How business is done has undergone transformative change, Defined by the Cleveland Consultant Group, transformative change is the process of undergoing “philosophical, practical, and strategic process to effect revolutionary change within an organization, i.e., culture transformation.”
Most transformative change is done through choices that we have made to purposely bring the change forward. And while many businesses had already begun the process of re-evaluating their work processes, just as many were moved along by forces outside of their control.
But regardless of how you arrived at the transformative change, the end results are nothing less than fascinating.
Remote Work Transformation Was Already in Process
Even before global health events impacted how we got things done, the arrow was already pointing down the path to remote and flexible work arrangements. The global crisis did not change the trajectory of how we work, it just significantly moved the adoption process that was already occurring forward faster than anticipated. According to Computer World, the number of mobile downloads for video conferencing applications was up 90% after two weeks of the issuance of the stay at home orders.
Prior to the effects of the global health crisis, 71% of businesses were reporting that they were becoming more geographically diverse and 55% were participating in telecommuting practices. That number was anticipated to grow to 77% over the next three years. The Forbes article detailing these statistics was written and performed in 2019, well before the nationwide shutdown and stay at home orders. Now that we know that it can be done, and effectively, let’s look at the new where, when, what and how of work.
The Where and The What: 9-5, in-office/cube/group work with long commutes and office walls that were more than just physical walls were the defacto way we worked since 1926. No, that is not a typo, it really was in 1926 when the Ford Motor Company instituted a 40-hour workweek for their employees. Prior to this, the average worker was spending over 100 hours a week working, according to government reports which started tracking the hours in 1890. By 1940 and the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 was in place and limited the American workweek to 40 hours a week.
While it’s easy to see why that standard needed to be enacted, it’s also safe to say that we are no longer in that same place. What was once a rule designed to protect workers from being over-worked, it is now one that also restricts a worker from having an appropriate work/life balance. With everyone working 9-5, how is a person to take care of their own health, or young or aging family members? Now that we know businesses can, indeed, operate entirely remotely (with the exception of those customer-facing positions) more emphasis is being placed on employee well being and work-life balance. And according to Forbes, 74% of all the executives they have surveyed found video meetings enable home-based team members to participate effectively. 66% of those same executives cite video conferencing as “particularly effective in enhancing the engagement and effectiveness” of these home-office workers.
With the ongoing health risks of participating in events with multiple people, moving towards this remote-based collaboration tool makes sense. The health and safety of your employees are critical to keeping your business moving forward in these unique times. How have you seen your business “where” change over these last few months? Do you see a return to the office full time of your staff or do you plan to continue the more flexible and remote strategies that you have recently deployed?
The When: The same way the office walls no longer define work, the 9 to 5 timeframe is falling to the wayside. As Medium so succinctly stated it, “Being the Chief Seat Warmer that is able to sit down from 9am until 5pm (or later if you want to be a ‘boss’) is no longer idolized.” The focus and holy grail of work has not become what hours you put in but how productive those hours are, and not everyone works their best at the same time. Technology, like video collaboration tools, make this more flexible work structure efficient. The when of work is becoming dependent on the needs of the worker, and with video collaboration, everyone can participate, regardless of when or where.
The How: In a report by Upwork, it was revealed that 73% of businesses will operate under a “distributed team” model by 2028 because of the ability to reduce costs and improve productivity. The new emphasis is on flexibility as more workers are being lured in by flexible, autonomous work benefits as opposed to higher pay. But as teams become more distributed, and technology advances, the barriers are being removed to creating a full-time work from anywhere team structure. Face to face communications are 34 times more successful than email or text communications, making a video collaboration tool essential to how businesses will work in the future.
Video Collaboration Is The Tool of Choice
Forbes reports that 79% of survey respondents believe video collaboration is crucial for creative and collaborative tasks and 66% feel participants are more engaged. As we previously wrote, additional benefits of video collaboration include:
- 43% of users reported that video communication helps their teams to be more productive despite being in different locations. (Medium)
- 41% of users believe that corporations who deploy and use video conferencing have more engaged employees (Medium)
- According to 38% of users, that video communications allow them to collaborate and share documents more easily and in real-time (Medium)
- 38% of users believe that employees who heavily use video communication are more productive (Medium)
- 35% of employees feel more valued and included in the company culture when video collaborations are utilized. (Medium)
- 31% of users reported that it was easier to connect with customers, clients, or partners with video collaboration. (Medium)
As recovery continues, we will begin to see even more clearly the challenges and opportunities we have been given by this new way of work and how video communications are the tool needed to meet your business goals. What are you waiting for?
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