Last week, Spotify announced it would let employees continue working from home long term, joining a long list of other major brands like Twitter, Google, and REI. A Gartner survey found that 80% of employers plan to enable remote work at least part of the time. As the world around us continues to evolve thanks to 2020, it looks like remote work is another change that’s here to stay, and we should start getting used to it. This transition will have significant implications on how we plan our careers, where we live, and where we work. It will also impact how we interact with colleagues.
As many employees and employers have found, WFH has its clear advantages. Some companies have even been doing it for years. Zapier employs a remote team of 300 people in 28 countries, and Basecamp’s founders literally wrote the book on remote work. Both managed to grow and flourish thanks to it (not despite, and not unconnectedly).
Nonetheless, WFH introduces some challenges for employers and employees. Luckily, nonet that we can’t tackle with video technology at our side.
Keeping Things Flexible & Balanced
At one point, we may have thought that working from home will free up employees to spend more time with their families. In actuality, judging by the last year, it disturbed the delicate work-life balance for many people and blurred the boundaries between the two to the extent that work took over the majority of the day. Multiple surveys have found that remote employees work longer hours, even before Covid spread.
The fact that many social, outdoor, and past-time activities are currently out of the question is probably partly to blame, as well as the feeling of lack of job security and general instability. Nonetheless, as companies rewrite HR policies and office etiquette, they should be wary of letting in unhealthy behaviors and norms that could act as long-term precedents. Instead, they need to offer employees flexibility in managing their time and help them reach equilibrium again where they are less overworked and ultimately perform better.
That is why any remote work platform should include both live and asynchronous communication options, giving remote employees more leeway juggling between work responsibilities and life at home. Our recent study indicates that 42% of employees want various flexible video options such as recorded messages and pre-recorded content alongside virtual meetings, supporting this claim.
Improving Efficiency & Productivity
Neither efficiency nor productivity is a novel desire for workplaces. However, remote work environments pose new considerations that require different approaches to achieve them. Yes, protecting employees from burnout will help keep efficiency and productivity levels from dropping. But companies who wish to improve employees’ overall performance (and we’re guessing they all do) would have to be more proactive than that.
As fresh new workflows and processes enter, employers will need to also let in the right technology and solutions to remove any weak spots, gaps, and obstacles. Since walking over to a colleague to ask a quick question isn’t an option, one solution would have to be an organizational knowledge hub. Ideally, such a hub would facilitate knowledge sharing with video creation and editing features, making it easier to amass helpful content.
Texts and other available digital resources should definitely have a place in this hub. Still, in most cases, videos are easier to create and are more engaging. Another advantage of videos is the deep analytics they can now track. These metrics provide insights essential for ongoing improvement, from the number of plays, where, and who, to video completion rate, segment breakdown, and engagement levels.
Staying Connected with Colleagues
Another drawback of not being able to walk over to a colleague’s station or going out to lunch together is the loss of togetherness and affinity. This loss has implications for employees’ well-being and loyalty, as well as for business goals. Unsurprisingly, when we asked employees what they miss most right now, almost 40% chose brainstorming sessions with colleagues.
We’ve mentioned virtual meetings, and naturally, they’re a significant part of any remote work environment. But to make them truly useful, they should come equipped with such tools as a shared whiteboard, simple media playback, and uncomplicated breakout rooms. Even so, they can’t be the only type of video communication provided to employees. Remote work platforms must make available different means of communication, both formal and informal, to make up for physical meetings, as well as for the loss of water cooler conversations and tête-à-têtes.
That’s where group channels (by interest), interactivity, gamification, notes, and comments come in, as well as video playlists and live broadcasts. Video communication will make things more personal straight off the bat. Offering the right mix of mediums and content helps ensure that everyone can find something they feel most comfortable with. In a perfect digital world, companies would turn their organizational platform into an engaged community and actively manage it.
Many of the above are already part of some employees’ daily work routine, perhaps more so by the biggest brands out there. 2020 has pushed them to the mainstream and transformed how we think of time, work, output – and personal life. Still, many companies are on the hunt for a single platform to ease their transition into a WFH culture, either part or full-time. If you wish to offer them the perfect digital workplace suite, let’s talk about the video-based solutions that will boost your platform’s capabilities.
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