HP Innovation Issue 18: Summer 2021 | Page 61

Accessories for convenience , comfort , and efficiency To work comfortably at home , hybrid employees may want to consider investing in items that make it easy to move work from one space to another quickly while prioritizing comfort .
A Wi-Fi mesh network system that connects a central router with satellites around the house can eliminate dead zones at home and open up more spaces for work , while a USB dock lets you add additional accessories to your setup . Replicate your office setup with a wireless mouse and keyboard .
Apps that cut down on background noise , such as NoiseGator or the AI-powered Krisp , can also help when the dog starts barking at the mail carrier , while noise-canceling earbuds like HP ’ s Elite Wireless ones , Bose QuietComfort Earbuds , or noise-canceling headphones are effective , too .
Other essential items for the home include a good laptop stand such as the Rain Design iLevel2 , to curb hunching over your device , and a C-table or a lap desk like those by LapGear , to make working from the couch more comfortable . You can also create your own work area with a collapsible desk that can be moved around and stowed away when not in use , or a desk with a stand-up desk converter .
Tech to perfect videoconferencing With online meetings becoming the norm , videoconferencing will remain a staple of the hybrid work environment . People will continue the now familiar shuffle from room to room searching for the tidiest , most professional-looking background for their Zoom calls , and technology to improve how you look and sound on-screen will be critical .
“ Audiovisual quality is now a key factor in your personal brand ,” says Li-Sevilla , noting that , according to HP data , more than 75 % of people judge coworkers and colleagues based on their audio quality and 73 % judge on video quality in online meetings .
As laptops shrink , one challenge has been to incorporate powerful cameras into ever-sleeker devices , like the HP Elite Dragonfly Max with a built-in fivemegapixel camera that projects a crystal-clear image . Hybrid workers can also upgrade from an old webcam to a high-definition , wide-angle camera with an adjustable stand that allows for tilting and swiveling , such as the Brio Ultra HD Pro . A good desk lamp , or a webcam light like Lume Cube , will improve visual clarity during calls .
Devices that enhance audio on video calls will also be crucial , such as the built-in HP Sound Calibration and HP Dynamic Audio features that suppress background noises like air conditioners or sirens wailing outside .
New company culture for the hybrid model A distributed workforce requires more than new tech or equipment ; it also requires a new way of thinking about office culture and engagement . HR teams will search for ways to make new remote employees feel like part of the team , while managers may have more frequent informal check-ins with employees and kick off new traditions to build a cohesive hybrid group .
“ Traditionally , a manager ’ s role has been to supervise employees ,” says Li-Sevilla . “ In a distributed or hybrid work environment , the successful manager is the one who can connect their team to other teams and individuals to other individuals .”
Maryellen Stockton , a remote-work coach and founder of Work Well Wherever , says that managers in this new normal will need to constantly communicate and lead by example . They ’ ll check in regularly with employees to ask them about their challenges , and design their own day in a way that models a healthy work / life balance .
Remote workers will have to take on more responsibility for the management of their own time , too . “ The onus will be on the employee to be more proactive , self-sufficient , and assertive when things aren ’ t working ,” says Scott Dawson , a senior user experience architect at Intercontinental Exchange and author of the book The Art of Working Remotely : How to Thrive in a Distributed Workplace .
Both Dawson and Stockton say that being successful in the new hybrid reality will require employers and employees to embrace new processes and behaviors , including planning meetings with different time zones in mind , making sure employees in the office and at home have equal access to professional development , and giving teams the flexibility to define new ways of working together .
“ Employers will need to be inclusive and empathetic to everyone participating in a distributed workforce ,” Dawson says .