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Digital storytelling and the Great Return to the Office

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April 8, 2022
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Experiences
At last, the great return to the office has arrived – but not everyone is on the same page when it comes to what this means. Few offices are attempting to enforce a five day per week regime; rather, most companies are embracing the hybrid working model that has been so effective during the pandemic period. As we transition to a post-pandemic hybrid office, our sights are now set on managing the complex challenges of hybrid working. 

How digital storytelling can optimize in-office working

It’s time. Hold onto your seats - we’re going back to the office. But what does this mean? Should we be expected to be in the office three days a week? Or five? Are we expected to be there for fixed days each week? Or can we be flexible?
Sundar Pichai, (CEO of Google) has recently outlined this challenge of hybrid working perfectly, and outlined the solution – to let the individual teams decide how to work. 

Furthermore, he has highlighted something that is truly critical to the success of our return to the office: if you’re going to ask employees to come in, you need to make it really worthwhile. We have to be purposeful about using the time in office, when we do ask people to come in.

In other words: don’t overdo the video calls and endless, pointless meetings – but make it truly worthwhile, productive and efficient. Thankfully, we have Digital Storytelling tools that can optimize in-person experiences, accelerate processes, and connect hybrid teams perfectly. Let’s see how these can positively affect some key areas of interest.


Bringing in new recruits

One area that needs special attention is fresh talent. Traditional approaches to onboarding often rely on a passive training about company culture and processes using ‘osmosis’ - simply by being in the office, rookies could learn this complex information. Indeed, it is hard to replicate the value of in-office training when it comes to absorbing the complexities of company culture and office dynamics.

There is much to be said for learning through experiences, and this is why digital storytelling can be such an effective medium. Because digital storytelling is absorbed by the human brain as an experience, we can harness it to turbo-charge onboarding and training programs.

It can be tailored to specific audiences, and enable self-directed training by using interactivity. This is most clearly seen with immersive experiences, which have been shown to massively reduce training times. Given that we’re trying to optimize the time spent in the office, using digital storytelling to accomplish otherwise time-consuming processes is a no-brainer.

Optimizing in-office productivity with an immersive experience

We can further maximize the productivity of in-office work by ensuring that collaborative sessions are more focused. This is achieved when we can keep everyone engaged; digital storytelling tools achieve exactly that.

When it comes to presenting ideas for example, the best approach is to not be boring, but to truly capture attention and engage minds. The solution? Using an immersive experience or large screen to present ideas with the power of digital storytelling technology. 

Once the presentation is over, we can seamlessly transition to intensely productive collaboration using the same productivity tools we already use. The Hyro digital storytelling platform is capable of easily achieving this seamless integration, and it offers an intuitive interface that makes it just as easy for the person managing the experience.

Connecting with remote workers

When employees are working fully remotely, they can often focus on their core tasks without the distractions of the office. But they still need to be perfectly connected when needed.

Using the cloud-based Hyro storytelling platform, it’s possible to create a stunning presentation from anywhere in the world, and this can be deployed anywhere it needs to be. 

When it comes to connecting those remote workers with in-office teams, our challenge shifts towards needing to create a hybrid experience that everyone benefits from equally (see below). Purple’s experience in managing the complexity of stunning hybrid events has become an incredible asset in our new era of hybrid working, where an optimized experience for every participant (in-person, or online) is a must-have.

Equal participation in hybrid teams

Perhaps one of the greatest challenges for the hybrid work model is the uncertainty of who’s going to be in-office, and when. To manage this, the office needs to possess the ability to nimbly adapt to whatever the situation is today.

Our physical spaces and technologies must meet these requirements. They have to facilitate inclusivity in collaborative sessions, regardless of wherever the participants are joining from. This equality of experience is the fundamental building block of a sound hybrid experience. Technological solutions like digital signage and interactive displays can facilitate face-to-face interactions when needed, and immersive experiences can create a level playing field by enabling interactions and collaboration through interactivity and screen sharing. 

Additionally, remote workers can be more ‘present’ when their virtual presence is on a large screen which gives them equal weight in a meeting or session.

Making the most of in-person visits

An incredible side-effect of making the office ready for our return and the hybrid work that entails, is that it is  now fully equipped to create unforgettable customer experiences.The same tools we use to ensure equal participation during hybrid collaboration (such as Immersive Experience Rooms, Video Walls and Interactive Signage) can be redeployed to offer an all-inclusive, no-holds-barred immersive brand experience. Using digital storytelling in combination with immersive and interactive technologies like these has been proven to fast-track deals, and reduce the sales cycle – that’s quite a side-benefit.

Conclusion

Technology is there to be used. If the tools are available, and if they truly improve our work and the outcomes of our work - we should definitely be using them. Digital Storytelling is one of the most effective ways to engage human minds, and get them to stay focused – so they have an obvious application in our new, optimized office spaces. But the benefit of this versatile technology is only limited by how we choose to deploy it. Yes, Purple has considerable expertise in creating incredible digital storytelling concepts – but we also have the creativity to find new ways of extracting value from them too. Want to chat about the possibilities? Get in touch with us, and let’s talk about what’s possible.

Digital Storytelling FAQs

What is the difference between hybrid and remote work?
Hybrid work is different to remote working because it combines work done remotely (at home or other location) and work conducted in the office. To make it truly work, you need the ability to connect team members and work streams from all sources.

How can a hybrid office be creative?

Creativity is a challenge for the hybrid office. You can nurture creativity by giving staff access to tools that enable collaboration regardless of whether they are working remotely or in the office. Digital storytelling tools can be used to accomplish this because they are built for creating human connections with digital media, in combination with a structured management system.


Is hybrid working better than remote working?

Hybrid working combines the strengths of remote working with those of being able to work in the office. Provided you identify the strengths of each arena and ensure you divide your work into the most efficient and effective venue, hybrid working can be much better and more efficient than either in-office or remote work alone.

How can a hybrid work environment be productive?

To make a hybrid work environment as productive as possible you need to ensure that time in the office is fully optimized. Using digital storytelling tools can be an important part of this because these can create engaging collaborative experiences and connect hybrid teams of in-office and remote workers.

What are the challenges of hybrid working?
The challenges of hybrid working are spread across different domains. Creativity, Company Culture, Training, Collaboration and Connection are some of the key areas where hybrid working can particularly present a challenge, because you need to make a conscious effort to manage these requirements for the hybrid office.


Credits
Written by:

Gerben Mak

Managing Director
 at 
Purple
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