As individuals, we all know COVID-19 has changed the way we work, but sometimes it can be helpful to get the big picture.
While the use of video in the workplace has been growing for years, the pandemic has forced many offices to shift towards work from home, which has accelerated video adoption. While that transition hasn’t been without challenges, many have reported that working from home has actually boosted productivity and pre-COVID-19 studies have found that working from home even one day a week can boost productivity 13%.
Meanwhile, a new survey from Kaltura of over 1,000 office workers takes a look at the impact video is having on employees working from home from a few new angles as well, including the social and cultural impact of today’s “new normal”.
The transition to video communication is easy for employees, and they want it to stay
In fact, the study found that 80% of remote employees believe that remote office communication doesn’t require specific training. Intuitive tools and peer support have made this part of the transition to work at home fairly smooth for most of the workers surveyed, which isn’t just reassuring when it comes to business life right now, but a great sign for the workplace of the future. (That said, it’s also a sign that companies better make sure they choose easy-to-use tools, so that self-confidence doesn’t turn into employees skipping tutorials and then using tools incorrectly!)
Now that we know the hurdles to remote work are relatively low as long as employees have the technology they need, we have to assume that remote work is here to stay – even after we beat the Coronavirus. In fact, 68% of the employees surveyed want remote work options to continue to be available in the future.
Employees want flexibility – both in where they work and in how they use video
Choice seems to be at the center of what employees are looking for in their work experiences both today and tomorrow. In addition to wanting the option of working at home or in an office, employees are also seeking options related to how they work with video. In fact, 42% of those surveyed noted they’d rather have flexible video options in addition to the current focus on live virtual meetings. Zoom fatigue, as it turns out, is real, and options like pre-recorded video messages for one-to-one and one-to-many communications, or “flipped classroom” style training could help convey critical workplace information and help supplement the number of work-at-home hours spent in live meetings.
Employees miss the office, hence the virtual small talk
Employees also seem clear that working from home is different from being in a traditional office environment – and that adjustments need to be made to deal with this. For example, 63% of respondents in the survey noted working at home meant they were interacting with others less. This might be part of the drivers behind another of the survey’s findings – 57% of employees said that small talk is a necessary part of virtual meetings. This is probably to replace the conversations that usually happen casually in a shared in-person space. In particular, employees note that they miss things like brainstorming sessions with colleagues (36%), ‘water cooler’ conversations (25%), office lunches (24%), and networking with upper management (9%).
Employees also want to hear from company leadership, especially now that they’re spread out and working from home. In fact, half of employees want communication from executives that goes beyond traditional email. 23% said they were looking for live broadcasts, 17% wanted pre-recorded video messages, and 6% expressed enthusiasm for executive podcasts. All of these findings underscore that less in-person contact doesn’t mean less communication.
Video isn’t just a tool for work… it’s a tool for employee satisfaction
These findings are particularly important because they remind us that working from home isn’t just about technology – it’s also about people. Businesses should look to video to bridge these gaps and make remote working a more enjoyable and fulfilling experience. Whether that means online meeting spaces with virtual white boards and other collaboration tools or remote, video-based social hours and networking events, it’s important companies don’t just view video as a tool for getting the job done but also as an essential tool for making sure employee satisfaction stays high, and company culture doesn’t disappear.
This survey, conducted by Kaltura in July 2020, was carried out with Google Surveys based on a representative sample of more than 1000 respondents surveyed from the United States.
Want the full report?