Tyler's Trending Tuesday - Week 8: Continuing in the Unknown

Author: Tyler Cox



WEEK EIGHT OF TRENDING TUESDAYS: CONTINUING IN THE UNKNOWN

We are into our fourth month of whatever we would like to nickname this “new normal” and things are still constantly changing. Whether you’re someone who likes a set-in stone plan, date and time or one who plays things by ear and fine with loosely based plans, we are in a state of unknown. Last week we focused on numbers and how people are feeling about what they would like to see when they get back to the office. But those timelines continue to either get pushed back or cut all together and employees continue to work from home. So, this week we are going to talk about more updates on different office plans to allow employees back sooner, how much longer can we last with no face-to-face interactions in business and how the Unified Communications (UC) is growing faster than ever.

THIS WEEK’S FINDINGS

OFFICE UPDATES: BEST WAYS TO CREATE A SAFE OFFICE ENVIRONMENT

“If people aren’t feeling comfortable and safe in the office, productivity won’t exist…If you don’t solve for the basic needs of safety and security, you’ll never get to those aspirational needs of feeling of accomplishment and doing good work as a team.” – President and CEO of dancker – Steve Lang

This quote from Steve Lang, heard in this interview, kind of puts it all into perspective very simply. Productive work gets done when we feel at ease and not stressed about whether or not someone wiped down the table your hands are touching. Increasing cleaning protocols and supplying the offices with the right PPE are the first steps.  Steve also spoke about occupancy sensors. This technology has been around for a bit and is used in AI for many cameras, but it’s now needed more than ever. It has been used for companies to optimize their spaces by focusing on how many people are in the rooms, how long they stayed there and what did they use while in there. This pandemic has just brought that need out now more than ever.

That type of technology ties into something that dancker has been on the forefront of, modular construction. Creating spaces off-site and bringing them into the offices that needed to be redone. This allows construction to get done quicker and more efficiently.

“Modular constructions built-in flexibility helps companies be prepared for the future. In today’s terms, this allows quick adaptation as needs for social distancing evolve. Companies that adopt strategies to reduce density, limit capacity, or rotate staff can do so more easily with mobile, modular systems…the most agile workplaces will allow technology to move with people, so they’re no longer tethered to one and only one place to work.”

The points made above from this article published by dancker are one of many great points to moving in this direction. This will allow you to adapt quicker and create work as a destination, a place where your employees want to go. But as stated above, you’ll need technology to move with people. That’s why we have a list of options that can work perfectly for this type of office environment.

YAMAHA UC OFFICE/WFH SOLUTIONS (All products can be cleaned with Lysol wipes or spray)
  • YVC-1000: AEC, Auto-tuning, Human Voice Activity Detection (HVAD), 5 mic pods and helps conference rooms follow social distancing guidelines
  • EXECUTIVE ELITE: Wireless system, up to 40 wireless mics (Omni, directional, wearable, 6/12inch goosenecks, TA4) Helps follow social distancing guidelines
  • CS-700: All-in-one audio/video soundbar. Beam forming mic arrays. 1080p HD camera, 120-degree field of view, remote IT management and perfect for either at the office or in home
  • YVC-200: Portable bluetooth/USB speakerphone. Perfect for working from ANYWHERE!
  • YVC-330: USB speakerphone with SoundCap technology. Perfect for working from ANYWHERE!
 
ARE VIDEO CALLS CAUSING WFH FATIGUE?

Straight answer: YES. We can’t expect everyone to not be exhausted by 5pm after sitting on video calls all day, joining webinars, trying to talk over people and the occasional 10 minutes late start due to technical difficulties. These are things that were bound to happen when you put everyone in front of a camera 4-5 days a week and nowhere to go.

“Even after the pandemic ends, video chat will play an increasingly important role at work, for school, in health care, and in our relationships with friends and family. The pandemic not only pushed this technology into new scenarios of our daily lives but also forced people to learn how to use it.” – Adam Clarke Estes – Recode

Adam continues to say in his article that something will come after this fatigue called, “Zoom acquiescence”. We have to accept it and understand that this pandemic has made these video solutions a necessity to mainly keep our sanity alive, but also, we can learn from how uniquely people are using video calls.

Nicole Ellison, a Professor at the University of Michigan’s School of Information states:

“We’ve been forced to use these tools for things that we otherwise never would have dreamed of, like buying and selling houses…We’ll essentially come out of this with a better, more calibrated sense of what we really need to do face to face.”

Microsoft put together a very eye opening study that shows how meeting productivity is lower when audio and video are choppy or with a lag. That employees feel more involved when everyone is on video and not just 3 out of 10 people logged into the call and so much more. Now that we have the technology people have expectations for us to show up to a meeting on video as if it were in person. What they also did is add a few tips of how to help with this fatigue.

TIPS TO HELP WITH VIDEO FATIGUE:
  • Take regular breaks every two hours. Step away from the computer for 10-15 minutes
  • Limit meetings to 30 minutes
  • Any meetings over an hour, take small breaks throughout. 5-minute water refill
  • Teams even released two different types of meeting modes: Together Mode & Dynamic View
We all understand that collaboration is easier in person, but hopefully these few tips can help you get through your video packed day a bit easier.

UNIFIED COMMUNICATIONS: GROWING FASTER THAN EVER

UCaaS is reported into four key components:
  • Telephony
  • Unified Messaging
  • Conferencing
  • Collaboration Platforms and applications
A spike of 86% of customer interest in UCaaS has happened since COVID-19 hit us. People were always reluctant to take their companies into a full UC state due to bandwidth issues, learning curve and lack of budget, but with everyone working remotely and companies needing to collaborate on a daily basis they are changing that mindset very quickly. Companies have seen their employees adapt to using video platforms and understanding more of how AV/IT work. As these are being shed in a positive light, with a few mishaps from time to time, a unified communications strategy for the company is now needed.