Research shows that remote working, or at least the hybrid working model, is here to stay. While that is a boost for productivity and flexibility, the Achilles heel is communications.
According to Pew Research, two-thirds of people want to work from home, and 36% would actually choose to work from home over a pay raise. Two-thirds of employees would also take a different job if it meant reducing their commute.
But, whether more employees end up permanently working from home or not, the era of the video conference is here to stay, simply because so many companies already rely on such services to bring together employees from branch offices, contractors, freelancers, and those who work from a home office.
In addition, video conferencing is an important part of offering accessibility to employees who cannot work at the office due to various disabilities. Indeed, if more employers were willing to offer work-from-home from the outset when hiring employees, an additional labor pool in the millions would be open to them.
But What About ‘Zoom burnout?’
Some variation on the term “Zoom fatigue” has been a very popular trend in the media, but, statistically, speaking, it’s not truly a thing.
According to Pew, 65% of employees say that video conferencing and instant messaging platforms are actually a good substitute for in-person contact.
That means that 35% of workers still prefer in-person to video conferencing. And, since managers also tend to prefer having people in the office, it’s likely that many businesses will normalize a hybrid approach post-pandemic.
Connection is key
Fixing the isolation and poor connection experienced in the new working environment is key to the future success of businesses trying to “have it all” with physical locations, employees working from home offices or other office locations, and contractors.
After all, what makes a company? Successful companies, at their core, are a group of people coming together to perform a job or service. That requires the type of interaction that comes from persona engagement.
The collaboration enabled by a true human connection is important for many jobs and projects. Where once we might have met in a conference room down the hallway, or simply stuck our head into a co-worker’s cubicle, now we have to find other ways to collaborate across geographical divides.
So, along with video calling and online conferencing programs, usage of messaging platforms like Slack or Google Chat also increased.
Future success depends on improving connection
Even though the majority of employees say that video conferencing and instant messaging platforms are a good way to maintain contact with co-workers, there’s general agreement that they could be better. Especially on the video conferencing end.
Why? Well, the major platforms were developed for exactly what they’re called – conferencing. This matters because this means that these platforms generally work for a standard meeting format where one person speaks at a time. But, even in such cases, these platforms can be glitchy and interfere with truly effective communication and collaboration.
One of the problems with current videoconferencing services is that there’s so much processing of the audio and video that it creates a delay in the transmission. This makes it difficult for call participants to collaborate creatively because the flow of the meeting is very stilted.
Another issue with videoconferencing services is that how you’re able to interact with others requires a moderator and, essentially, a spotlight on a single person talking at a time. It’s nothing like getting together and bouncing ideas off each other in a conference room or ducking into a co-worker’s cubicle for a quick consult.
Enter: Streaming video spaces
Video streaming virtual spaces can remove these obstacles to better connection and collaboration—because streaming allows for multiple voices without loss of the video connection. We created Kino to provide a better social experience via a virtual space, and have found that what makes it a great way to connect socially also makes it a great way to engage and create better business connections.
In fact, with a streaming virtual space, everyone can be in the virtual office all day, just as they are in a physical office. While working, an employee can blur their image and lower or mute their audio. If someone wants to chat, they can wave at them and see if they’re available. The boss can call a meeting that involves an easy flow of conversation and information across multiple locations.
One day we may work and socialize virtually via 3D technology. For now, streaming video platforms offer a more natural and human way of connecting when being together in person isn’t possible.
Raviv Nadav is the Founder and Chief Solutions Architect of Kinetx Co and the Kino video space platform for virtual conversations that feel personal. He is a strong believer in IT solutions that support human connection.
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