancing collaboration, Tribeloo allows employees to pre-book desks and create team neighbourhoods, which includes customisation of floor plans and personalisation options.
  • NSpace: Renowned for its user-friendly mobile app, NSpace provides a dynamic hot desk booking service along with a space utilisation dashboard that offers insights into the frequency and usage of work areas.

Case Studies of Successful Implementations of Hybrid Work Models Using Hybrid Workplace Platforms

Investigating real-world implementations of these flexible work platforms can highlight their practical benefits. A notable example is KOKUYO’s strategic use of Acall in their Umeda office. Facing the challenge of managing a hot desking system when an increased number of employees returned to office post-pandemic 19, KOKUYO integrated Acall’s hot desking function to optimise space management and office operations. This solution allowed them to manage desk booking effectively, making it convenient for teams of the 350-employee-strong organisation to book desks in an office building that caters for seat occupancy of 60% of its workforce. Acall’s hybrid workspace platform offers a blend of in-office and remote work support so that members have full visibility and access to workspaces according to permissions. This improves overall efficiency and connectivity, making Acall a compelling option for those seeking to streamline their hybrid work environment.

Successful Implementations of Hybrid Workplace Platforms; people sitting in hybrid model after hot desking
Facing the challenge of managing a hot desking system when an increased number of employees returned to the office post-pandemic 19, KOKUYO integrated Acall’s hot desking function to optimise space management and office operations.

Similarly, a desk booking tool has been deployed successfully at educational institutions like Harvard University, streamlining their space booking processes and improving utilisation rates. On the other hand, Robin has enhanced workspace management for tech firms, integrating seamlessly with their existing tech ecosystems to boost productivity and employee satisfaction.

Planning for Implementing Hybrid Workplace Platforms

The successful transition to a hybrid work model requires careful planning and implementation. This next section will guide you through the key steps involved in implementing your hybrid workplace platform.

“Planning for the implementation of a hybrid workplace platform can be tricky -– especially if you are not tech-savvy. It often means getting people involved, with different departments and skills like rrrrrhuman resources, facilities management, and information technology to work together. The most important thing to remember is that you’re not doing this alone. Lean on your team’s unique strengths and skills to make this a little easier.”

Angela Spence, Global Employee Experience Leader.

Step 1: Establishing Hybrid Workplace Platform Objectives and Scope

Setting clear project scope and objectives is the foundational step for the implementation of a hybrid workplace platform. It ensures that all stakeholders are aligned with what the platform aims to achieve and understand the boundaries of the project. So, what do you need to do to accomplish this crucial step?

  • Establish Clear Objectives: What does your organisation hope to achieve with the hybrid workplace platform? You need to answer this question carefully and then clearly state those objectives. Perhaps you want to make team communication more efficient, provide flexible work locations, or manage resources better. It could be anything, depending on your organisation and its hybrid workplace objectives.
  • Specify Project Scope: Specify which parts of your company will use the hybrid workspace platform, what technology is needed, and what outcomes you expect. This helps in planning and sets expectations.
  • Set Realistic and Measurable Goals: Goals should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and timely (SMART). This makes your objectives smart (I couldn’t resist!), clear, and trackable.

Remember to plan for future growth when establishing the project’s scope to transition to hybrid work using hybrid workspace platforms.

Step 2: Assess Technical and Physical Requirements

A thorough assessment of both technical and physical infrastructures is important to ensure they can support the new hybrid workplace platform effectively. This step involves detailed auditing to identify necessary upgrades and assure future-proofing of the systems.

Technical Infrastructure Audit:

Conduct a review of your existing technical network to verify that it can handle increased load, especially with higher data traffic from remote locations. To put this in easier terms, if your current bandwidth averages 100 Mbps, consider upgrading to a minimum of 1 Gbps to accommodate video conferencing and real-time collaboration tools without lag.

Evaluate server capacities and security measures. For example, check that your firewalls and antivirus systems are up-to-date and capable of handling increased external accesses securely without compromising on your security.

Physical Infrastructure Review:

Determine if the physical spaces can be adapted for a flexible working environment. This might include assessing the need for more collaborative spaces versus traditional setups. For instance, a typical office might convert 30-40% of its cubicles into open collaborative spaces equipped with smart, adaptable furniture.

Consider the physical IT infrastructure required on-site, such as routers, additional servers, or enhanced security systems like biometric access controls.

Identifying Upgrades:

Next, list specific hardware upgrades needed to support the hybrid platform. For example, upgrading older Wi-Fi systems to Wi-Fi 5 or Wi-Fi 6 technology to support more devices at higher speeds.

How to Future-Proof your Infrastructure?

Well, you can plan for scalability by choosing cloud-based solutions rather than on-premise ones to allow easy expansion as the company grows by paying for operation costs only. For example, transitioning to a cloud service like Amazon Web Services (AWS) or Microsoft Azure can provide scalable server capacity and enhanced data security.

Check for compatibility with emerging and trending technologies by opting for modular software architectures that allow easy updates and integration with new technologies as they become available.

When auditing your technical infrastructure, use specific diagnostic tools like network speed testers and server load simulators to obtain real figures on current capacity and projected needs. This hands-on data will guide your upgrade decisions and ensure that your infrastructure can handle the demands of a hybrid workplace environment without performance degradation.

Step 3: Budget Planning

Effective hybrid workplace budget planning is so critical when preparing to implement a hybrid workplace platform. Why? Because it ensures that the financial resources are efficiently allocated, covering all necessary expenses such as software, hardware, training, and any ongoing maintenance. This step also involves identifying potential funding sources and making necessary budget adjustments to accommodate a hybrid workplace platform. Let’s get started with hybrid workplace budgeting!

Forecasting Costs:

  • Software Costs: So, the subscription fees for hybrid workplace platforms can vary based on the features and scale of deployment. Different providers may have different pricing models: some providers charge per user and some per space or seat.
    • Small Companies (50-200 employees): Typically, small companies opt for basic workplace management tools that support essential functions like desk reservations and resource booking. Many platforms out there offer subscriptions starting from $100.
    • Medium-Sized Companies (200-1000 employees): These companies often require more robust software with advanced features such as API integration and enhanced security measures.
    • Enterprises (1000+ employees): Large enterprises need highly customizable solutions that integrate seamlessly with numerous legacy systems and offer extensive support. Depending on the number of add-ons or bespoke requirements, costs may vary.
  • Hardware Costs: For the budget constraint, some companies may stop at software implementation. For those looking for a complete solution, the initial hardware setup for enabling a hybrid work environment includes upgrading network infrastructure, installing video conferencing equipment, and setting up secure access points. In some cases, some companies may even consider including smart sensors as part of the hardware costs.
  • Training Costs: Training sessions are essential for confirming that all employees can use the new system efficiently. Small companies might spend a few hundred dollars on training sessions, while medium companies and enterprises could spend upwards of a few thousand dollars, depending on the number of employees and the degree of training required.
  • Maintenance Costs: This includes software updates, security patches, and technical support. Again, costs are dependent on the scale of the implementation.
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Requirements based on Company Size

Company RequirementsSmall (50-200 employees)Medium (200-1000 employees)Enterprises (1000+ employees)
Software RequirementsEssential features like desk reservation, resource booking, and visitor check-ins.More robust features like API integration and enhanced security measures.
Hardware RequirementsSome companies may stop at software. However, we recommend, at the least, investing in tablet displays for intuitive workspace booking. Consider lease-to-own rentals to reduce the upfront costs.Upgrading network infrastructure, installing video conferencing equipment, and setting up secure access points. Scale and costs may vary.Upgrading network infrastructure, installing video conferencing equipment, and setting up secure access points. Scale and costs may vary.
Training RequirementsTraining sessions aimed at educating employees how to use the new system on a daily basis.Scope may vary depending on the number of employees and the degree of training required. In some cases, customised training may be required for different departments depending on their roles.Scope may vary depending on the number of employees and the degree of training required. In some cases, customised training may be required for different departments depending on their roles.
Maintenance RequirementsSimple upkeep – usually included in the software and hardware costs.Consider budgeting in costs for software updates, security patches, and technical support.Consider budgeting in costs for software updates, security patches, and technical support.
Rough estimates on the costs based on requirements of companies of different sizes.

While the initial high costs may deter some organisations, the long-term returns of increased employee satisfaction and productivity means that you will recoup your losses in no time. Below, you’ll find a couple of ways to get or identify sources to fund this transition to using a hybrid workspace platform for your company.

Identifying Funding Sources:

Internal Reserves: Companies might consider reallocating budgets from other IT investments or utilising saved costs from reduced office space requirements.
External Funding: Larger projects might qualify for technology grants or low-interest loans designed to boost technological advancements within businesses.

Step 4: Risk Management Planning

Implementing hybrid workplace platforms comes with its set of risks, from technical challenges to user adoption issues. Therefore, effective risk management planning is essential to identify these risks early and develop appropriate mitigation strategies to deliver the project’s success. Here are the common steps to consider for risk management of hybrid workspace platforms:

Identify Potential Risks:

Begin with an evaluation of each identified risk by assessing its likelihood and potential impact on the project. For example, use a risk matrix to visualise which risks, such as data breaches or system downtimes, lead to the greatest threat based on their probability and severity. Monitor ongoing data to identify trends that might indicate emerging risks, and when a risk materialises, employ root cause analysis to understand why it occurred. There are three main types of risks to consider for hybrid workspace platform risk analysis:

  1. Technical Risks: These might include data breaches, system downtimes, or integration issues with existing IT systems. For example, if a company relies on outdated hardware, there’s a higher risk of compatibility issues when introducing new software.
  2. Operational Risks: Such as disruptions in workflow during the transition to a hybrid model, or challenges in remote management and communication.
  3. Human Factors: Resistance to change from employees or inadequate training can hinder the successful adoption of new technologies..

Develop Mitigation Strategies:

  1. Technical Solutions: Make sure that high-security measures are in place, upgrade necessary hardware, and conduct thorough testing on all integrations before full deployment.
  2. Operational Adjustments: Prepare detailed transition plans that include contingency options in case initial implementation of hybrid workspace platforms faces hiccups. How to do this? By developing scenarios based on different risk factors, such as a major technology failure or a cyber attack, and analysing the potential outcomes. Also, regularly update these plans based on feedback and emerging issues.
  3. Training and Support: Implement detailed training programs and continuous support mechanisms to aid the smooth adoption. You can also create feedback loops where employees can report issues or suggest improvements. Acall stands out for its excellent onboarding and training sessions for users.

Set Up Monitoring Systems:

Set up real-time monitoring for critical systems to quickly detect and address failures or security breaches in hybrid workspace platforms. For instance, Acall sends network disconnection notifications for Acall Meeting when communication from Acall Meeting tablet app to the Acall server is lost for any reason, such as network malfunction or device trouble. This release makes administrators detect and deal with the situation before receiving inquiries from the app users (that’s what admins want, no?).

For each potential mitigation strategy, conduct a cost-benefit analysis to weigh the costs of implementation of hybrid workspace platforms against the expected benefits of reducing the risk.

Step 5: Stakeholder Engagement and Communication Plan

Stakeholder engagement in hybrid implementation and a robust communication plan ensure that all stakeholders—from senior management to end-users—understand the project’s benefits, their roles, and the expected changes.

But how do you go about this? Let’s see below:

Identify Key Stakeholders:

First of all, map out all the stakeholders affected by the hybrid workplace platform implementation. As mentioned in the section on assessment, this includes IT staff, HR personnel, team leaders, and employees who will use the hybrid platform. This can vary from company to company. For example, for a software development company, key stakeholders might include the CTO for technology alignment, the HR director for policy alignment, and project managers who will coordinate daily operations on the platform. Once you identify your key stakeholders, focus on understanding their needs to be able to address them in the next part.

Develop a Communication Strategy:

Using the knowledge from above, create a detailed communication plan to outline how the information will be conveyed. This should include the timing, channels, and content of communications. Channels might include emails, meetings, or interactive webinars. For example, announcing the project through a company-wide webinar, followed by detailed emails explaining the timeline and expected changes, ensures transparency and helps brace expectations.

Keep the Stakeholders in the Loop:

Regularly update stakeholders on the progress, challenges, and successes of the implementation. This ongoing engagement helps maintain enthusiasm and buy-in, and provides opportunities for feedback and adjustment. Establish feedback mechanisms to gather ongoing input from employees on hybrid work technology. Use short pulse surveys, virtual suggestion boxes like Slido, and post-implementation focus groups to collect experiences and suggestions. Furthermore, set up a support system accessible to stakeholders once the platform is live. This system can provide real-time adjustments based on feedback and insights, offering continuous improvement and addressing concerns quickly.

Manage Change Expectations:

Clearly communicate the benefits of the hybrid workplace platform as well as the changes it will bring to their work routines. Manage expectations by being honest about potential challenges and how they will be addressed. You can go a step further and employ change management methodologies like ADKAR (Awareness, Desire, Knowledge, Ability, and Reinforcement) to structure your engagement and communication efforts and foster smoother transitions.

Step 6: Create an Implementation Timeline

A well-defined implementation timeline will keep things organised before the introduction of a hybrid workplace platform. Trust me, it may not seem necessary (my editor will convince you otherwise in a heartbeat), but creating a timeline helps you not know what to do and when to do it.

Phase Planning:

Break down the implementation into manageable phases, typically starting with a pilot phase, followed by gradual rollout and full adoption. This approach provides structure and allows time for testing before final rollout. For example, Start with deploying the platform in a single department or a small group of employees (this could be staff volunteers) to test functionalities and gather initial feedback. For example, Acall runs trials for selected customers where 20 employees can test our solution first before expanding it to the rest of the employees in the company. This pilot phase might last 1 or 2 months, depending on the complexity of the platform.

Timeline Development:

Design a detailed timeline for each phase, including key milestones, deadlines, and responsible parties. Use project management tools like Microsoft Project or Asana to track progress and provide transparency across teams. You are also encouraged to seek support from your service provider to ensure that your implementation is on schedule.

Integration, Testing, and Feedback Mechanism:

It’s important to allocate time for integration with existing systems, test for both software compatibility tests and user acceptance testing to ensure the platform meets operational needs, and assign feedback mechanisms (like focus groups) after each phase to make necessary changes.

Final Rollout:

Plan the final rollout phase, during which the platform will become operational for all users.

Remember, hybrid work should not be a set-and-forget exercise. Just like any employee engagement programmes, it requires constant monitoring, infrastructural support. Nonetheless, have faith that it will yield results in the long run.

Future Trends in Hybrid Workplace Platforms

As employees continue to return to offices post pandemic, the dynamics of hybrid workplaces have been shifting. The ongoing evolution of hybrid workspaces is supported by technology. Emerging technologies enhance flexibility and efficiency, integrating both physical and digital office spaces.

Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) are leading technological advances in hybrid workspaces. They are refining tasks such as scheduling across time zones and optimising office space usage. They also provide better insights into productivity, helping make more informed decisions. Predictive algorithms can even forecast space needs based on usage patterns, further enhancing flexibility and efficiency. That’s not all – AI is also helping configure meeting rooms based on specific needs, providing optimal setups and improving productivity.

Internet of Things (IoT)

IoT connects physical and digital aspects of the hybrid workspaces. It adjusts settings like lighting and temperature based on real-time data, improving energy efficiency. IoT also boosts security with smart access controls to restrict access. Furthermore, IoT devices can monitor desk and room occupancy, helping facilities managers optimise space utilisation and reduce overcrowding.

Virtual and Augmented Reality (VR and AR)

VR and AR are evolving remote collaboration. VR creates a 3D virtual office experience, personalising remote meetings. Similarly, AR allows employees to interact with data as if it were physical or tangible. VR can also be used for immersive training sessions, while AR can assist in on-the-job training by overlaying instructions and information directly onto the physical workspace.

Robotics

Robotics is another big trend that is transforming hybrid workspaces by automating routine tasks. Service robots handle chores like cleaning, mail delivery, item deli, ensuring a well-maintained environment. On the other hand, collaborative robots, or cobots, assist with tasks requiring precision or physical strength, improving productivity and safety. Moreover, robots can also deliver items to meeting rooms, streamlining logistics and saving time.

The future of hybrid workplaces lies in using technology to adapt to employee needs. By promoting a flexible, inclusive work culture and staying updated with technological advancements, organisations can make hybrid models a long-lasting solution.

Conclusion: Transitioning to Hybrid Workplace Platforms

In modern business environments, hybrid workplace platforms have become vital in aligning organisational strategies with evolving needs of employees. These hybrid work solutions are the backbones for companies looking to offer flexibility while maintaining a structured work environment. These platforms facilitate combining remote and in-office work while also enhancing operational efficiency. If your organisation is yet to adopt a hybrid workplace platform, now is the time to consider its strategic benefits. Assess your current workplace strategies. See how integrating a hybrid model could address potential gaps in efficiency and employee satisfaction.

How Acall Can Help You With Your Hybrid Platform Needs?

How Acall Can Help You With Your Hybrid Platform Needs

Acall offers a robust software suite designed to enhance the management of hybrid workplaces and hot desking, ideal as businesses transition between remote and in-office work. Its integrated system includes the Acall Desktop app, web portal, and mobile app, centralising tasks such as booking, checking in, and monitoring occupancy. This setup provides crucial real-time data for space management, with features like auto-cancellation for no-shows and customisable check-in windows to optimise space utilisation.

We at Acall believe that the goal for great companies is always to bring people together – whether you’re working remotely or in-person. That of course, needs to be supported with a roadmap for effective adoption.

Angela Spence is an accomplished global employee experience leader based in Bangkok, Thailand who is recognised for driving culture transformation and fostering engagement across global Fortune 500 companies. She specialises in identifying emerging experience trends and defining processes and tools to simplify and enhance employee experiences.

Written by: Syed Umar Bukhari.

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