24 Sep The Hybrid World Is Coming
“Can it homeschool my kids too?”
Since lockdown began, I’ve spoken to more than 150 business folk about what their world of work looks like now, what it is going to look like in the future, what works, what doesn’t and what they need to help them and their teams remain efficient, collaborative and engaged.
We’ve spoken to law firms and medical companies and ticketing companies and sports betting companies and Government and fintech and hotels and management consultants.
We’ve spoken to CIOs, CTOs, ‘return to work specialists’, innovation managers, CEOs and scrum masters.
We’ve spoken to companies in Germany, the UK, in more than a dozen US states and Australia.
We’ve heard a lot of answers about hybrid workplaces, dynamic workplaces, staggered shifts, A and B teams, home office for ever, come back to work now and everything in between.
But there is one thing the majority had in common and wanted to share and that is whatever they’ve already spent and implemented – it just isn’t quite working. The gap everyone is trying to close is huge. Companies are being forced to innovate at a lightning place, new normals are coming and going quickly and people are having to adapt to new way of working which are going to go way beyond a handful of months. However strongly the second wave comes, most of us are resigned to no return to traditional work places until next summer, if ever.
The new way of digital collaboration still feels clunky and inefficient, a lot of the software products have helped in some ways but not quite enough, some staff struggle to join in properly and everything just remains sub-optimal. Zoom and Microsoft Team have been both amazing but also not quite enough at the same time.
Of course we are in global pandemic so it isn’t a surprise that so many people are struggling to solve problems that didn’t exist in February, that people can’t collaborate from their bedrooms and child and dog-filled living rooms seamlessly and that things just ‘aren’t like they used to be’.
Laduma is no different. Our revenue world collapsed in March – the trade shows and marketing activations in virtual and augmented reality we had planned for the year disappeared. We didn’t want to pivot to virtual trade shows – as others have done so successfully – we wanted to build something different, something for the future. A hybrid workplace to solve the problems of a new world, where half of us are back in the office and the other half aren’t.
We decided to convert the beautiful immersive projection rooms we’d made into something more useful. Rather than using the walls just to create a beautiful, immersive environment, what about using them to project your Microsoft Teams, your CRM and an interactive whiteboard all at the same time. And that’s just the start.
Now that works for those in the office. But what about those at home still – nobody ever wants to be the lone voice calling in to a spider phone to a crowded boardroom. For the hybrid workplace, with half the staff at home and only some in the office, you need something more. So why not equally empower the folks at home. They can view the walls from their devices and when they write on the whiteboard via their screen at home, it appears on the walls of the room itself. When they want to share a video or an image, it also appears on the wall. If they circle something on a spreadsheet and want to talk about it, they can do that. No handing over of control needed like in today’s world of remote meetings. And when you’re done with the meeting, save the ‘room’, work on it offline and have it ready to go when your team needs to meet again, wherever they are.
We think it’s a great system for a new world and part of the reason we think it is so great is that designing it has been really hard. We have teams in multiple cities and countries and frontrooms. We have been trying to formulate, design and architect a new system. If only there had been a shared immersive room we could access to better design it. If only there was a way I could write on the walls of our Liverpool office for the teams there to see from the comfort of my Los Angeles dining table. The more we collaborated on this, the more we realised that the tools we really wanted to work on this just didn’t exist yet. We’re designing an amazing product, with associated marketing and sales campaigns and at each stage of the process knowing that the thing we are building would have made all this so much easier.
The new Laduma system is going to change how meetings will be held in the office but, more importantly, also how they will be held in the hybrid workplace of the future where not everyone is back in the office – even when it is safe to be so. We think we’ve designed an amazing way of democratizing meetings, engaging staff and speeding up collaboration – and we’ve done it without the very thing that would have definitely made the whole process easier, quicker and cheaper.
The new Laduma can do a lot of things, but unfortunately it can’t help with your kids’ homeschooling, your dog’s barking or disinfecting your shopping (if you still do that).
But we do promise our mute button will be less of an issue.
— Dan Rutstein
The most natural way of working for the post-COVID world is almost here!
Laduma is coming to a room near you in February 2021.