Supporting the 'anywhere employee': How CIOs are approaching the hybrid workplace

As businesses begin approaching the process of returning to physical work spaces, CIOs are rethinking the technologies that have powered their organizations over the past year and how to make employees comfortable in a hybrid workplace, The Wall Street Journal reports. 

"The office is really not going to be a place for solitude email," PepsiCo Global CIO Seth Cohen said, according to the April 12 report. "It's going to be more of a place for collaboration." 

Like Mr. Cohen, many CIOs are approaching physical offices as a place to go for employees whose life circumstances don't allow them to work remotely, as well as in-person client meetings. Tasks that require individual concentration can then be handled from home. 

With this shift in the workplace, IT leaders are thinking about how to support innovation in a hybrid world, said John-David Lovelock, chief forecaster at Gartner, adding that, "It's now moving to more about what the new 'anywhere employee' is going to look like." 

Technologies that promote collaboration and feelings of inclusiveness among employees, regardless of their location, are becoming even more vital for organizations, said Archana Rao, CIO at Australian business-productivity software maker Atlassian. One fix Atlassian has implemented is a recent companywide mandate requiring employees in shared spaces to tune in to video meetings from separate computers, even if they are in the physical office, so that remote workers don't feel left out. 

At PepsiCo, Mr. Cohen is leading a team to explore the use of advanced analytics to determine insights such as whether people are using conference rooms. Having real-time data will help the company, which has 120,000 employees in the U.S., repurpose rooms based on employee needs, he told the Journal.


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