Hybrid working | How Yonderdesk is transforming the digital workspace

How Yonderdesk is transforming the digital workspace

Hybrid working has emerged as the pre-eminent pattern for the future of work.

Its structure, levels of flexibility and nuance will differ on a company-by-company basis. However, it seems apparent that the majority of businesses either have, or will, acknowledge the demand for a mixture of on-premise and remote working.

As part of BPS World’s Perspectives series, we caught up with an expert on this very subject. Ben Wainwright is the Founder and CEO at Yonderdesk, a provider of customised virtual real estate environments for hybrid working.

Can you start by telling us a bit about you and your background?

I started out in tech just before the millennium chimed in. I remember the bell ringers of the ‘end is nigh brigade’, when it was said that all the world’s computer systems would keel over with the herald of 2000. I was actually excited to see what would happen.

Obviously, it was an anti-climax but I definitely became interested in our relationship with technology and the push and pull effect of that.

I’d spent a fair bit of time working from home. It seemed so logical to me that the commute was unnecessary, and that good online frameworks and strong company culture and relationships would be all I needed to work effectively.

Tell us more about Yonderdesk?

We started Yonderdesk to strip away all the superfluous noise and focus on what matters and we narrowed that down to a few core components.
These included being able to see your colleagues online, interacting and having the option to virtually lean over and start a quick conversation. And the ability to access a smaller amount of productivity tools quickly and easily from one location.

Yonderdesk does all of this through virtual floorplans, encrypted video and chat messaging, and console access to any number of apps. The platform can support small business owners right up to multi-floor call centres with thousands of users. We are taking that to the next level by incorporating the physical remote environment, providing companies with the option to service their staff with ergonomic and health orientated workspaces at home.

We are now offering online health assessments and even gym classes to ensure the wellbeing of people that are no longer all situated under one big roof.

What are some of the common obstacles to investing in a digital workspace solution?

The answer to that is like the ‘how do you eat an elephant’ question? It’s a slow process. It’s a gradual roll out from a pilot program to maybe management level, and then into departments.

You can’t just send a memo and assume everyone will just get on board. Going back to the simplicity aspect of Yonderdesk though, this is something that anybody can adopt quickly. It’s browser based with a ridiculously low learning curve required so the ‘buy in’ is very short once up and running.

What are your predictions for the future of work?

We will absolutely forge ahead in the realm of hybrid working. This is where companies immerse themselves into the practices of enabling people to work where and when they can be most productive.

The output is the driver, not the militant rule of ‘bums on seats’ for specific periods no matter what. We were long overdue a reboot of how we work. Remember, a lot of our archaic beliefs are from an Industrial Revolution construct of the work regime.

What are the positive changes from Covid-19?

Obviously, it's been a horrendous experience of loss, grief, pain and displacement for so many. At the crux of it there is a monumental cultural shift in what matters and true change in people’s attitudes and beliefs.

It’s forced companies to reconsider how they treat their employees and their customers. It’s forced us to reframe how we want our lives to be and how we want and expect the lives of our children to be.

Do you think that the 9-5/office culture has/will be transformed permanently?

Oh, 100% yes! That construct was sold to us for too long. It’s deeply saddening that it has taken a devastating pandemic to rip the lid off that antiquated stronghold, but now we can build from that.

To revert back to mindless commuting, choked cities, the daily exodus depriving local community businesses, the devouring of the planet's resources at an exponential rate, and the toll that it has taken on our mental and physical health would be the biggest travesty of all.

Finally, what’s your proudest achievement?

Aside from my wonderful little family of course…at this particular moment I’m most proud of my ‘awakening’. I can look back in a non-judgemental way at my previous beliefs and behaviours and see where I was misdirected.

But I'm totally focused on forward momentum and I take strength and confidence in knowing that I have an open mind and that I am continually evolving. How dull it would be to think that I know it all or that the future is predictable! I could be wrong about everything that I’ve said in this interview of course. And you know what, I’m OK with that!

Read the full interview