How Mobility is Changing Office Life

Over the last year or so, I’ve been thinking about how different life would be had the pandemic happened in the 1990s, let’s say. Given how so many companies struggled to pivot to remote work, how would we have been able to continue working effectively if this had happened in 1991? Or 2001? We’ve been able to adapt so quickly, in large part, because of the digital technologies we had already embedded in our daily lives. Now that some of us will be returning to the office, some will continue to work from home, and some will go hybrid, we all need to consider new strategies to connect with everyone, no matter how or where they work.

Whichever style of work is available to you — particularly if you have the option to occasionally work from another country, like I did — one thing is certain: having a mobile office is the easiest way to adapt to change. Advancements in digital collaboration tools have made the mobile office possible and now, there are so many ways to make sure every employee has all the right tools, services and support to work from anywhere. To help you find what works best for you and your team, here are three things you should think about, along with some of my favourite tools, to make the transition from home office to work office (and anywhere in between) seamless.

Bridge the gap

One of the biggest challenges of the new mobile office is that companies will be operating with distributed teams. The question is, how do we ensure that those in and out of office can easily collaborate with each other and still feel like they belong to the same team? With Staples Canada’s Ring Central Service Platform, companies can bridge the gap between those in the physical and digital workspaces through a common online community. You can send instant messages, share files, create groups, assign tasks and video conference from any device, all in one place. It’s a one-stop shop for distributed teams looking to collaborate on projects or bounce off ideas with each other, wherever anyone may be.

The right stuff

With ‘hybrid’ as the new normal, many companies will soon realize that every employee must be able to plug in and out as easily as possible to make this new style of work ‘work’. Providing employees with easy, portable tools that make the work day easier is a small thing that can make a big impact. The options for tools and accessories are endless, so if you don’t know where to start, here’s a list of items I think every hybrid worker needs, wherever they are:

  • A great set of wireless earphones: Background noise is inevitable when every employee is in a different place. Having wireless earphones, especially those with noise cancelling capabilities, can help block out the noise and help your productivity.

  • A charging station – to keep all your mobile devices charged up and ready to use

  • A portable hard drive —  having a reliable SSD lets you securely move your files between home and office, so you can always continue working where you left off.

  • A good backpack to take your mobile equipment on the go. With file compartments, a protective laptop sleeve and adjustable straps to distribute the weight of your items, this bag was designed with the mobile worker in mind.

Tech support

With employees working from anywhere and everywhere, companies have to rethink how they approach tech support and cybersecurity. Small and medium-sized businesses, in particular, may have limited resources to access the even farther-reaching geographic area of their remote or hybrid employees. By using Staples Canada’s nationwide network of teams and services, like Nerds on Site, these businesses can rely on experienced professionals for either in-person or online support to assist their employees with any of their IT needs.

It goes without saying that the pandemic has completely changed the way we think about the ‘workplace’. In fact, for the average office employee, ‘work’ is no longer a ‘place’ at all. ‘Work’ as a defined geographic location is a thing of the past—now, it can be anywhere and anytime, provided employees are supported and well-equipped to do so. The last few years have been tough for so many, but by creating mobile offices—with the right digital tools, products and services — businesses of any size can seize the opportunity to find new ways of working that will help them thrive during the pandemic and beyond.

Winy Bernard is a member of the Staples Work from Anywhere Advisory Council, a collective of industry experts and thought leaders across the fields of tech, productivity, design, ergonomics, and more. The Council supports our community in the new world of work with expert insight, thought leadership and informative content to work smarter, learn more and grow every day. Find out more about the Staples Work from Anywhere Advisory Council and its members here.

By Winy Bernard

October 25, 2021