Where is the world of work heading?
We’re living in a bizarre time right now.
Never before has there been such a rapid and significant change to the way that we operate on a global scale. The rise of COVID-19 and the threat of the ever-spreading pandemic has forced people back into their homes.
A few years ago, something like this would never have been possible. Lack of the right technology meant that if there weren’t people in offices, the business world would simply stop turning. However, that’s no longer the case.
For a while now, companies have experimented with the concept of remote working. The cloud environment, now more secure and scalable than ever, ensures that your employees can access the same tools they have at work, from home. On top of that, being stuck in your living room doesn’t have to mean missing out on critical conversations with team members anymore. We’re all more connected now than we have ever been.
Thanks to video conferencing and collaboration tools, social isolation doesn’t have to feel isolating. In the last few weeks, we’ve seen countless news stories about people hosting graduations online or launching their own virtual conferences with nothing but a Microsoft Teams channel set-up and a few cameras. One woman even turned herself into a potato for a video meeting.
The message is clear. Not only are video collaboration and virtual hangouts a viable solution for the future of work, but it’s also something that could be more fun, engaging, and productive than we ever realised. During the week between March 14th and 24th, video conferencing apps were downloaded 62 million times – a world record for the industry.
In fact, Zoom is now considered to be the most popular social network around during the COVID-19 pandemic. This is a platform that didn’t have a place in the consumer world when it first launched. However, now that work and personal lives have blurred more than ever, we’re discovering that collaboration tools aren’t just about connecting businesses.
They’re about connecting people.
As terrifying as this new pandemic is, it’s also pushing people to explore new options, and “get off the fence” when it comes to diving into cloud technology. UCaaS has become a must-have for businesses that need to keep their communication strategies moving smoothly from a distance. At the same time, video conferencing as a service has seen an incredible boost.
So, is this just a temporary change to how we work, or are we seeing a shift in the Nexus of the future “virtual office”. Now that companies all around the world have been forced to experiment with video conferencing and see the potential for themselves, can we really return to the way things used to be?
It seems unlikely. Market leaders like Zoom’s CEO has said that the shift to video conferencing and remote work is likely to be a permanent change. Now that business leaders know how productive and efficient their teams can be when working remote, they won’t want to go back to more expensive and complicated in-office environments. Virtual is likely to be the new norm.
Virtual communications is a concept that companies have been playing with for some time now. It refers to the kind of cloud video solutions that bring us together for face-to-face conversations at a distance. However, there’s more than video to think about too. If companies want to replicate the functionality and productivity of the standard office in the digital environment, they need a full strategy. This means investing in virtual meeting rooms and spaces too.
Solutions like Microsoft Teams and other leading tools that integrate with everything from a business phone to file sharing solutions will be at the heart of this new workplace. Companies will begin to create entire offices that can run online. There’s even the option to run your contact centre at a distance with the right collaboration tools and a CCaaS stack.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the leading virtual workplaces in the market have had an unparalleled opportunity to prove their worth. Although there have been a few issues with things like outages and security problems, these tools have by and large exceeded expectations.
Companies of all sizes are beginning to see for themselves that remote working doesn’t have to be a solution reserved for the lucky few. Indeed, remote employees work up to 1.4 days more per month than their in-office counterparts, delivering more outcomes and greater productivity.
On top of that, we’re seeing that physical meetings aren’t necessary. More often than not, these environments are complicated time-wasters, forcing people to drop work and come together when they could have the same conversation over video instead, with easier access to integrated tools and files too!
The floodgates have been opened.
There’s no ignoring the potential benefits of remote working now – not when we’ve all had a chance to see how amazing it can be for ourselves. I believe that we’re going to continue seeing a rapid adoption of remote and home working, even after this pandemic is over. Once employees have gotten used to the freedom that this working life can bring, they won’t want to go back.
At the same time, employers will be reluctant to return to the old ways once they’ve discovered the productivity benefits, time savings, and efficiency that remote working brings.
Going forward, we’ll also continue to see innovations to expand the functionality of the virtual working environment. Innovation with artificial intelligence and voice assistants is likely to appear rapidly. What’s more, there’s a good chance that more AR and VR technology will appear in the marketplace, particularly with the arrival of 5G.
The virtual meeting space will continue to add more value for participants than live meetings, helping employees to get work done efficiently and productively. With virtual meetings, you can have everything you need with you on your computer for a full presentation.
If you ask me, virtual communication isn’t just a trend – it’s the future of work. The 2D world of cloud communications is evolving into genuine 3D experiences.
What do you think? Let us know in the comments or on social media.