Discover key insights into hybrid work strategies, the ideal workplace, and critical technological capabilities in today’s ever-evolving work landscape.
In the ever-changing realm of modern work, the significant move towards hybrid models and the pursuit of an optimal workplace have taken center stage. As businesses adapt to these changes, embracing state-of-the-art technology and dedicating resources to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) have surfaced as crucial components. We spoke with Jeff Keener, Red Thread’s own CEO, to uncover valuable insights from navigating hybrid work scenarios, conceptualizing the perfect workplace, and adopting essential technological capabilities that are reshaping work environments.
What key insights have you gained from navigating hybrid work?
Jeff Keener: The pandemic has accelerated the adoption of hybrid models, compelling businesses to reevaluate and reshape their approach to work. We’ve been offering flexibility long before the rise of the hybrid work model; however, its significance has heightened notably since COVID. For me, the big thing is finding that sweet spot between what each person needs, what the team needs, and what keeps the business ticking. In addition, preserving our company culture and influencing collaboration among our people is paramount.
What does the ideal workplace look like?
Jeff Keener: Optimal office spaces serve as magnets, drawing individuals together by offering a diverse array of work settings, amenities, and easily accessible technology. Many people seek a workspace that provides a degree of privacy and there’s no doubt it’s important. Yet, as inherently social beings, I believe our most productive and fulfilling work experiences often arise through collaborative efforts. The challenge lies in striking a balance between providing the necessary privacy and fostering the energetic synergy that emanates from collaborative teamwork. Great spaces support this balance.
What are the best ways to maintain a strong company culture when implementing a hybrid work strategy? Any examples you can share?
Jeff Keener: Hybrid work is definitely here to stay, but at the same time, we’re focused on ensuring a significant part of the employee experience takes place in the office. We firmly believe that regular in-person interactions play a crucial role in building relationships and trust, which, in turn, strengthens our organizational culture. We actively look for more face-to-face connections as part of our ongoing commitment to maintaining a vibrant workplace community. For example, our efforts in hosting regular employee events across offices have been an important element in bringing people together and helping them feel more connected.
What technological capabilities do you see as critical in today’s workplace?
Jeff Keener: A crucial aspect of fostering distributed collaboration lies in leveraging technology like Microsoft Teams. Tools like Teams cover the basics—clear audio and video—and also help set up spaces where everyone, whether in the room or joining from somewhere else, has a front row seat. The right technology integrates interactive tools for an authentic and immersive connection. Artificial Intelligence (AI) has and will continue to bring new capabilities to conferencing like automated transcription, smart meeting scheduling, facial and emotion recognition, and automated agendas.
What’s on the minds of CEOs when it comes to workplace sustainability and social responsibility? Are there any initiatives or practices you’ve implemented?
Jeff Keener: In today’s business landscape, social responsibility and workplace sustainability are at the heart of building an authentic culture based on caring about people and the environment. We aim to create a positive social impact by actively participating in local communities through partnerships with organizations like Hands on Hartford, Boys and Girls Club, and Pine Street Inn to name a few. We care deeply about the environment and are committed to initiatives such as reducing carbon footprints, engaging in philanthropy, and minimizing waste. I’m also proud to be affiliated with Steelcase which is recognized globally for its commitment to people and the planet.
How are companies integrating diversity, equity, and inclusion?
Jeff Keener: Companies are proactively incorporating diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) principles to cultivate an environment where every employee, regardless of age, gender, ethnicity, or disabilities, experiences value, inclusion, and equal opportunities. We are prioritizing equitable access for both remote and in-office staff, implementing cultural sensitivity training, and advocating for diversity in hiring and leadership roles. Additionally, we’re utilizing employee surveys and inclusive workplace design as part of our commitment to fostering a diverse and inclusive workplace.
Our conversation with Jeff Keener, CEO of Red Thread, sheds light on invaluable insights gained from navigating hybrid work scenarios, envisioning an optimal workplace, and integrating essential technological capabilities that are molding the fabric of work environments. As we learn from these talks and the experiences of leaders, one thing is clear: the future of work is always changing. It’s a narrative where flexibility, cutting-edge technology, and a commitment to inclusivity converge to create workspaces that not only adapt to change but actively contribute to shaping the future of the professional landscape.