Tyler's Trending Tuesday - Week 7: Are you ready for big changes?

Author: Tyler Cox



WEEK SEVEN OF TRENDING TUESDAYS: ARE YOU READY FOR BIG CHANGES?

We’ve had several months of pivoting and adapting to where most people feel “comfortable” in this stage of the new abnormal for work, but are we ready for what’s next? We can only make certain statements based on real data and to be honest, anything outside of that can always be speculated. So, this week we are going to talk about what we are seeing with a few extra months of working from home, new ways of looking at unified communications (UC), what should change in the office, and, maybe most importantly, reading the room. We all have our own unique situations going on during this pandemic and folks need to be able to recognize this, while collaborating at the same time.

THIS WEEK’S FINDINGS

REMOTE WORK: HERE TO STAY OR NOT?

At the beginning of this global, impactful pandemic, folks assumed that we’d be back in the office within a couple of months, practicing social distancing and taking conference calls with just a bit of change. As of right now, that’s not the case. Since people are finding ways to be productive while at home the numbers show us what everyone is thinking. A poll taken by Visual Capitalist, that you can find here, shows us two major findings:
 
  • 50.3% of workers want to work from home for 3 or more days per week
  • 92% want the option to work from home to some capacity
Now these numbers do not represent everyone out there but gives us a sense of how employees want their future workforces to run. Yes, we get fatigued from multiple Zoom/Teams calls a day, 2-3 webinars a week and staring at a screen way past 5pm when the normal workday ends. A balance is tough to create and a routine sometimes even harder to keep with so much going on.

With office reopening dates constantly being pushed back, the uncertainty can cause stress and worry for workers looking for a true end date. With this being a concern for many companies 86.4% of founders within the same survey above said they, “will implement a new remote work policy to some degree”. Hopefully that can put some minds at ease. One thing we can clearly see is that work from home/work from anywhere is here to stay for a bit longer.

UNIFIED COMMUNICATION AS A WHOLE SOLUTION

As more and more organizations migrate their data from on-premises client servers to the cloud, end users are discovering the benefits of having their communications tools, platforms and applications under one unified roof.

That of course is unified communications, a collection of technology solutions that organizations implement to creates an environment for seamless and secure real-time collaboration between team members.” – Zachary Comeau – My Tech Decisions

Many companies are starting to realize that when you have your entire company working smoothly (from a UC perspective), things become easier and collaboration changes for the better. As Julian Phillips, Senior VP of Global Workplace at AVI-SPL states, “customers are accelerating that journey with many employees still working remotely. Rather than a gradual deployment, companies are realizing that they should already live on a unified communication platform.” So, what does this entail, exactly? I’ve broken it down below.
             
UC NEEDS:
Hopefully most companies have armed their employees with these types of solutions already, but if not, the above recommendations are here to help. UC will bring together this marriage of AV, IT and so much more. And check out this article for updates on how these platforms are beginning to work together to make our day to day easier: Roundup of top UC stories!

WHAT DOES THE NEW OFFICE LOOK LIKE?

I had mentioned different options in our last Trending Tuesday from Woods Bagot, an architecture and planning company, which focused more on new office buildouts. This week some new information comes from Steelcase and MIT researchers talking about current office situations.
  • 77% of individual workspaces do not provide 6ft/2m or more of distance between employees as recommended by CDC guidelines.
  • 51% of workspaces have one or no space division elements in the front, back or on the side of an individual.
  • When combined, 98% of seats in the office will be at risk. This means these settings do not have either 6 feet of distance between the next closest employee or a space divider that is 54 inches high.
After looking at these numbers it is apparent that most offices will have to be at a certain capacity to follow social distancing guidelines or reconfigure their entire space. The office gets us away from the isolation we might be feeling at home and creates an atmosphere were folks can work as a team easier, but safety is the top priority. Tracy Brower says it perfectly, “Our spaces will serve our needs”, in this article here. We will have to find a happy medium where we use the offices for more collaborative needs, while daily calls and conferences can be taken from virtually anywhere.

READING THE ROOM

This is an aspect of our new abnormal that many folks are learning as they go. Yamaha Unified Communications engineers our products to “read the room”. They scan the size, walls, acoustics and are constantly reading the room to cut out background noise, capture only the human voice and create high quality audio for both ends of the call. Companies, coworkers and employees all are understanding how to “read the room” on a different level.

“Remote working has been great for getting us through lockdown – but truly creative work needs the magic of face to face interaction, not endless Zoom calls. Without the serendipity and chemistry of real-world encounters, the world will be a far less creative place.” – Rohan Silva – CEO of Second Home

This statement from Rohan Silva encompasses it all, and the numbers included in the “Good and Bad of Remote Work” from this article share the message of “reading the room”. We all work on different wavelengths and some days might be more productive than others in times likes these, so we need empathy to become a part of this work life balance. A lot of the time, creativity comes from engagement with those around you and when that’s not there, people’s expectations might change. We need to show patience and appreciation during these times and beyond.
 
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