Since the Covid-19 pandemic began, the nature of the office workspace has undergone dramatic changes.
Today’s office looks much different from even a few years ago. While the norm for decades has been the commute to work and a 9-to-5 day in an office location, today, there are three distinct workspaces: the traditional in-office experience, a fully remote workforce, and a hybrid version.
For some companies, it’s “business as usual” with all their work taking place inside offices, conference rooms, and around water coolers. Some transitioned to a fully remote footing with all or most staff working from home and relying on digital spaces to meet and work. Others still have gone hybrid — keeping some staff in the office while others work from home, occasionally swapping roles.
Despite the traditional view that in-office work is best, remote work continues to grow in popularity. Even the CEO of Salesforce, Marc Benioff, acknowledged in September of 2021 that “we’re not all going back” to the office. The familiar environment, the lower levels of social stress, and the less frequent distractions have all made many remote workers fond of the new setup.
However, what does that mean for the critical element of business collaboration?
Can Good Communication Still Thrive in a Hybrid Office?
With some major businesses shifting permanently to remote work and many others continuing to function in a hybrid capacity out of necessity, it’s clear that there is now a new normal. With teams split between locations, an important question remains: will the quality and pace of work suffer due to the lack of easy in-office, face-to-face communication?
The importance of tools for fostering collaborative work in digital spaces has only become more evident in recent years because of this uncertainty. Especially for businesses with staff split between the office and the home, there must be a way to continue creating opportunities for collaboration, idea sharing, and group work — even if not every group member is in the same location.
While video conferencing platforms such as Zoom work in some contexts, what about when employees need to create together?
Software that offers real-time collaboration functionality is a clear front-runner for solving that challenge. Digital formats such as PDF are highly versatile and well-suited to working across multiple locations and varying computer platforms.
With the appropriate PDF software choices, such as Kofax Power PDF, businesses can easily equip themselves with collaborative document capabilities.
With everyone connected to the same network, either locally or via a VPN, users can open the same document and see real-time markup as they collaborate. The software itself becomes a new digital workspace, and when staff also communicate via text, voice, or video, the experience has all the advantages of traditional in-office work.
Looking Toward the Workplace of Tomorrow
For now, a permanent shift back to the office across industries seems unlikely. Companies using a well-planned and equipped hybrid workplace can save on overhead costs such as real estate without sacrificing productivity.
With a majority of workers reporting they feel happier working from home, employee sentiment seems to be on the side of a hybrid remote future, too.
Although the many workplace changes have caused disruption, they’ve paved the way for an exciting future where there are no limits on what it means to be “at the office.”
Preparing for that future today will be an essential effort for many businesses, and a paperless office is possible by shifting into digital formats such as PDF. Real-time PDF collaboration through software will be an integral replacement for the conference room brainstorming session or the quarterly reporting process.