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Next steps towards the total hybrid experience


The news that hybrid working is the future of work surely comes as music to the ears of many. For office-based workers, it means a flexible start each morning, or the opportunity to make the most of ‘digital nomad’ visas. Organizations too have benefited, with as many as 70% of them seeing improvements to productivity, reduction in facility management costs. More importantly, hybrid working bodes well for diversity and inclusion.

This rapid shift to hybrid working means employees want to be able to work seamlessly across locations, devices, and on the move. Organizations now need to re-look at their digital operations model and address technical and operational debt accrued over the years. With the fundamental infrastructure in place, it is imperative organizations take the next steps to deliver the Total Employee Experience.

In 2022, there are two aspects to hybrid workplace leadership: optimizing the base and preparing for transformation. Here we look at key trends that we expect to accelerate this year.

Narrowing the ‘Digital Dexterity’ Gap

Digital dexterity denotes the ability of an employee to take full advantage of the technology at hand. In plain language, can I use the tools I’ve been given to their full capability? Or is it proving a challenge? The answer to these questions is a bit tricky as we have four generations in the workplace – Baby Boomers and Generations X, Y, and Z – with differing technology skillsets. Failure to manage this disparity and maximize capabilities directly impacts productivity- and with more connected technologies entering the workplace this year, issues will only snowball if left unaddressed.

Narrowing the gap starts with training. Employing external trainers or utilizing in-house IT teams to run employees through the ‘whats’ and ‘hows’ might sound obvious, but few organizations have done it. Productivity tools like Microsoft Teams are more than messaging services – they are platforms for a more efficient, collaborative way of working. Optimizing familiar programs is essential; introducing productivity augmenting capabilities with automation and emerging technologies is the next step.

Patching Vulnerabilities

With the introduction of IoT connected workplaces and with many employees working from home, data ecosystems are getting larger and more complex. Both multiply the entry points for cyber attackers, making robust cybersecurity more important than ever.

With a lens on addressing new vulnerabilities, leaders must evaluate how this will affect the employee experience. To address this, we must step away from bolted-on security towards built-in capabilities while ensuring partners and supply chains are protected. The raised threat level punches above the capabilities of small or in-house security providers, and so leaders must engage with larger, global organizations to manage security. This does not spell the end of in-house security but should accelerate its evolution into a more employee-centric service.

Achieving True Flexibility

We are much closer to understanding what flexibility means to employees. It’s the freedom to work wherever, whenever, and however you can be most productive and attentive to your personal wellbeing. Leaders must make informed decisions about the degree to which this is offered, but what is clear is that flexibility is desired and desirable. A recent study found that flexible working delivered a £37 billion-a-year boost to the UK economy and with 50% more uptake, its value could rise to £55 billion.

The next step is operational flexibility. We are already seeing a shift in how customers engage with services. Agile contracts from niche service providers are becoming more in demand as they enable organizations to respond faster – as opposed to being weighed down by locked in, long-term commitments. The surge of new providers delivering this ‘Netflix’ model will be important in addressing industry-specific needs by offering verticalized solutions.

Augmenting Inclusivity and Sustainability

Gartner Research into hybrid working has found that it can boost inclusion by 24%. The technology keeping us connected has enabled organizations to widen the pool of candidates by extending geographical range. This reflects the importance of delivering a workplace experience that goes beyond simple connection. Increasingly, employees expect consumer-grade experiences that are both personalized and intuitive to their needs.

Technologies such as Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality can be used to enhance training, collaboration, and recruitment. Engaging in simulations of day-to-day interactions, for instance, is an effective way to inculcate a culture of diversity and inclusion.

Digital adoption is and will be fundamental to delivering this. Therefore, it is important to design a workplace that interconnects technology with people and workspaces. If, for example, an employees’ laptop is coming to the end of its lifecycle, new predictive technology should be able to anticipate this and replace it before it malfunctions. The ‘self-healing’ workplace is just one of many ways new technology can be leveraged to make employees feel more valued and engaged. In addition, AI and data driven technologies can automate workloads, freeing up employees’ time to innovate or engage in tasks higher up the value-chain.

As well as inclusivity, we will see sustainability goals accelerated by hybrid working and new technology this year. We at Capgemini have a two-fold ambition of delivering a net zero future to our clients as well as within our group. By leveraging the right workplace technology and tools we seek to help our clients save 10 million carbon tonnes by 2030. As a group, we have an internal target of becoming carbon neutral by 2025 and net zero by 2030. Global carbon emissions dipped by 7% in 2020, attributed to reduction in business travel and lower office energy bills for electricity, heating, and cooling. With the right Digital Workplace tools and platforms, there’s no reason why this trend shouldn’t continue.

Putting Experience in the Driving Seat

At Capgemini, experience drives everything. This might once have been misconstrued as fluffy but the last two years have shown us that connecting employees is far more nuanced than providing essential technology. Experience is a vital measurement of how people interact with what they are working with and how it interacts with them.  We are investing in technologies such as Metaverse, quantum computing, and applied innovation to design a future-ready workplace that delivers frictionless, consumer-grade experience for all. The global pandemic has taught us the importance of resilience and business agility. Therefore, it’s fundamental that we optimize the base and secure the workplace so that we can accelerate on a firm footing. The future workplace is responsive to human emotion, motivates employees to adopt technologies, is inclusive by nature, and foregrounds agility.

Looking to enable hybrid working in your organization? Visit our website to know more about connected employee experience offer or get in touch with our expert


 Alan Connolly
Global Head of Digital Workplace Services, Cloud Infrastructure Services