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Top 10 Digital Workplace Articles of 2021

December 31, 2021 Digital Workplace
Mike Prokopeak
By Mike Prokopeak

2021 saw the rise of the metaverse into mainstream business conversation. Employee experience also had an extended moment, and unified communications as a service became a topic of interest. But by far the topic Reworked readers were interested in, judging by what they read, was the hybrid workplace.

What is the hybrid workplace and how does it work? What software will organizations need to thrive in the hybrid world? What skills are paramount when the majority of the workforce is working in a hybrid fashion?

The new reality of work is forcing employers to embrace new plans and develop and re-develop those plans to adjust to a workforce model that certainly feels like it’s entered a new era. So, with that in mind, here are the top 10 digital workplace articles from 2021 to help shape your thinking:

1. There’s More to the Metaverse Than Facebook and Microsoft

Looking at the media coverage about the metaverse since Facebook announced it was rebranding as Meta and refocusing its future development, it would be a reasonable assumption that Meta and Microsoft were the main, if not the only, players in this growing virtual space. However, there are many other companies building metaverses, or elements of the metaverse, for the future. Writer David Roe identified several competitors staking their claims to the digital frontier.

2. Top Skills for the Hybrid and Digital Workplace

Remote and hybrid work forced a shift in priorities and investment. But big questions remain: What's the balance of hard technical skills, such as coding and project management, with so-called soft skills, such as influencing and communication? And, equally importantly, what are actionable ways employees can develop these skills? Writer Scott Clark detailed the workforce skills needed to thrive in the virtual and hybrid world of work.

3. What the Post-COVID-19 Workplace Will Look Like

Remote work, or more specifically hybrid work, will be the new work model for many organizations. It is also clear that many companies, including some of the biggest tech companies that have developed tools to enable remote work, are planning to go back to the physical office in some fashion or the other. Plans change nearly weekly, but David Roe talked to some experts to get their ideas of what our post-pandemic workplace will look like.

4. Microsoft Viva — Who Is It For?

Microsoft launched its new Viva offering in February 2021 to an overwhelmingly positive response. Pitched as an "employee experience platform," the goal is to tie together "engagement, learning, wellbeing and knowledge discovery, directly into the flow of people’s work." But what is Microsoft’s actual positioning, and how much of what’s on offer is about marketing, asks Reworked contributor Sam Marshall.

5. What Absolutely Should Not Return to the Physical Workplace?

Reworked senior editor Dom Nicastro started with that simple question, and talked to workforce leaders to get their thoughts on what should stay home when people actually head back to a physical office. What bad habits, policies and general approach should companies abandon forever as employees return to offices? Read on to find out.

6. 5 Principles to Guide Decision-Making When Building a Hybrid Workplace

Hybrid work is a complex topic, writes Reworked contributor Kaumil Dalal, and companies won't solve it and then move on. Rather, it will become part of a long-term operating model — and should be developed and managed as such. The actions we take now are stepping stones toward the future hybrid workplace — so it pays to approach them with a high degree of care.

7. Did Google Get Its Hybrid Work Plan Right?

The future of work is flexible, wrote Google CEO Sundar Pichai when he announced his company’s plan to roll out hybrid work. Companies like Google have emerged at the forefront of hybrid work approaches — at least in publicizing them. If their approach will work is another story to tell months down the road — for Google and others that tend to set industry standards, wrote Reworked editor Dom Nicastro in this article.

8. Emerging Software Needs for the Hybrid Workplace

Dom Nicastro made another entry into Reworked’s top 10 digital workplace articles of 2021 with this piece on software. The workplace has seen its fair share of debate over how hybrid work should be managed, he wrote, but whatever approach organizations choose, there will naturally be plenty of technology needed to support their modern digital workplaces. Just what kind of tech will that be? Dom has the download.

9. The Successes and Failures of the Remote Workplace So Far

After a year of immense changes in business operations, what have been the successes and failures of this newly mobile, remote and digital workplace? Reworked writer Scott Clark did his homework and found four successes and four failures from the front lines of remote work.

10. Can You Hear Me Now? How Unified Communication Is Driving the Digital Workplace

One of the issues mentioned in research on remote work and whether it will be possible for the foreseeable future is how communication between workers is being enabled. While unified communications have been an element of the enterprise for a long time, unified communications in the cloud, or Unified Communications-as-a-Service (UCasS) is coming into its own, writes Reworked contributing editor David Roe.

Bonus Get Reworked Podcast Episode

Jim Kalbach on How to Build a Hybrid Workplace That Actually Works

Hybrid work is the order of the day for many companies as they ponder their future. But what does hybrid work actually mean and how do you design it to work for both employees and the organization? In this episode of Get Reworked, Jim Kalbach, chief evangelist at digital whiteboard company MURAL, talks about how the current moment is an inflection point for designing places where people actually want to work.

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