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How professional devices enable flexibility in hybrid work

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Posted
June 30, 2021
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4 minutes

Devices engineered for professional use elevate the hybrid experience to a new level.

During the pandemic, shifting to virtual calls was new for many, so we used whatever devices we could find, even if they weren’t fit for purpose. But as many of us now transition into permanent hybrid working arrangements, having the right professional audio and video devices can dramatically improve the hybrid working experience by enabling teams to connect and collaborate from anywhere. So, whether you’re working at the office, at home, or anywhere in between, getting the right professional device can make any place a productive and flexible hybrid workspace.

The way we work is changing

According to recent data, 9 out of 10 executives envision some form of hybrid model for their organization going forward. While there are many ways to design such a model, they all generally give employees a greater degree of flexibility in when, where, and how they get their work done. This rapid change to both workspaces and working times means that we also need to rethink the tools we use at work. Whether you’re focusing, collaborating, or brainstorming, your device should enable you to work flexibly, not get in the way.

Certified devices keep you connected

The pandemic kicked us out of the physical meeting room and into the virtual one. Because of this, there’s been a meteoric rise in the use of UC platforms. According to Zoom’s most recent statistics, the platform now has over 300 million people in daily meetings. That’s a 2,900% increase since December 2019. Alongside this shift to virtual platforms comes an increase in the use of audio and video devices.

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However, not all devices are created equal. While we might all connect on Teams or Zoom, the audio and video we use to access those platforms plays a big role in the user experience. Having the wrong devices can slow down meetings, make it difficult to connect, or leave us feeling unseen and unheard.

Certified devices help limit these types of collaboration issues. Put simply, a certified device is one which has gone through rigorous testing and is deemed to meet the standards of performance and functionality for UC platforms such as Microsoft Teams, Zoom, and Google Meet. As we spend more and more time collaborating in UC platforms, investments in certified AV devices will only become more important.

Manage devices remotely

When hybrid teams are using consumer devices, there is little that IT administrators can do to ensure the most updated and immersive experience, especially when workers are distributed between the home, office, or co-working spaces. But the rigorous testing of the certification process also enables IT teams to manage devices remotely. So, no matter where their teams are working, they can be sure that all their employees have equal connectivity, and that IT teams can update firmware, troubleshoot issues, and run diagnostics tests remotely. In this way, professional devices create a standardized experience for all employees across work locations.

Turn any place into a workspace

Prior to the pandemic, most of us were working in the office every day. As such, we leaned far less on virtual collaboration technology to facilitate our core collaboration activities: we simply did it in person. But with the rise of remote and hybrid working, our workspace options are expanding and flexibility is growing in importance. The traditional office will still play a large role in the future of work, as will the home office. But there will also be “third” places, such as co-working spaces, satellite offices, airports, cafés, or pretty much anywhere with a reliable internet connection. Because of this, professionals will need devices that enable them to thrive in a range of spaces. With features like Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) to block out ambient noise, and premium microphones that capture your voice while filtering out disruptive background noise, professional devices help ensure that you can work from anywhere without compromising on productivity and professionalism.

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Work whenever it works for you

The pandemic made it more apparent than ever that organizations are made up of individuals who are all trying to maximize their own time. This clearer view into our colleagues’ home-lives (quite literally) has made us increasingly aware that different people have to balance different priorities in different time frames. In a hybrid future, technology will play a major role in helping us strike this balance.

We spoke with Sandhya Rao, Principal Product Manager at Microsoft Teams, to get her take on how certified professional devices make all of this hybrid flexibility possible: “Having a certified device is going to give you enhanced capabilities. For example, with my Jabra set, I know I’m going to have full call control. When I raise my mic, I’m going on mute. When I lower it, I’m unmuted. I can answer and hang up calls right from here. Now, it’s actually like I’m at work, but in my home. If I’m in the kitchen, making food for my kids, and hear a call come in, it’s easy for me to put it on and answer because I’ve got my headset around my neck. My PC is upstairs in my office, but it’s not a problem, it just enables me to remain connected and flexible.”

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