Hybrid workplace: how SMEs achieve flexible working

The coronavirus pandemic is influencing our working world and working hours: flexible working and intelligently networked workplaces are becoming increasingly important.

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Megatrends such as digitisation and new work are changing our way of working. But the ongoing pandemic also has a major influence on our work and the world of work of the future. Flexible working is becoming more important than ever for companies, employers and employees – and the flexible hybrid workplace provides the best conditions for it.

The coronavirus pandemic turned almost everything upside down in 2020. Social interaction, entire job descriptions and even offices and all the workspaces within them. In particular, working from home has made more flexible working hours a possibility for employees, which has proven advantageous for many employers.

Flexible working hours, flexible location: the age of the hybrid workplace is on the way

Before the coronavirus crisis, few employees were able to work from home, then within a few days suddenly half the department, or in some cases even more, had the opportunity – that experience from last year is shared by many companies throughout Europe.

‘In 2021, we are entering the age of workplace flexibility. It will offer employees seamless and efficient workflows – regardless of whether they are on or off the premises,’ says Olaf Lorenz, Senior General Manager, Digital Transformation Division, at Konica Minolta Business Solutions Europe.

The flexible workplace of the future: how does the new working model function?

A hybrid workplace offers various ways for flexible working: employees can work on-premises – that is to say, in the office. But they can also work off-premises: perhaps from home, perhaps on the road – available anywhere, any time, throughout the world thanks to the cloud.

Applied to the flexibly usable hybrid office, that means the term ‘workplace’ will refer to much more than just a geographical location – a new, location-independent model that manages work, projects, flexible working hours and working locations with greater flexibility and enables better work-life balance.

Hybrid workplace: giving working from home and in the office equal standing

‘We have never been as prepared as we are now to deal with the effects of a pandemic,’ explains Lorenz. Just under a decade ago, most employers who are now sending their employees to work from home could not have done so, says the expert in digital transformation.

Industry experts from the international consulting firm IDC expect that by 2023, around 75% of the world’s 2,000 largest listed companies will commit to providing technical parity with their employees so that they can work together in real time, on- and off-premises.

Decentralised: the hybrid workplace is intelligently connected

Many employers’ physical offices and office buildings will become smaller in the future. That also changes the demands on IT, explains Yoann Fortini, IT Services Go-To-Market Senior Manager at Konica Minolta Business Solutions Europe: ‘IT will no longer consist of a central internal network that can be accessed from outside.’

Instead, the IT departments of the future will manage a decentralized network of devices. Devices will be intelligently connected and communicate with each other through a variety of internal access points.

Flexible working in terms of time and space – the new normal

Workplace Hub from Konica Minolta offers solutions for secure and effective remote working, teleworking, teamwork and digital workflow solutions.

For example, SMEs can migrate their IT infrastructure to Workplace Hub and get it ready for the cloud. This allows every worker and employer access to the entire IT infrastructure when working from home or on the go, just like if they were at the company workplace. At the same time, the security of the company network is guaranteed – a benefit that results in more flexibility and productivity.

The big advantage: ideally, digital hybrid workplaces offer a high level of efficiency for flexible working due to their professionally planned IT infrastructure – and thanks to their flexibility, more potential for independence in terms of work and use of time, both on and off company premises.

At the same time, employers no longer necessarily have to form teams based on who is physically on-site, but rather, team leaders can bring together the best people for specific tasks or projects from across the company, and easily integrate third parties. A boost for limitless creativity, innovation and flexibility.

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