Project Description

7 best practice tips to work smarter in a hybrid world.

Hybrid work was around long before COVID-19 in New Zealand. However, many businesses still aren’t maximising their IT investments and opportunities. With the right tools and approach, your business can significantly boost productivity, efficiency, security, and employee satisfaction.

Matt Bourne, a Solutions Architect at CodeBlue, has helped a range of New Zealand SMBs plan and implement successful hybrid work solutions. In this article he shares his expert tips on how your business can work smarter with the right setup.

Matt Bourne – Solutions Architect

1.     Upgrade your quick-fix hybrid work solutions

We’ve seen many businesses settle for the software solution put in place as a quick-fix when COVID-19 hit. These setups were a great solution at the time, however they often aren’t a sustainable long-term option. An outdated workplace causes employee frustration, inefficient business operations, and even cyber security gaps.

In a lot of ways, New Zealand was a few steps ahead of other countries with hybrid work models because businesses had to rapidly adopt this after the Christchurch earthquake. With a large number of customers located in this area, CodeBlue already has a wealth of experience rapidly deploying quick-fix solutions. Then revisiting them to establish long-term, seamless setups designed for a hybrid world. So, this is my first piece of advice—don’t let an outdated setup hold your business back.

2.     Get input from different areas of your business

Whenever we design a modern workplace  solution at CodeBlue, we get input from multiple areas of our customer’s business. Those in management may not know how people in other areas of the business work and what they need to be impactful. This approach allows the business to achieve a more tailored and effective solution.

As well as making sure the solution works for each area of the business, getting input across the board helps drive inclusion. This is important for successful implementation. It gives more people a say, drives awareness around the solution, and helps employees transition into new tools and systems.

3.     Create in-house hybrid work champions

Change in the workplace is hard and often not welcomed by employees. What’s been extremely successful for us when implementing new technologies is training ‘champions’. On top of general team training, we select a few staff to undergo advanced training. They can then assist and help support the new workplace setup. This has two advantages: it helps to quickly solve any teething issues and it drives positivity.

If you’ve got a couple of people in the business who want to support the new solution and show the benefits to other employees, it can make a huge difference to how well it’s received. Providing general training, creating hybrid work champions, and developing user guides that employees use as a quick reference has been amazing across our customer base.

4.     Choosing the right software

When you’re choosing software, our rule of thumb is that it should do at least 80% of what you want it to do. It’s not a matter of choosing the most popular software. It’s about assessing what each area of your business needs and tailoring your software around this.

We often see businesses in New Zealand using software that only does 50-60% of what they need, then trying to use add-ons and plugins to fill the gap. This creates difficulties for back-end support as well as the end-user. This issue is something a lot of SMBs are not aware of. So, our experts always assess the role of software and the fit during the solution design process.

5.     Should you keep or replace your hardware?

When it comes to your device fleet, I’d recommend refreshing your hardware every 3 years. It doesn’t matter what industry you’re working in, if your employees are using slow, clunky devices, it’s going to negatively affect productivity, satisfaction and security. However, if you already have devices that are working well for your team, your hybrid work solution can be designed with these in mind.

There are a lot of great new technologies in modern devices that are designed for hybrid and remote work. For example, HP’s business devices feature a range of AI-driven audio and video features that help create high quality meeting experiences from anywhere, as well as endpoint security that helps protect users outside of the company firewall. When it’s time to upgrade your devices, it’s important to consider the different roles employees play and what features they need to work as productively as possible.

6.     Put information protection in place

One of the biggest weaknesses that many Kiwi businesses aren’t aware of is information protection. If you do this correctly it can put powerful control of your data in your hands. This could be as simple as stopping someone from emailing credit card information or stopping someone from copying your entire client list to their private storage. To protect intellectual property, businesses can prevent information from leaving the environment or encrypting files and only providing access to certain users.

7.     Leverage AutoPilot for remote deployment

Another tool that is underutilised in New Zealand but is gaining a lot of momentum is Windows AutoPilot . This is supported by brands like HP and allows businesses to automate device enrolment and deployment. If you have a remote user, you can ship a device to their location and have it set up with all your business applications with no intervention from your IT team required. All the user needs to do is log in and AutoPilot will have the device up and running in as little as 10 minutes. This is a great opportunity for businesses to cut back on IT costs and save time, so I think we’ll see it gain a lot more momentum in 2023.

Want to learn more about hybrid work best practices?

Get in touch with one of our experts to find out how we can help your team work smarter.