Rethink the workplace of the future

Rapidly changing market conditions, increased competition, and rising customer expectations are all pushing organisations to find new ways to improve customer service, and speed up development of new products and services.

Meeting these challenges requires a fully engaged workforce, so it’s not surprising to see many organisations giving greater consideration to their workforce composition and productivity. The need for faster innovation is leading to the creation of smaller, more agile teams; while providing better customer service means raising the importance of workers’ satisfaction. Added to this is increased demand for specialist talent, forcing organisations to source workers from further afield and make greater use of freelancers and the gig economy.

All these factors are, in turn, fuelling the need for improvements in working conditions, both when workers are on and off premises.

In every instance one key requirement prevails – the need to ensure every worker is having the best possible experience so they can deliver the best possible result. Organisations need to enable their people to work from where, when and how they want. Failure on any front leads to a loss of engagement, followed by greater absenteeism, lower productivity, and higher attrition.

Technology plays a critical role in overall employee experience

While the days of providing a clapped-out desktop PC and pushbutton landline telephone may seem like the dark ages, many organisations are still getting up to speed with the full benefits the latest generation of communications technology can offer.

In many ways, today’s workers are actually ahead of their employers. Just as a professional chef chooses their preferred knives, today’s knowledge workers have already decided which devices best help them get work done. As a result, savvy employers understand getting the best out of workers means augmenting these devices with specialist tools incorporating the latest acoustic and visual technology, to deliver the best possible collaboration experiences. These tools are powered by platforms that are both secure and sophisticated, yet are as easy to use as consumer devices.

This combination is readily seen in mobile solutions, thanks to enhanced networks, processing power and battery life, and a plethora of powerful cloud-based platforms that extend collaboration to the furthest edges of the network.

Similar innovation can also be seen in on-premises technology. The last 40 years saw organisations tear out offices in favour of open plan environments, and while these have increased social engagement, they have also resulted in high levels of worker distraction.

TOP 6 OFFICE DISTRACTIONS

People in noisy open offices still need to get work done. But you won’t believe how many things distract a typical worker every day from just that. Here are the top offenders, all rated as “high” or “very high” distractions.

1.Loud-talking co-worker on the phone 2.Office celebrations 3.Co-workers talking nearby 4.Table and video games 5.Phone rings or alerts 6.Pets in the office

Similar issues have arisen in contact centres, as managers come to realise the bustling environments may not be conducive to facilitating customers outcomes or creating a pleasant working environment. Hence, employers are investing in technology to help workers concentrate while facilitating their ability to collaborate.

As workplace experience comes into focus, employers are realising providing the best possible environment is a critical factor in driving engagement and productivity. And that means making some smart technology investments.

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Creating productive and collaborative workplaces

As work becomes more collaborative, the need for teams to come together effectively is critical. The distributed, dynamic, and on-demand workforce of today requires unprecedented mobility and seamless experiences to stay engaged and productive.

However, the workplace of today is also responsible for one of the critical factors impacting employee engagement and productivity - distraction. Poly’s own research has found 94 per cent of workers believe they would be more productive in a less noisy environment, while 55 per cent report being disrupted by noise multiple times a day1.

Distraction is one of many factors to contribute to staff disengaging in the workplace, and that can lead to other negative outcomes. On the upside, Gallup’s 2017 State of the American Workplace report found organisations with higher levels of workplace engagement had 41 per cent lower absenteeism and 17 per cent higher productivity2.

Findings like this provide impetus for investment in solutions to get the most out of employees.

The process starts with smart design, and generally revolves around two intertwined concepts: The physical workplace, and the technological workplace.

In the physical world, employers are learning how to best use space, through introducing single occupant private workspaces and huddle spaces, in addition to traditional conference and meeting rooms.

Huddle spaces in particular, are becoming more popular for facilitating shorter, more frequent and more casual meetings than those usually conducted in conference rooms3. The widely distributed nature of teams is leading employers to equip these spaces with collaboration technology with noise block technology, cloud-based video meeting services, speakerphones, and a range of sophisticated video technologies.

1 Perils of the Open Office AKA Managing Noise, Be Heard and Focus, Poly, 2017

2 State of the American Workplace, Gallup, 2017

3 Raising Productivity: The huddle room way, Poly

WHERE WORKERS WORK, AT WORK

WHERE WORKERS WORK, AT WORK

Changes to physical workspaces are further complemented by advances in technological workspaces. According to Frost & Sullivan advancements in wearables, hearables, Internet of Things, artificial intelligence, and augmented hearing are inspiring a new generation of technology for business users, boosting experience through better acoustic design and improved ease of use4

These technologies are now commonplace in professional headsets, and offer best-in-class noise cancellation, to enhance concentration and productivity while allowing users to connect and collaborate anytime, anywhere. These modern headsets enable Millennial and Gen Z users, whose personal and business lives are intertwined, to conveniently switch between listening to music and making a business call.

4 Growth Opportunities for Professional Headsets, Global, Frost & Sullivan, July 2019

These same technologies are also proving critical for improving the experience of contact centre workers. According to an Australian Services Union survey stress is prevalent in contact centres, with 88 per cent of respondents finding their job and workplace stressful, with equipment failure and bad telephone and computer equipment amongst the five most important factors that contribute to stress5

The importance of professional headsets is reflected in their sales growth, with Frost & Sullivan reporting market revenue reaching $1.38 billion in 2018, and this is expected to grow at a robust compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 11.8 per cent to 20256.

The trend towards professional headset technology will evolve further thanks to the rise in use of hearable services, which enable users to monitor and track daily activities, invoke virtual assistants, and interoperate with a variety of applications and services.

Of course, the preference for workers to use their own end-point devices in turn puts pressure on IT buyers to choose solutions that protect existing investments – both their own and those of their employees.

5 Can call centres be a better place to work, Australian Services Union, July 2000

6 Growth Opportunities for Professional Headsets, Global, Frost & Sullivan, July 2019

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Deliver technology that just works then steps out of the way

Organisations should strive to create collaboration scenarios that are as spontaneous and enjoyable as face-to-face interactions. That means enabling digital collaborations that start simply and consistently every time, regardless of whether participants are joining from a conference room or their smartphone, with all participants able to enjoy high quality audio and video free from background noise or visual distractions.

The sheer variety of collaboration scenarios means there is no one-size-fits-all solution. But working with a single supplier can deliver consistency in experience as workers move between different environments.

Meet Poly

Poly, which means “many,” leverages the legendary audio and video expertise of Plantronics and Polycom and its breadth of smart endpoints that connect across and between unified communications platforms to reduce the distractions, complexity, and distance in the modern workspace. Poly aims to be the solution of choice whenever and wherever collaboration clouds reach people.

Through the coming together of Polycom and Plantronics, Poly brings a rich heritage in technology innovation designed to create seamless experiences.

Poly’s NoiseBlock technology, for instance, eliminates disruptive noises between comments, such as shuffling papers or typing on a laptop, enabling an uninterrupted flow of ideas, while Poly’s Acoustic Fence creates an invisible bubble around a workspace and blocks out nearby conversations and ambient noise. On the visual front, Poly’s EagleEye Producer automatically frames and zooms in on participants no matter where they are in the room, to ensure everyone is seen and heard clearly in a video conference.

These technologies come together in Poly solutions to deliver the best possible experience for all participants. For huddle rooms, Poly Studio delivers rich and clear audio, while for larger rooms, Poly Trio incorporates exceptional audio quality to create a collaborative environment.

Poly power end to end. The broadest device portfolio for Microsoft Teams.

Poly’s innovation also encompasses strong partnerships with numerous collaboration platform providers, including Microsoft. Many organisations are in the midst of a migration from Microsoft Skype for Business to Teams. In fact, a recent study shows that 75% of Office 365 customers are planning to migrate to Teams within the next three years. If this is you, Poly is here to help make your transition to Teams a smooth one.

Poly’s high-quality headsets, voice, video, and video-interop solutions work simply and flexibly with Microsoft Teams to create a seamless experience for personal and group collaboration device needs. This includes: Poly Studio X family all-in-one video bars, featuring new Poly MeetingAI™; CCX Series latest native Microsoft Teams handsets; Poly Elara 60 Series turning your smartphone into a desktop collaboration tool; and Savi, Blackwire and Voyager Series headsets with rich audio connections no matter what workstyle.

Poly’s solutions also protect investments by enabling existing video and voice conferencing equipment to easily work with current and future Microsoft collaboration platforms. Deep integration with Microsoft’s platforms has led to these range of solutions designed specifically for Skype for Business and Microsoft Teams meeting rooms, using Microsoft Outlook for scheduling, and enabling one-click join functionality.

Poly Professional Services team provides expertise to plan, deploy, operate and support the Microsoft solution environment.

The global scale and capability of Poly’s services organisation is a strength - a tremendous benefit to customers who need world class service and support services.

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Alliance Partners

Poly’s intelligent hardware products such as headsets, desk phones, conference phones and video endpoints are agnostic to platform and environment. This caters to a growing number of enterprises who are looking to conduct voice and video calling in the cloud.

Poly’s alliance partners aren’t just nice to have—they are essential. More and more, customers rely on alliance players to provide seamless communication and collaboration experiences.

Customers Success Stories

The Mission was Apollo 11

NASA

In 1969, at the height of the race to space, NASA challenged Plantronics (now Poly) to build a comfortable headset that would equip astronauts to communicate with Mission Control from the earth to the moon, and back again. The solution was a lightweight, comfortable headset, engineered to endure the unpredictable rigors of space. As the world watched and listened, Plantronics pushed the limits of modern communication. In that critical moment, the headsets functioned flawlessly. 50 years later, we are still captivated by the same moon.

Associated Press

When combined with smart design, these technologies come together to create amazing experiences for workers. For example, when Associated Press (AP) moved its headquarters from midtown to lower Manhattan in 2017, AP’s senior vice president and chief technology officer, Gianluca D'Aniello, knew the collaboration systems had to be extremely easy-to-use, reliable, and consistent.

“In selecting a conferencing technology, our main driver was ease-of-access,” D'Aniello said. “We wanted people to be independent so communication and collaboration could be fostered at the level we needed.”

AP chose Poly to implement collaboration solutions that enabled the news organisation to connect its offices in New York City, London, Washington D.C., and other locations across the globe. The result has been a more efficient way of working, which has strengthened employee relationships no matter what their location.

Australian Human Rights Commission

The idea of providing an easy and consistent experience was a key factor for the Australian Human Rights Commission when it sought to unite its collaboration devices. The Commission decided to standardise around Microsoft Skype for Business and wanted to integrate all phone and desktop devices with the new platform, to provide an easy-to-use experience with the highest possible audio quality. The organisation chose a combination of Poly headsets and speakerphones and a cloud-based management platform that measured usage dynamics and safeguarded users, ensuring a high-quality communications and collaboration experience.

RACQ LifeFlight

At RACQ LifeFlight, reliability was a key factor behind its decision to invest in Poly. As one Australia’s largest aeromedical charities providing rapid response medical care to thousands of people each year, LifeFlight had been using a range of devices, but required premium-quality assets and software to ensure rapid-response times and deliverables were met and remained at a high standard.

LifeFlight now uses a variety of Poly products in its control room operations and contact centres, with operations manager, Matt O’Rourke, reporting one of the key advantages is the ability to connect the technology to USB, softphone, computer, or mobile.

“In life or death situations, we need to be able to connect to any device without taking time to think about which one,” O’Rourke said.

MYOB

Poly is also supporting agile working at MYOB’s offices in Richmond, Victoria, which have been designed specifically to enable agile working and innovation. The solutions support development teams to collaborate every day to discuss, create, and deliver the right products for clients.

MYOB’s service delivery manager, Martin Longley, said seamless integration of video into the workflow was a critical requirement, whether it was for a voice call, IM, or video conference, to eliminate communication silos. The company also equipped more spaces with collaboration technology, so employees could meet face-to-face across any distance with ease.

“We have always prided ourselves on being flexible and innovative towards our customer base and this is because we have established direct links between our programming and development teams across ANZ,” Longley said.

As the only solution partner to offer voice, video, and platform solutions that directly integrate with Microsoft Skype for Business, Poly collaboration solutions were the clear choice to unify communication platforms across all MYOB offices.

As a proudly Australian company, the focus for MYOB remains on retaining and nurturing talent across the ANZ region. Collaboration technology in MYOB’s workplace has had far-reaching impact for the workforce, being a fundamental communication tool for geographically dispersed teams and clients.

Rondo Building Services

Rondo deployed Plantronics Savi 700 series headsets to 300 members of its staff across five regional offices. In addition to office staff and customer service representatives who use the headsets on site for hands-free communication, the Plantronics USB travel dongle is bringing mobility to the Rondo sales staff. They can now receive calls through their laptops which means they can be anywhere in the world and still take calls to their desk numbers.

“The Plantronics headsets have given our office staff flexibility and mobility,” says Steve Amies, IT Operations manager for Rondo. “And our customer service reps really love the three different wearing styles the Savi headsets offer.”

To effectively manage its large-scale headset deployment, Rondo rolled out Plantronics Manager Pro (PMP) software. PMP is enabling inventory management, compliance tracking, management of firmware, reports and troubleshooting, and providing visibility of headsets and accessories.

“PMP helps us with compliance, easily keeping us up to date on hardware versions,” says Steve. “And the reporting works really well for us, with just the click of a couple buttons we can see how compliant we are against the firmware that is out there.”

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Innovate with Poly: Your end-to-end partner

As the nature of work changes, the composition of teams is becoming more dynamic and distributed. Getting the best out of workers means deploying technology that supports existing technology investments, but does so in a way to enhance the overall experience. It achieves this by improving acoustic and visual elements, and eliminating distractions, while ensuring systems and tools are consistent and simple to use while maximising the collaboration experience.

Poly delivers a comprehensive set of endpoints to the Unified Communications and Collaboration market and differentiate through software.

  • A complete portfolio of devices for collaboration - headsets to handsets to video conferencing
  • Smart endpoints that work with virtually any unified communications solution from virtually any vendor
  • A full solution that incorporates services, management tools and actionable insights to drive better adoption and productivity

Poly delivers a wide range of devices for huddle room, meeting room and boardroom needs. In addition to open offices and on the go - no matter the platform - including Microsoft Teams and all of the major leading collaboration platforms.

Get in touch with a Poly expert

Resource Centre

  • The ‘Experience Economy’How Will it Impact Your IT Team?

  • Growth Opportunities for Professional Headsets, GlobalAn Executive Summary Prepared for Poly

  • Raising Productivity The Huddle Room Way

  • 2019 Buyers Guide Collaborative Solutions to Create the Workplace of the Future, Today

  • All Your Employees are Distracted The Realities of Today’s Open Office and What You Can Do About It

  • Key Takeaways from 4 Poly Roundtables in Australia

  • Poly Studio NoiseBlock

  • Poly Studio Acoustic Fence

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