UC Advanced - issue #7


Have we passed the peak of the Hybrid Era?

world. Whatever you blame the current geopolitical climate on, times are tough at the moment which is putting strain on the workforce. Yet, instead of finding innovative ways of being productive, 90% of employers appear to believe that return to office mandates are the way forward. To me, the idea that attendance equates to productivity is a fallacy and I’d argue that it’s detrimental to the company in the long run. Anecdotally, I have worked for two businesses since the pandemic that mandated attendance. While I’m sure the motivation is to be productive, the mandated days were unspecific, meaning that you’re only ever guaranteed to see someone one day a week, limiting any ability to form relationships. Similarly, friends are resigning or finding new jobs within two or three years of employment because businesses are burning out from long days commuting and “meetings that could have been emails.” While the collaboration industry may be aiming for equity in meetings, the wider office culture in the UK seems to be stuck in a pre- pandemic age. It’s emblematic of the gulf between the employers and the employees both in attitudes towards work and their investment in the company. Frustratingly, the technology is there to make a success of the hybrid working set- up. But that set-up feels predicated on being able to trust employees to use these tools to schedule days to come into the office, make use of better technology, and foster that emotional investment into the company rather than focussing on performative productivity. That may be a heavy start to the mag, but I promise it gets lighter! As always, enjoy the magazine, and don’t be a stranger!

I’m sure by the time this magazine is published ISE will feel like a distant memory. But as I’m writing this now, just about recovered from over 30,000 steps in two days, it’s a good time to reflect on what people around the industry said at the show and the trends in collaborations. Naturally, there were some great solutions launched at the show, more than this magazine can do justice for, but what struck me was the demand for meeting room solutions of all sizes. You see, we’ve been at this collaboration lark for a while now, it’s coming up to four years since the first pandemic and WebEx, Slack, Teams, and Zoom were all established collaboration platforms before anyone coughed in Wuhan. So, on the face of it, businesses should have video-enabled meeting rooms before the turn of the decade, or at least looked into these solutions by now. I suspect that businesses are finally starting to wave somewhat of a white flag when it comes to hybrid or remote working. Research from Page Group found that 71% of job ads are more appealing if they mention flexible working with 55% being more attractive with work-from-home options. As a result, meeting equity was another hot topic throughout ISE, as businesses are trying to ensure that every participant is equally heard within a meeting, or at the very least has the experience of being there; succinctly referred to as Meeting Equity in this issue.’ In a perfect world, this would be great. Being able to get a good, not perfect, but a good experience from virtual meetings is the goal a lot of the UC industry is pushing towards; and has largely achieved. Unfortunately, we don’t live in a perfect

Elliot Mulley-Goodbarne Editor

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Q4 · 2023


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