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Is Embedded Video the Future of Remote Work?


Using video technology
Image: MoiraM -
When the COVID-19 quarantines drove knowledge workers to telecommuting, enterprises turned to general-purpose videoconference systems such as Zoom to help employees keep in touch and feel connected. In the ensuing weeks, users have embraced this group video chat format, so much so that the inevitable backlash has followed: “Video fatigue” is now a thing. Some folks who initially saw video chat as a potential replacement for going into the office are now looking forward to the day they can return to their workplaces.
This fatigue element is real, but the problem may not be video—it may be meetings. People are finding themselves booked solid all day long with video meetings, to an extent they may not have been before the pandemic. Who wouldn’t get tired of so many meetings—wherever they’re held?
But maybe every remote meeting doesn’t have to be a video meeting, and maybe every video meeting doesn’t have to be a gallery of poorly lit, grumpy shut-ins trying to disguise their multitasking. Facilities and HR leaders should talk with their IT counterparts to understand the nuances of how video will come to employees’ desktops over the next few years.
This article from our sister site No Jitter gets pretty technical from an IT perspective, but the larger conclusion is something many facilities and HR leaders may not be considering. The author, IT analyst Zeus Kerravala, writes about the ability for software providers to integrate video functionality into the applications that employees use all day.
“The market is saturated with off-the-shelf meeting solutions that are suitable for general meetings and virtual hangouts,” Kerravala writes. “However, organizations with more complex needs, such as telehealth and distance learning, require security and ease-of-use that can only be achieved by embedding video into an organization’s current platform.”
Kerravala notes that these integrated solutions already exist for many functions, but many enterprises, especially those that had to stand up a video solution quickly, grabbed the easy-to-use, little-training-required general-purpose solutions, and left it to the users to jump from video to desktop sharing of the main applications they “live in,”—a process that may not have been intuitive to non-technical users. These users will struggle through such a process when there’s a quarantine on and they have no choice, but they won’t come away from the experience believing that remote work can replace the in-person version.
However, if more users have access to video windows within the applications they share with colleagues or customers/clients, the kind of one-button video access provided with these integrations will allow users to choose when to use video and when it’s not really necessary. It’ll allow them to add video to the applications they use to get work done, instead of the reverse—shoehorning their day-to-day applications into the video meeting environment.
This doesn’t necessarily mean that all users will want to work remotely, but it adds an element to the equation that may make leaders rethink their business processes and conclude that they can support remote work if the collaborative element of video is provided in a way that’s more appropriate to the manner in which employees actually work.