Adam Monks, Co-Founder and Director at Smartdesc – Charity IT specialists – discusses how charities and non-profit organisations are planning their communications technology to support a blend of office-based and home-based workers.
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What technologies have worked well during lockdown?
Teams, Zoom and online project management tools such as Trello and Monday.com have been widely used.
Are there any remaining challenges for the 100% home-based workforce model?
Video call fatigue, not hearing the room team building socials, physical and mental wellbeing are all hug challenges that all organisations will face.
If the Vaccination programme is successful ,lockdown is eased, and organisations choose to start coming back to the office, what will be the new fresh challenges to plan for?
A blended workforce is much more of a challenge when it comes to meetings – everyone can stay at desks and go virtual which may cause a very noisy workspace. If you use meeting rooms you will have half the colleagues present and half dialling in, and as we know, this has historically been a real challenge; the physical attendees dominate over those dialling who often can’t hear or see everyone very well.
Are there any specific technologies that might help in a blended workforce situation?
It will be interesting to see which office configurations work well, perhaps think about quiet desk areas, desk areas for video calls and also a range of meeting room types; e.g. no tech meeting rooms all the way through to full kitted out Zoom rooms or Team rooms. These latter options will be the main players for charities. We partner with both these suppliers to help setup modern meeting rooms and leverage the current charity discounts and donations.
It’s helpful to think about meeting room technology potential as bronze/silver/gold as the budget can range from a low cost solution all the way up to a very expensive setup. A meeting room for 6-10 colleagues could be done as the midrange silver option for about £5k all in if you need to buy fresh TV’s, mics, webcams etc.
Agreeing the vision and scope that is acceptable is important, e.g. the tech must allow one-tap join to meetings, all colleagues must be clearly heard and webcams must be capable of pan/scan to pick up the room. These goals would be achieved with a ‘silver’ setup, but perhaps not with a bronze setup, which might be having one PC on the wall with one webcam that also acts as the mic. This might be ok for certain rooms, it all comes down to agreeing what is acceptable and ensuring the meeting room’s function is understood.
Are there any dependencies to consider before commencing a communications technology project for a blended workforce?
Corporate decision on workforce flexibility, office space configuration, numbers of meeting rooms that need to be Teams/Zoom rooms versus non-tech meeting rooms, budget against meeting room tech capability.
Smartdesc specialise in helping charities and non-profit organisations define and deliver their IT and Digital Strategies, as well as helping many organisations cut their IT costs, migrate to remote working platforms such as Office 365 and Teams, and improve their Data Protection and GDPR resilience.
To book a Complimentary Technology Review ready for the return to the office, or to discuss any IT challenges you may have, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Smartdesc is an NCVO Trusted IT Supplier, ACEVO Premium Partner and CFG Partner.