The workplace has changed on a fundamental level.
Concepts that used to be novel, like remote and home working, are now standard practice.
Companies are more reliant than ever on the cloud and digital connections to maintain business continuity, and staff members are distributed across the globe.
Despite the clear benefits and cost savings associated with remote work, it’s worth noting that not every business will be able to make the immediate shift to a fully remote team. Instead, most experts agree that the future of work will be hybrid. Going forward, companies will balance remote and in-office employees, to access the best of both worlds.
To enable this new landscape, business leaders will need to invest in the right technology. This means not just accessing Unified Communications as a Service, or CCaaS, but video conferencing too.
Why Hybrid Work Needs to be Video First
The biggest challenge of hybrid work for most business leaders will be figuring out how to maintain the collaboration and connection between in-office and remote employees. When teams begin to work from different locations, it’s harder to preserve the sense of camaraderie and company culture that can improve team engagement and productivity.
Video will be the key to enabling the digital workforce through a more collaborative and intimate meeting culture. For businesses of today and tomorrow, video could be the foundation on which we build essential human connections, and future innovation.
Here are just some of the reasons why hybrid work relies on video.
1. Improved Company Culture
Face-to-face interactions naturally cultivate better relationships between team members. When remote employees are working outside of the office, it’s easy for them to feel left out of the group. Regular emails and messages can reduce this feeling of isolation, but they’re not always enough to make staff members feel like a true part of the team.
Without video, business leaders risk perpetuating the idea that remote employees are somehow “second-hand citizens”, overlooked by management and in-office staff. Research shows that many people do feel less connected as a result of remote work, but video can solve that problem. Through video meetings and immersive experiences like Together mode, it’s possible for staff members to feel more intricately linked to their team.
Video helps to bridge the gap between the in-office and remote worker, in a way that supports a stronger sense of community.
2. Greater Understanding
How many times have you sent out an email or a message over instant chat, just to have that message misinterpreted by the person on the other end? Even in audio calls, it’s not always possible to fully understand what another person is trying to tell us, as there’s a lack of context and visual information to support the flow. Once again, video conferencing is the solution to this problem, offering access to better communication through access to both facial expression and body language.
It’s easy to forget at times how important non-verbal cues can be to the way that we interact. Discussions between team members reach another level when you can see how your colleagues respond to the things that you do and say. It’s easier to express the importance of certain topics with your voice and facial expression tone.
Some video conferencing companies are even beginning to introduce live reactions, so that non-verbal cues like smiles and nods are easier to catch in a wider online meeting setting.
Additional tools often combined with video conferencing tools, such as digital whiteboards, PowerPoint presentations, and content sharing capabilities also open the door to higher levels of understanding. Team members can work together on brainstorms and projects just like they would in real life.
3. Fewer Misunderstandings
The more context you can bring into a meeting, the less likely it is that misunderstandings will hamper employee performance and outcomes.
Video conferencing tools also come with features like breakout rooms, where people can get together with other team members to discuss things they may have struggled to understand during a larger announcement or broadcast. In a video conference with the right technology, companies can even set up things like speaker attribution and live captions or transcripts.
For people who might have hearing difficulties, or employees interacting with staff members overseas, these intelligent tools instantly bridge communication gaps. The presence of translation and transcription technology in meetings can make video conferencing even more effective than face-to-face conversations. After a meeting, you can even save a transcript file to refer to it later.
With the ability to share everything from screens to visual content in one space, it’s much easier to drive better understanding for the whole team.
4. Enhanced Wellbeing for All Staff Members
Video conferencing isn’t just a tool designed to keep team members working efficiently when they’re not in the office. Increasingly, video has emerged as an important lifeline for remote workers who need to feel engaged and supported by their team. Video vendors have experimented with everything from unique video filters that make meetings fun to virtual backgrounds.
When you’re just reaching out to employees through things like email and instant messaging, it’s difficult to get a sense of how they’re really feeling, or what kind of additional support they might need. With video conferencing tools, it’s easier to see how people are really doing through face-to-face interaction. You can even integrate tools like Microsoft Teams and Slack with bots that follow up on employees to ask about their wellness.
As we continue our uncertain adventure into the future of work, employers everywhere will need to have a reliable strategy in place for ensuring wellbeing.
Video Will Power Hybrid
Just like the cloud, video is a must-have component of the hybrid work environment. Without this solution, today’s companies couldn’t hope to maintain the right collaborative experience for employees from all backgrounds. Video will be the crucial bridge that connects the in-office workers of tomorrow with their remote colleagues.