Hybrid work is clearly here to stay, as many companies are exploring how best to maintain the new reality of work and maximize employee engagement. Although companies continue to struggle with what remote work means for them, we at least know that the days of going to the office five days a week are clearly long gone.
Now, as we head into 2023, the drive is on how best to engage employees, some of whom may struggle to truly connect with each other, as well as partners and customers. says Brian Minnault, senior director of intelligent collaboration and solutions at Lenovo Radar Pro Technology The most important elements of any mixed work culture include flexibility and functionality.
“I live here in Raleigh, North Carolina,” says Mignault. “Lenovo has a campus in Research Triangle Park, which for me with traffic would take 45 minutes in the morning and 45 minutes to get home in the afternoon. Instead of sitting in traffic now for an hour and a half a day, I have the opportunity to take My kids to school, to play sports, or to pick them up from school sometimes.
“This flexibility has improved my life and given me a chance to do things differently. But I also have the opportunity to be more productive and effective in my role on a daily basis as well.”
Where many hybrid workers struggle, including Mignault, is the way meetings can build up throughout the workday. These might start at 7:30 in the morning and end in the wee hours of the evening, he continues. While there’s no silver bullet, the key is to make the meeting experience easier, smoother, and more engaging — with technology helping to bring about parity between in-person and remote meetings.
It’s something Lenovo outlined four or five years ago, with the advent of hybrid work further highlighting the need to invest in enhancing the meeting experience and making it truly immersive. “Think of the conference room days where you walked into the room and there was probably an audio CD sitting there in the middle of the table,” he says. “You know who didn’t get a chance to be in that meeting? The remote employee who was out of the room and nobody saw it.”
Now, Mignault suggests, the industry is in the midst of a major renovation of the conference room, meeting structure, and the future of the business itself. Hybrid work, the number of days spent in the office and even the specter of a four-day workweek are all part of the conversation. When you look more into the future, you start to think about different technologies like Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR), and Artificial Intelligence (AI) and how they can be combined to improve a mixed work culture.
However, ensuring a sustainable shift to hybrid work will not come without challenges, with safety a major consideration. It is a concern that Lenovo discusses in depth with its partners Intel® and Microsoft.
“If you look at Intel technology, from a vPro perspective, that’s a big part of our platform that we have with our ThinkSmart solutions here at Lenovo,” he says. “Intel is one of our most important partners in all aspects of our portfolio here at Lenovo, but if you look at our collaboration solutions, they’re built on Intel architecture, and Intel vPro is a really important technology to me when we look at the software stack and how we manage conference rooms.”
Examples of technology in action are hubs about posting patches in a meeting room, or the ability to see whether or not a meeting room is being used effectively, and how often it is being used. Mignault takes advantage of ThinkSmart Manager software, powered by Intel vPro technology, to this end.
“From my point of view, when you think about solutions that will benefit customers with collaboration, I want people to think about one thing — and that simplicity — because it can get really complex, really fast,” he says.
To hear our full conversation with Lenovo’s Brian Mignault and learn more about how he can use the latest technologies to build a sustainable hybrid work culture, watch the video above.
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