When organisations had to adapt to homeworking almost overnight, it shone a very bright light on how well their communication and collaboration systems worked.
It revealed how robust their existing technologies were and exposed any gaps. It also highlighted how fragmented their technologies had become and where they didn’t talk to each other.
As the world reopens, organisations are re-evaluating how they operate. They’re reshaping the future of work, deciding whether a full return to the office is viable – or whether a mix of home and office working will become the norm for most.
Hybrid working certainly has huge productivity potential. A Gartner study shows that when employees are given the flexibility to choose when and where they work, the percentage of top performers rose by 19 points to 55%, meaning the majority of employees at remote companies became top performers. But making effective hybrid working a reality is a tough challenge - requiring communication and collaboration systems that work seamlessly wherever a user is, via whatever device they’re using. It also calls for a rethink of how organisations operate. To make hybrid working a success, processes will need to be transformed; infrastructure will need to be scalable and flexible; and new skills will need to be learned.
Shaping a new way of working
A cloud-based platform for video and audio conferencing, chat and webinars - like Zoom - has a critical part to play in helping organisations to build forward. But successful implementation takes so much more than just making the technology available. It’s a new, fascinating way of working and we’re continually exploring the implications to make the experience as enjoyable and productive as possible.
Our partnership with BT lets us go further and reach more people. Together, we’ve supported organisations throughout the pandemic, making technology work for people. Sometimes that means coming up with new ways of doing things, and sometimes that means replicating the familiar experiences of the office. A couple of examples spring to mind.
Our latest Zoom advancements are focused on creating a new way of doing things by making virtual engagements more inclusive and immersive, so people who are in the office and those at home almost feel like they are sitting together. For example, we’re developing technology that will create a separate camera feed for each office participant attending from a conference room. This means including them in the gallery of faces shared to the screens of everyone attending – giving parity of experience and increasing both comfort and engagement.
Recreating tried and tested office experiences also has a role in what we do. For example, creating video waiting rooms where the meeting host can engage with a participant before bringing them into the meeting. It’s just like having a chat with someone as you met them in the office foyer and walked them to the conference room.
Learn, adjust, move forward
Our ethos is one of continual learning. For example, when the use of Zoom for work exploded during the pandemic – and the number of meeting participants increased by 2,900 per cent - we monitored how people interacted with the platform very closely. The whole world became a live lab experiment into how people communicate best virtually. The phenomenon of Zoom fatigue emerged, raising questions about how people can look after themselves in the face of pressure to be online, communicating continually throughout the day. When this happens, how do you look after your talent? And how do you make your transformation work for your people, as well as your business?
Our team investigated how organisations could support their people psychologically and keep them feeling connected to colleagues and to the business, and shared key tips, like below.
- Make it policy to block out ‘meetings’ for key functions like an uninterrupted lunch break.
- Ease the strain of back-to-back meetings by trimming hour-long calls to 55 minutes to give everyone a break in between. Those few minutes make a real difference.
- Shake up the working day by encouraging your team to take your meeting call outside. Get them to dial in from their phones and enjoy the outdoors.
- Set up calls to replicate what would happen in the office, like a team get-together to share thanks and call out great work after a long or stressful project. A virtual gratitude meeting is great for morale.
- Introduce agenda free calls to just chat as a team and share experiences. It’s great for bonding and often great work ideas emerge, too, just as they would through water-cooler chat in the office. It’s also a chance to check in with your team about their mental wellbeing.
Building a hybrid working future
Building forward with confidence to create a hybrid experience that works means making smart technology bets. Zoom is a sure bet, enabling organisations to transform away from a complex legacy environment to a single cloud-based infrastructure. Zoom is purpose built to not only connect people from all over the world, from any device and even across low-performing networks, but also to integrate into an organisation’s key applications and workflows. This means that a user can move seamlessly between Zoom and the application they’re working with, boosting productivity and collaboration.
With the Zoom-BT partnership, you benefit from a brilliantly simple, video-first collaboration platform designed to scale with your business, underpinned by end-to-end management for the best meeting experiences, enhanced security and enterprise-standard voice connectivity.
To find out how our partnership with BT can provide the flexibility your people need to thrive in a hybrid workplace, please visit our webpage.