We recently hosted a virtual roundtable in partnership with StarLeaf on ‘Working with Video: The Future of Work’ which looked at the hybrid challenge we face for working shortly, how to build a culture of security when working with video and much more.
Technology should always be the enabler but this year has put technology at the forefront of being the solution to helping organisations and teams run efficiently during a year of vast change and uncertainty. As we begin planning for 2021 with more ‘normality’, a hybrid working model looks like it will take us one-step towards the ‘new normal’ that is still so uncertain. The pandemic has quite suddenly made the ‘future of work’ a reality for most organisation, where video conferencing is the key to connecting dispersed teams to engage and collaborate effectively, but what does this mean and what are the impacts of this?
The key takeaways from the conversation appear below.
How to best manage your culture in a hybrid working model
The current working environment, in most cases, is almost operating in a BAU manner, but re-creating the in-office culture with impromptu conversations is proving hard for most, if not all, organisations. Given the nature of the current situation, everyone is facing the same issues around a hybrid working environment and the struggles of building (or re-building) a culture. Historically, video for work hasn’t provided the greatest experience but has come a long way, removing the barriers that would have made remote working difficult, providing employees and employers with more freedom on who can join meetings, when and how, which is an enormous step forward for many organisations.
As a result of the sudden changes 2020 brought, there has been an enormous shift in leadership and management styles, with different approaches to efficiency, effort levels and productivity, when presenteeism isn’t an option. It was acknowledged by our attendees that this was more of an issue in a sales-driven environment, noting that with other areas of business, leaders concerns were around the overworking of employees, who are managing a growing list of work that they are struggling with in silence. One of the important conclusions drawn from this part of the conversation was that leaders should be changing how they measure productivity, as most organisations and their leaders didn’t adjust quickly enough to the changes we faced and are only recognising and remedying this now.
In addition to this, attendees had to acknowledge that video fatigue is a very real situation that we have only recently come to experience and still don’t fully understand, and managing the way in which our teams interact using video is integral to driving business culture and efficiency both now and in the future. Attendees recognised that aside from video technology, other collaboration tools that allowed integrated and innovative working styles could make all the difference in building a culture and fighting video fatigue.
Driving a Culture of Security
When working in a hybrid environment, with a high dependency on video (as is expected from our future working situation in the 'new normal'), creating your organisational culture is very important but it is becoming more important to drive a culture of security too. We need to consider the security aspects of the software that we are using to ensure that we are keeping our organisation, clients and their data safe and secure at all times, regardless of the situation we are working in. With more organisations using 3rd party software to host business conversations, privacy and security should be paramount, and if it isn’t then business leaders really need to start considering it seriously before they encounter a problem. When we are relying on technology so heavily to conduct business, we need to be confident and comfortable that the vendor has the right information stored securely in the right place, which can be provided if and when needed.
During times like this, we need to first understand that many technology-based decisions were not made with the long-term in mind, and we need to recognise that the trade of data is real and that many of us often consider security as an afterthought and don’t know what we are granting consent to. In an age where we are dependant on technology to continue working, security and the availability of data need to become one of our utmost concern.
Knowing How to Make the Most of Your Data
When working remotely with video, there is a very fine line when it comes to monitoring, that can easily cross from analysis to help improve people's work-life balance, into spying. A provider that has data intelligence which allows you to successfully interpret and advise, or act, to benefit your employees is integral in the new hybrid way of working.
Communication must be efficient and effective
The way we have embraced technology in the last 9+ months has meant that within many organisations there is a constant ebb and flow of the video technology they are using for different conversations (internal and external) which will only be exacerbated by the inevitable return to the office.
A discussion point that was animatedly considered by our attendees, was that of the quality of your video conferencing software. Many people have experienced varying levels of interaction through video platforms, with a plethora of obstacles from the people that don’t like to share their cameras to the immersive nature of a video call which allows us to recognise that our colleagues are human beings, alongside many others. For us to continue to succeed, organisations are going to need a technology that allows them to seamlessly interact both internally and with their customers.
Integrating Efficiently with Your Customers
As many organisations invested in video technology at the beginning of 2020 in a 'pandemic panic', there is a vast number operating on various different video conferencing technologies. As we move into a more BAU hybrid way of working, we want to make interactions as simple for our customers as possible. Considering that, the interoperability of your video conferencing software with the other platforms your clients use is integral to future business and collaboration.
It's not about the tech, it’s about the people and the culture
The conversation repeatedly returned to the cultural aspects of working remotely using video software and what everyone is doing to create 'office osmosis'. This isn’t a pure conversation around tech anymore, the fundamentals behind the user experience on video calls are very similar and organisations aren’t investing in a video provider, they’re investing in a replacement for the human experience, which we are currently lacking.
Taking the above into account, technology isn’t always the answer, but it is some of the time and now is one of those moments. Video software has allowed everyone to work with some semblance of ‘normality’ whilst experiencing a global pandemic, but has not yet managed to provide a virtual substitute for the office culture and needs to be recognised as being a means for replacing the face-to-face contact we are lacking. Furthermore, video software has provided and will continue to provide, a means for communicating with displaced teams, customers and clients successfully, which has been integral to businesses’ ability to adapt, survive and thrive during times of uncertainty both now and in the future, but we need to treat the security associated with this with the utmost importance. In conclusion, as we begin to head into some semblance of ‘normality’, we need to consider the security of the software we invest in and the ways in which it can integrate with other technology, providing customers with an ease of communication that will allow businesses to thrive.