Editor's PickForexSustaining productivity in a world of hybrid work

August 17, 2022

The pandemic forced organisations everywhere to rethink how their employees could remain productive at a time when so many were forced to work from home.

Part of the challenge was about ensuring that employees enjoyed a high quality of secure connectivity to essential data and workloads regardless of their location. But there’s more to nurturing a successful workforce than providing good broadband. The pandemic meant looking for new ways to sustain a sense of connection between people no longer able to meet and collaborate in person. It was about making sure that everybody felt involved in a shared endeavour.

Raymond Ma, General Manager of Europe, Alibaba Cloud Intelligence explains that Although the pandemic is largely over, it has left behind a legacy of changed attitudes to work and the location of that work. Many employees have, of course, returned full time to the office, but others are continuing to work remotely, where that option exists. Some are flipping between these models, opting for a mixed approach according to what suits the work they are engaged on at any one time. Some organisations are opting for a localised approach with different return-to-office plans based on regional needs. Welcome to the world of hybrid working patterns.

Smart organisations will want to explore ways of enabling a flexible approach, where appropriate, recognising that making efforts to fit in with employee preferences is a route to a happy, empowered and productive workforce. But whichever way they approach it, making a success of a flexible approach to modern working patterns necessitates the implementation of suitable technology. Innovative ideas about getting the most out of workers while prioritising their well-being are of no use unless backed by innovative tools to match.

The beating heart of any modern enterprise lives in the cloud, and today’s cloud-native technology is helping workforces stay in closer touch than ever with essential applications, regardless of location. A new generation of cloud-focused compute power has the ability to reduce the latency between applications held in a data centre and the user of those applications to a handful of microseconds. Tasks that rely on intelligence-intensive AI and the handling of intelligence can be sped up by a generous margin.

Accessing ultra-high-definition video with 8k resolution is now near instantaneous. Backed with this sort of power, videoconferencing can now replicate face to face collaboration with remarkable accuracy helping workers at home to feel fully involved in a project.

New cloud-based Desktop-as-a-Service (DaaS) solutions are great news for IT teams looking for ways to quickly create a secure, high-performance, and cost-efficient virtual desktop for any employee without making large hardware investments upfront. This new approach to what constitutes a workstation has potential use cases in verticals like finance, design, and education, or indeed any industry that has requirements for secure intelligence management backed by high-performance computing.

Parallel computing capabilities based on new GPU technology mean that employees in fields like deep learning, video processing and scientific computing now get the power they need delivered in the form of a service.

Let’s not forget security, perhaps the biggest perceived drawback of hybrid working models. The latest cloud-based security protects all types of network connection, for example by allowing unique identification for different departments while letting IT staff retain overall control through a central executive network.

New tools like these are redefining the meaning of collaboration and communication. As the traditional workplace continues to evolve, these tools can foster the kind of connection between employees that success is based on. Hybrid working patterns don’t mean the end of the office, and they don’t mean that remote workers feel cut off from the centre. It’s all about using the right technology to bind all the people in an organisation together, providing opportunities to nurture talent, reward endeavour and foster a winning culture.

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