As managers and HR teams contemplate what their post-pandemic ‘hybrid’ workplace is going to look like, a new Irish start-up is offering a glimpse into how remote and in-office employees could work together on an equal footing.

Launching this month, Yonderdesk has been developed to provide a solution to a fast-emerging HR problem: how exactly can in-office and remote workers be managed effectively?

Making use of state-of-the-art digital technology, Yonderdesk’s innovative new platform is based around the creation of a bespoke, 3D virtual office that is typically (though not exclusively) modelled on a company’s existing premises.

Within this cloud-based digital workspace, every employee – both those based in the bricks-and-mortar company building and those working from home – have their own office or desk, which can be tailored to their own preferences.

They also have easy access to a suite of the company’s most popular collaboration and communication tools.

As employees’ duties change throughout the day, an avatar showing their location moves to wherever they are currently based ­– be that another colleague’s office, the boardroom, a conference suite or even a work canteen, where (optional) integration with food delivery services means that dispersed colleagues can actually enjoy lunch together.

A SNAPSHOT OF THE WHOLE OFFICE

For managers and employees alike, this approach offers an instant visual snapshot of who is where and whether they are free to talk or they are busy. It is designed to create a feeling of “togetherness” that has thus far been missing from the dispersed workforce experience.

Yonderdesk’s key aim is to help companies and their employees get the most out of a new way of working. Impressive digital graphics, collaboration tools and an intuitive interface all help to give those working from home a sense of belonging.

Meanwhile in-office workers using the platform get to enjoy an exciting new, user-friendly desktop experience that has been designed to simplify their daily duties. They also feel more connected to remote workers than ever before.

Says Ben Wainwright, Yonderdesk Director: “Hybrid working enables people to work wherever they need to. This kind of autonomy is proven to influence productivity boosts among remote workers, with a culture of trust and empowerment improving both output and results. More freedom to work at your best means more of your best work.”

One important advantage of using Yonderdesk as a new workplace platform is that it can help minimise the chance of a “two-tier” system developing among employees. Left unchecked, there is a possibility that office-based team members enjoy a greater sense of connectedness to the brand, its values and its leadership team.

Yonderdesk helps to put remote workers on an equal footing by enabling them to see themselves in the virtual workplace, and to remain connected to the company and their colleagues via branded conference rooms, HR offices and extra-curricular events such as live, virtual yoga sessions.

A NEW BRAND PLAYBOOK

For visitors to a company such as clients and customers, a branded virtual reception desk (where a corporate welcome or promotional video can be shown) helps to create a sense of brand and location that has been sorely missing during the pandemic.

Eminently customisable (GP consultations and virtual playrooms for children are among the options being discussed with Yonderdesk’s very first clients), the platform has a number of other features and benefits that make it attractive to business leaders and HR teams looking to address the new hybrid approach to work. These include:

· Quarterly reports detailing the carbon footprint reduction that a business enjoys by using Yonderdesk.

· Secure encryption of all comms and meeting channels.

· “Locked door” function for private meetings.

· Virtual hand raise in meetings and group Zoom chats.

· Branded conference room facilities and group colour scheme customisation.

· Multi screen share.

· CSR obligations met with a percentage of every seat per month donated to charity.

Sums up Wainwright: “Yonderdesk is a low-cost, scalable solution that helps leaders to manage teams globally and brings connectedness and equality to team members no matter where they are based. It works whether you’ve a team of 10 or 10,000 and we believe it will help decision makers create an exciting new playbook for their new hybrid workforce.”

By Lisa Baker, Senior Editor

Senior Editor Lisa Baker is the owner of Need to See it Publishing Group, providing contract news for business and news sites across the UK. Lisa is an experienced HR writer and commentator, editing HR publications for more than 5 years.