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Preparing for the Hybrid Work Environment

“COVID-19 has broken through cultural and technological barriers that prevented remote work in the past, setting in motion a structural shift in where work takes place, at least for some people.” – McKinsey and Company*

When, where, and how Americans work will never be the same. The COVID-19 pandemic put the slow adoption of hybrid working—where an employee’s time is divided between an in-office and remote work experience—on warp-speed. Virtually overnight, companies and their employees scrambled to move their working experience to a completely remote model to ensure that teams were connected and collaborating, that optimal security protocols were in place, and that employees were provided the necessary tools to meet ever increasing customer demands.

Now, almost a year into the pandemic, businesses of all types and sizes have settled into the new normal. The initial technological, operational, and cultural hurdles faced by business-owners and IT decision-makers have mostly been resolved as we have collectively adapted to meet the health and safety requirements of our new work environment.

That being said, for some, there is a growing desire for a return to the workplace. A recent study fielded by Slack’s Future Forum found that 39% of the 9,000 workers surveyed “always” or “usually” prefer to work from the office and intend to do so once restrictions have been lifted. The survey, summarized in Fortune magazine, also noted, however, that 27% would never like to return to the office and 34% of respondents were in the middle.

These survey results demonstrate that a mandatory 9 to 5 in-office schedule is a thing of the past. Employers must develop long-term strategies and make the necessary investments to ensure they are able to accommodate the hybrid way of working. And, the need to determine these strategies and investments is immediate. In fact, many experts agree that, with proper precautions, there is a projected timeline for when life and work will return to normal.

Business decision-makers must move quickly to ensure they are prepared to support a hybrid model and accommodate their employees when, where, and how they want to work. An essential first step to making this happen is to leverage internal resources or consult with an independent third-party expert to determine if one has the required IT infrastructure that will allow for a seamlessly cohesive working experience—whether in-person or remote. Undoubtably, speed, reliability, and security are all essential when accommodating an optimal hybrid working experience. Nowhere are these attributes more important than with the use of the Internet.

What Internet solution is your business using? If you have not already, now is the time to upgrade your Internet to a fiber-based solution. By implementing fiber, a business-owner can be confident that he or she is investing in the best solution to deliver a smart, seamless, and dependable hybrid work experience. And, to be clear, the financial investment for fiber is more than competitive with the pricing for a sub-optimal coaxial cable solution. Only fiber can provide the exceptional performance provided by symmetrical speeds ensuring that data speed and file transfer rates are the same in both directions. That is, the connection provides the same download and upload speeds—at the same time. In short, investing in fiber is just good for business.

But, the time to act is now. To be prepared to transition to a hybrid model, business-owners must evaluate and engage with a strategic partner that can help identify what solutions best meets current and future business requirements and give confidence that one’s IT infrastructure is ready to support your entire team—regardless of where your employees choose to work.

The workplace changes brought about by COVID-19 are here to stay. Prepping your business for success through strategic IT upgrades is how smart busines-owners guarantee they are ready to address hybrid working and are prepared for whatever the future holds.

*McKinsey and Company Report “What is Next for Remote Work: An Analysis of 200 tasks, 800 jobs and Nine Countries.” https://www.mckinsey.com/featured-insights/future-of-work/whats-next-for-remote-work-an-analysis-of-2000-tasks-800-jobs-and-nine-countries