When we were all sent home during lockdown, a number of our core beliefs came to fruition. We are a blended business with the marriage of our four pillars – Technology, Communications, Cyber Security, Interiors – and, of course, the fifth pillar, which we don’t talk about enough, service and support. But we practise what we preach, we are Microsoft 365 based, we use 8×8 communications software, work in the cloud and have security, which allows us to work anywhere securely. To be honest, it was pretty seamless, and many of our clients saw the benefits too.
I saw my children take to home education with aplomb, and this is clearly part of the future strategy in education as we have just been awarded a contract to supply a South Coast College with circa 500 HP devices through our Crown Commercial Services Framework access of Lots 1,2 & 3. The education sector is certainly moving towards a tech-based way of learning and in the workplace world we often look to the education sector for future pointers. Furthermore, one of our proudest moments was supplying The Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust throughout the pandemic, also coming through the CCS contracts.
As we put our ‘left leg in, left leg out’ and test the waters of a return to work, and, of course, the developments this will bring, my next question is ‘how will this occur and will the tech save us again?’
I think we can all agree that we have learnt new ways of working. Do you even think about it now when you take a call on Microsoft Teams or log on to a webinar? Will we take these new habits into the workplace? How will that affect the way we work? Many of our clients are asking for Teams booths so we can make those video calls from the office in a relevant place. A development, a change to our working ways, yes, but certainly not the ‘death of the office’ which I did read about.
This type of booth perfectly sums up the ACS attitude to the office and, in fact, informs the way we work, as we believe in the workplace should be brought together to one end, the user. This is why the marriage of tech, furniture and interiors is so important. A video conference room wouldn’t get used much if the video service was poor. What if the video worked but the acoustics were terrible? How far can you work flexibly if your wi-fi is poor? We bring this together, after all, tech is the enabler, it allows the interior to work in the way you want it to.
What has become clear is that the office will become something new, will develop, or at least be used in different ways. What cannot be replaced are the social aspects, training and possibly the most elusive of all, your culture. Can a fully connected workplace help with these? As the furniture and interiors teams wrestle with these new changes it is clear, to me at least, that the tech industry will be part of that answer as agility, flexibility and mobility become bywords.
We Are Workplace is another of our mantras and recent events have only enforced my belief that a blended approach is the right one.
To find out more about ACS Office Solutions visit www.acs365.co.uk