September 09, 2020

By Rosemary Ravinal

As the 4th quarter of 2020 approaches, it is becoming abundantly clear that Zoom will change work as we know it. Some companies are taking baby steps to return some employees to physical work environments.  Our work-at-home-world will likely remain the norm well into 2021, but tech analysts are forecasting some trends that may bring unexpected benefits in the form of greater productivity and improved work-life balance.   

1. Your workspace will not look like you remember it.

Companies have proved that working from home can be productive.  As employees transition back to physical workspaces, many will welcome the opportunity to continue working remotely.  Not having to commute will save time and money and make room for more family and leisure activities.  But when employees are cleared to return to their offices, some companies plan to implement staggered schedules to reduce the number of people in one place at a time.  Physical changes to workspaces will include plastic barriers, higher cubicle dividers and conference rooms with fewer chairs.

2. Connectivity will improve everywhere.

As we grow to depend increasingly on the ease and convenience of video meetings, we can expect the technology to be embedded into many more businesses processes, like telemedicine.  More interactions via video calls will require better connectivity and faster technologies such as 5G and Wi-Fi 6E.  And improved connectivity will make it easier to continue working from home or elsewhere, even part time.   

3. Workflows will be more streamlined.

By now, we have discovered that video can make meetings more cost effective and time efficient.  There is no travel required.  Screen sharing, virtual desktop solutions and collaboration tools can help speed up project delivery, especially for global teams working across time zones. And a slew of project management apps integrate with Zoom and other platforms for teams of all sizes. In addition, simultaneous language interpretation is available for business, education and enterprise accounts with separate audio streams so that meeting attendees can listen in their language of choice.

4. Teams will bond closer.

When managed with intention, video meetings can lead to more meaningful, immersive conversations.  The visual closeness creates a vulnerability that can transform distanced colleagues into buddies braving social isolation and disruption of life as they knew it. Salespeople have discovered they can connect with customers on a personal level and express concern for more than just their business.  The human approach will translate to better sales and customer retention for companies of all sizes.

5. Artificial intelligence will transform the meeting experience.

As video meetings become more embedded in daily work routines, features such as automatic transcription and voice-controlled meeting management apps, like Cisco Webex Assistant, will grow in popularity. Real-time audio transcriptions will make it easier and faster to check notes, write post-meeting reports and assign action items. Zoom.ai, for example, already provides scheduling, people insights and CRM integrations.

These trends will grow during and after the pandemic as companies discover how best to leverage video conferencing technology to maintain closer, more personal connections with employees and customers alike.

About Author

Rosemary Ravinal - I teach business leaders how to shine on video calls and have more productive virtual engagement. As Founder/Chief Trainer at RMR Communications Consulting, I also help executives master the art of public speaking, inspiring presentations, and authoritative media interviews. My company's services are available in English and Spanish in South Florida and elsewhere.

 

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