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Poly: Channel Has Huge Opportunity with Return to the Office

Partners can help customers navigate a return to the office, says Poly's CEO.

Christine Horton

October 6, 2021

4 Min Read
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Audio and video specialist Poly says the channel has a huge opportunity with the gradual return to the office.

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Poly’s Paul Clark

“People aren’t necessarily clear what they’re going back to,” said Paul Clark, Poly’s SVP for EMEA. “So there’s a huge educational opportunity for the channels to claim a space. They can help show the customer a path — value-based selling,” said Clark. “The channel has an opportunity to claim a space.”

“Customers who know they’re where they want to get to, but don’t quite know how to get there is an enormous value opportunity. There is margin to be made in dialogue,” added Clark.

Poly CEO Dave Shull said both vendors and partners must demonstrate more thought leadership for customers.

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Poly’s Dave Shull

“It’s no longer a plug-and-play model with hardware,” he said. “It has to be a complete experience that we’re offering to our customers. We need partners to come alongside us and demonstrate that same thought leadership as we walk into a Global 2000 CIO. Customers are asking us to define the boardroom, define the huddle space, define the individual and define that experience. It’s a very different dialogue than it was pre-COVID.”

Shull says Poly is seeing a lot of proofs of concept worldwide based on a return to the office.

“I think that’s what’s going to happen for the next six months. With a delayed a return to office, everyone feels like we have a couple months to sort this out. We don’t have a year. So there’s a bit of a sense of urgency around those proofs of concept.”

Evolution of the Workplace

Shull and Clark were speaking at the launch of the Poly Evolution of the Workplace report in London. The research is based on a survey more than 7,200 hybrid workers from the U.K., France, Germany, Spain, Sweden, Poland and the UAE.

Almost two-thirds of hybrid workers (64%) believe office culture has changed forever. The research also uncovered mixed feelings about the return to office. Many have missed the camaraderie and connection of seeing colleagues and clients. However, others are feeing anxious and worry their performance will suffer.

But the research suggests hybrid working is here to stay. Eighty-two percent of respondents intend to spend at least one day a week working from home in the future. Fifty-four percent are planning to split their time evenly between office and home. One of the drivers for this shift is the emergence of ‘anytime working’ — whereby employees have greater autonomy over when they do their work.

More than two-thirds of employees (69%) say the 9-5 workday has been replaced by anytime working.

Ultimately, Clark said organisations need to keep people, technology and spaces front of mind. Businesses need to understand employees’ personas and working styles. They also need to clearly define their future office — what spaces will be needed? Should they create more areas for quiet working or collaboration?

“This will allow everyone to reap the rewards and truly make hybrid ‘work,’” he said.

A ‘Soft’ Return to the Office for Poly

Poly itself has had a “soft” return to the office for employees, where attendance isn’t mandated.

“We’re encouraging folks to come in and mingle safely with vaccinations,” said Shull. “We’re trying to be very, very sensitive to the guidelines around the world. We’re reopening the offices; we’re just not mandated to return.

However, Poly’s policy is that the company will require either vaccination or testing as of January.

“It’s a political issue in many parts of the world. It’s an availability issue in other parts of the world. For example, in Mexico we have thousands of team members and access to the vaccine was tough. So we had a joint effort between Mexico and the U.S., where we’re able to bring them up to the border and vaccinate [more than] 80% of our associates. So, we will do whatever it takes to kind of make vaccines available. And then likewise, if people for religious reasons or health reasons don’t want to get vaccinated, we make tests available. But they’ve got to do one of the two.”

Want to contact the author directly about this story? Have ideas for a follow-up article? Email Christine Horton or connect with her on LinkedIn.

 

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About the Author(s)

Christine Horton

Contributing Editor, Channel Futures

Christine Horton writes about all kinds of technology from a business perspective. Specializing in the IT sales channel, she is a former editor and now regular contributor to leading channel and business publications. She has a particular focus on EMEA for Channel Futures.

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