Categories: Collaboration Devices

Return to in-person: Enabling equitable experiences for all

Spaces enabled with open-platform technology support choice and consistent experiences for everyone, everywhere.

People are ready for hybrid. Since workers started spending time away from the office, they report being happier, healthier, wealthier, and having stronger familial ties. Remote work has created a new possible for the modern workplace; where emotional, financial, mental, physical, and social well-being are supported. With these improved remote experiences, office spaces will need to work harder than ever to support the well-being of its visitors to attract them. Companies can ready their offices with technology that supports equitable working experiences including:

  • Rich data that empowers office visitors with choice.
  • Devices that enable consistent and personalized experiences — at any desk.
  • Technology that supports equal visibility and participation, wherever you are.

As the great “Return to Office” begins, technology brings great potential to promote equity and fairness – both in-person and remote – across collaboration and meeting experiences.

Your office visit, your choice

Offices will be a hub for collaboration, and a space to create culture and community. For culture and community to thrive, employees must first and foremost feel safe. 97% of employees want changes to make their offices feel safer, while some underrepresented groups have expressed interest in not returning at all. To attract workers and build a positive culture, traditional office spaces will have to work harder than ever before. With technology-enhanced buildings, employees can have the visibility and control to choose when, where, and how they engage with the hybrid office place. Webex Devices integration with DNA Smart Workspaces gives users visibility to rich information like occupancy statistics and environment data, to make informed decisions about where they work.

For instance, if needing some social interaction brought them to the office, they can intentionally book a desk next to their teammates. Or, employees can see and choose spaces to stay socially distanced, put on a headset like the Bang & Olufsen Cisco 980 and focus. Users have agency in when and where they work.

Of course, equity means equal opportunities for all — regardless of meeting platforms and tools currently in use. Webex Devices sensor data is available in the Webex Control Hub, and now available for integration with Smart Workspaces for DNA Spaces. And as we remain committed to providing simplified data accessibility for all, Webex devices sensor data integration with third-party workplace management platforms will come later this year.

Personalized, consistent experiences at any desk

The idea of “equitable experiences for all” is the nirvana of hybrid work experiences, but it can feel like an intimidating goal to reach when “for all” means a lot of people. If scale wasn’t a factor, we’d deploy an immersive video conferencing experience in every conference room and remote home office. Hybrid work, solved.

But scale is a challenge as companies are majorly shifting their IT, HR and facilities strategies to support hybrid work. At Webex, we are constantly working to solve for this challenge- with affordable solutions that bring consistent and personal experiences to every desk. Solutions like the new Cisco Video Phone 8875 for Webex — a personalized and premium video phone that supplies consistent hybrid work experiences at an affordable price point.

I’ve previously shared our vision for personalized hot desking experiences at the office to create inclusive experiences in shared spaces. We are furthering that vision with the 8875. It’s an affordable solution for hot desking where users will be able to simply scan a QR code to login and access their schedule, join meetings, and make or receive phone calls from their own business phone number — making even shared spaces at the office feel personal.

An equal seat at the conference room table

If you had the opportunity to join remote participants from a conference room pre-pandemic, you might remember the experience. Remote participants on the call would have their own window, often with their name somewhere within the picture. A conference room joins the call, and suddenly 10 floating heads appear in one small on-screen window. Something like CONF-FL2 would be the label. Companies like Rebel are the forerunners of this megatrend, adapting their workspaces for hybrid work and hybrid events at scale.

Imagine being on that call, about to share possibly the best idea you’ve ever had, and you’re this person:

You might not want to come into the office the next time you have a meeting and something important to share. Remote participants have better visibility in the virtual meeting space… and the same could be said the other way around for the physical meeting space. It’s just one of the many complex challenges of hybrid collaboration, and Webex devices are solving for it. Our room conferencing devices, like the Webex Room Bar, use AI and People Focus to ensure all participants have equal presence on the virtual call.

We are extending People Focus with a new option on our devices — it’s called Frames. Frames captures meeting room attendees in the most efficient way on-screen, leaving any blank space out of the view. This new feature provides better visibility to your physical attendees in any meeting, including on third-party platforms.

With inclusive experiences like this one, coupled with technology that is open and extensible to support how you are meeting, collaboration devices support work that’s more equitable. Hybrid work, made better.

***

To learn more about how Webex devices create better experiences at the office, register to join us in-person or online at Cisco Live!

Returning to the office? Get ready with our best practices guide.

See how we are building premium and consistent hybrid work experiences in any space.

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Published by
Snorre Kjesbu

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