Redesigning the digital workplace: Where are we now?

Companies are adjusting their distributed workforce strategies as the initial effects of the pandemic begin to subside, at least in some areas. Learn how to redesign your hybrid work strategies in an upcoming webinar, September 16, 9:00 PDT.

By Lin Nease, HPE Fellow and IoT Chief Technologist

After the massive changes we have seen over the last 18 months, will working life ever be the same again? It is questionable to say the least. Many companies are switching to a flexible, hybrid workplace that not only enables expanded features from home, but also an integrated user experience across a wide range of locations.

The hybrid workplace is, of course, a vibrant, breathable device. Right now, we are in a new phase where companies are revising the decisions they made in the early response to the pandemic and redesigning the workplace to support their goals far into the future. (See: What is a digital workplace?)

Together with my colleague Joachim Vuitton, HPE Global Business Development Manager for IoT Services, I will talk about the latest developments in an upcoming webinar: How to redesign your distributed workforce. I hope you can join us on Thursday, September 16 at. 9:00 PDT; 12:00 EDT; 18:00 CET. We will cover a range of hot topics, including the new division of labor; remote control; and the increase in employee augmentation and flexible automation solutions.

I was asked to give a brief example of the webinar by John Cummings, editor of Cloud Experience everywhere blog. Here is an excerpt from our discussion:

John Cummings: Did companies experience a decline in productivity when a larger number of employees started working from home?

Lin Nease: Surprisingly for many — no, they did not notice any decline in productivity. And this fact has had huge consequences for the company’s workplace strategies. Realize, though, that I’m talking about strictly “knowledge” workers; of course, manual tasks in an operation still need to be performed in the workplace.

Some of the earliest inquiries we received from corporate customers related to “measuring the output of teleworkers”. These questions, however, largely disappeared. The new question is, “How little office space can we handle?”

John: How are companies redesigning their digital workplace strategies now that people are starting to return to the office?

Lin: Unfortunately, no one seems to know for sure how many employees show up when they have the choice. This is a problem because companies are having a hard time “right-sized” the new hybrid workplace. Preliminary observations indicate that fewer employees actually commute to the office, compared to how many indicated that they would.

How does this affect the strategy of the workplace? Without experience and precision, companies take a “wait and see” approach to how the new hybrid workplace is actually used: Is it primarily a collaboration space? Is it primarily a hot-desk office? Are there correlations between the types of employees who want to work in the office and the types of services they want?

John: What innovations do you see in employee augmentation and / or flexible automation?

Lin: The most common augmentation / automation technology that is gaining momentum right now is certainly visual AI. Whether used to inspect production outputs, scan for anomalies from surveillance cameras, look for blurred tumors in radiology images, or sense changes in demand or traffic patterns, visual AI is pretty much always used to help people (rather than replace them). Productivity gains from visual AI are often geometric and difficult to fully understand before the technology is in place.

I hope you can attend the webinar – sign up today and mark your calendar for September 16, 9:00 PDT: How to redesign your distributed workforce

Learn more about hybrid workplace and how HPE can help you reinvent your workplace.

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Lin Nease is an HPE Fellow and Chief Technology Officer for HPE Pointnext Services’ IoT Consulting Practices. In this role, he is responsible for defining strategy, building a technology plan and driving innovation with key corporate customers / partners in HPE.

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