The recent surge in remote work due to COVID-19 and social-distancing regulations has sparked discussion on the best ways to approach bringing teams together from afar. These virtual exchanges are critical for a positive collaboration and communications outcome and building a robust company culture. But what will remote work look like for businesses after COVID-19 wanes — and how should executives approach this practice now and post-pandemic?
Here are a few considerations.
Meeting culture will change with digital transformation
Meeting and work cultures will face considerable impact stemming from lessons learned during the pandemic, as well as considerations looking ahead to the future. Companies were either well-prepared with digital-first strategies that allowed them to seamlessly transition into working remotely or they weren’t prepared, and have faced hurdles moving their teams entirely. Digital transformation and a digital-first strategy is something all successful businesses, large and small, should be investing in now to ensure their future workplace needs are met.
Post-pandemic, there will be a need for meetings to extend beyond the space of four walls to include communication with remote employees, global teams, and others in the organization who are contributing to the business. That requires a shift in meeting culture to one that fully embraces digital transformation. Consider factors like design and room configurations, as well as the right combination of software and hardware technology, developed specifically for bringing teams together both in person and remotely. Having this is critical for ensuring success and productivity whether a meeting is happening physically in the boardroom or huddle space, or from several different home offices.
After spending so much time in virtual meetings, the new work culture will likely have a renewed optimism about using video for calls. Video enhances the conference call experience in many ways. For example, it maximizes meeting time by keeping people accountable, because they’re more likely to arrive early or on time — as it’s trickier to sneak in unnoticed. Video also allows for nonverbal visual cues to be a part of the call experiences. It can also attract interest from younger people who are more comfortable with video as a digital communication tool. As proof, a 2019 survey
from Nexmo (now Vonage) found that 25% of millennials surveyed used video chat regularly — a 175% increase from just three years prior. And now, post-COVID, there will be more widespread acceptance of video calls, and this will impact the way teams communicate for years to come.
Meeting spaces need to become solutions-oriented
The traditional workplace as we knew it underwent a considerable renovation as a result of modern-day office culture trends. That will continue to shift post-pandemic. Social-distancing measures will continue to play an influential part in how our society functions for the foreseeable future, and there will be a lot of changes and considerations for organizations to work through to ensure that meeting and office spaces are safe.
Many phases will initiate the kickoff back to the office. Most organizations won’t jump right back into having their full in-office staff available, which further highlights the value of having meeting spaces that allow for deep-focus, intended work, and seamless collaboration.
Modern meeting spaces require ways to bring teams together effectively, both in-person and virtually. Companies are investing in technology like interactive displays that provide touchscreen capabilities as well as integration with videoconferencing software. The displays provide the ease of use akin to traditional whiteboards. But include the ability to share, by showing cloud-based real-time annotations with (and from) everyone on a call, and then saving and sending the meeting’s ideas and edits. It’s essentially like having your touchscreen laptop at room scale and accessible to everyone on the call. With this technology, team meetings are easy to set up, and they also encourage confident decision making, improving and expediting team relationships, and even reducing meeting frequency — in turn bolstering productivity and bridging communication gaps.
One of the current hot topics is the discussion around how meeting spaces will have to shift post-COVID pandemic and how this will impact the future of meeting spaces in current offices, those under construction, and future offices.
In the collaboration market, we’re already starting to work on solutions. For example, the use of touchscreen displays present a potential hazard. But companies are working hard on solutions like antimicrobial and antibacterial screen sprays or guards as a way to keep those working in person safe and meeting spaces sanitized.
The COVID-19 pandemic has emphasized the immense impact that digital transformation and strategy play in an overall organization’s business implementation. Companies are learning that it’s important to set employees up to communicate effectively from afar, but there are also key components of work-culture that, even with the best intentions, are hard to replicate completely. The value of in-person meetings will also be underlined after this time of such widespread remote work. It’s also likely that teams will value their time spent in person more and won’t take it for granted. This scenario will lead to more focused and intentional time spent together when people do meet in person, and there’s a demand for technology that supports this shifted mindset.
Organizations should additionally look at how they can improve upon meeting operations and collaboration space logistics in their physical offices, as well as within human resources and work policies, to meet the new requirements for social distancing and changing work culture dynamics, post-COVID and beyond.