Working Anywhere

Ian Hunter reports back from a product portfolio and capabilities briefing with Polycom that sheds light on the growing culture of anywhere working.

Polycom says that their three top Enterprise technology predictions for 2017 are the ‘Impact of Consumer Expectations, Security and Agility and Working Anywhere’.

Today we know that user expectations are high with ease of use and anywhere access being at the top of the list. Polycom sees an important and evolving role for security as technology introduces new workplaces and workspaces in to the mix whilst the benefits of having a highly mobile workforce have long been recognised as a key elements in staying agile and competitive.

The vendor has positioned itself well to compete in markets where these forces are at play. Today their revenues are fairly evenly split between their voice only and video portfolios and the work Polycom has undertaken on interoperability issues means that they are extremely well placed for endpoint sales in the rapidly expanding Skype for Business deployments.

With regards to their product portfolio Polycom has most of the bases covered. Video solutions for rooms and spaces of all sizes with a focus on fast and easy deployment. Perfect it would seem for any enterprise seeking to up their game in a digital transformation market that is adopting collaborative working faster than a politician makes a promise on election day.

As you may imagine, Polycom has over the years been at the front of the queue when it comes to revealing our thinking on remote working through wide and well researched workforce surveys. Their latest research issued under the name ‘Global Anywhere Working – A guide to cultural change for a happier, healthier workforce’ maintains that leading position.

Most business leaders will agree that developments in technology have fundamentally changed both the way we do business and the way we work.

So much so that the ‘future of work’ is no longer a conversation topic just for the collaboration technology industry. In fact, say Polycom, the technological innovations of the past decade have powered a digital transformation that all industries are now facing up to. ‘Innovate or die’ has never felt more real. Polycom now goes further when it claims that their report reveals a world moving from digital transformation of work, to the digital consolidation of work culture.

To illustrate this the company points out that it is now completely normal to see rows of people working in a coffee shop with their headphones plugged in and a steaming cup next to them. The same is true of hearing fellow train passengers discuss their next big presentation with colleagues on a video call, and seeing airport lounges dotted with iPad users cramming in a few more minutes work before they have to switch to flight-safe mode.

I’d guess we all recognise these behavioural traits however, it wouldn’t be possible to work anywhere without ready adoption of new technologies that open the door to better ways of collaborating. Technology has made it possible for teams of two, twelve, or more to brainstorm in the round in huddle rooms within an office building, or in a virtual face-to-face setting.

What matters is they can always do it from the comfort of their preferred rather than assigned workspace.

International teams benefit significantly from this new era of remote-working – a flexible approach allows people to do business face to face whilst defying distance (if not quite time zones), so teams can be more productive and efficient than ever.

But if it’s accepted that anywhere working has significant benefits to businesses and employees alike, how can businesses overcome the obstacles blocking their own development of an anywhere working culture?

There are a number of perceived challenges that come with defining a fair, productive anywhere working environment and as more businesses deploy new technologies that enable them to foster an anywhere working culture, it is crucial that nuances are understood and addressed effectively.

In this respect the Polycom report goes on to provide a valuable piece of insight into how to manage anywhere working within employees of different generational cohorts – Baby Boomers, Millennials, Working Parents and Wellbeing Warriors.

There are many ways to adopt an anywhere working culture, as there are many types of companies out there and it can be done successfully as long as you bring the right technology to help you.

Ed says…

The background to this article was an invite from Polycom to a press event at their Innovation Centre in London. It took two hours to get there on the train, two hours for the presentation and two hours back on the train via an unpredictable newly re-opened Waterloo and cost £72.10 from Andover. I was surprised there was no video participation from home offered for the event.

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David Dungay

Editor - Comms Business Magazine