Whether planning for all in-person, all remote, or a hybrid of the two, video collaboration has proven its worth and is here to stay, execs say.
Source: No Jitter
The future of communications and collaboration at times can feel both known and unknown. On one hand, many enterprises are betting on hybrid, investing in tools to improve collaboration among a mix of in-office and remote employees. On the other hand, other enterprises are planning to stay all remote, pointing to gains in worker productivity, and as such are looking at technology roadmaps from that perspective. And others still are making their decisions around the day all workers return full-time to the office.
No matter where your organization fits on this spectrum, the challenge of rethinking collaboration and communications for the post-pandemic experience is universal. So, what’s on the minds of enterprise IT professionals responsible for these decisions at their companies?
IT leaders from across industry verticals (legal, finance, education, energy, and more) have shared suggestions on how they’re approaching the future of work and have adapted to change over the last year. Though each had unique obstacles during the pandemic, several themes and takeaways emerged from the discussion.
- Adjusting to Hybrid Work — At Harvard Business School (HBS), the university has applied the hybrid model to the classroom, shared Ron Chandler, CIO at HBS, during one roundtable. It has made the classrooms COVID-19-compliant, turning classrooms into virtual meetings and refreshing video and audio systems and projectors, and has set a cap allowing no more than 25 students to attend a class in person. To determine which students can come in, HBS built an app that serves as a lotto system, which also allows students to barter days with each other. At law firm Arnold & Porter, Vincent Pelly, director of global head of IT infrastructure, is working out the finer points of a hybrid work strategy, but here’s what he knows so far: Employees want more and more collaboration. Toward that end, one technology on his roadmap is the digital whiteboard capability, he said.
- Training Employees on Video, How to Collaborate — With more employees working remotely, many enterprises needed to train employees on how to use videoconferencing and other digital tools, and each has its own way of tackling the challenge. At the beginning of the pandemic, many employees at professional services firm Deloitte were just "grabbing all types of things off the market, things that put the rest of the firm at risk," Aaron Roe, CTO of products & solutions and managing director at the firm, said. To counteract this, Roe and his team created an internal portal, called "Collaboration Central," which lists approved digital tools and outlines when to use one over another. It also provides a list of blacklisted tools, he said.
- Creating a Video-first Culture — While HSB plans for more students to return in the fall, it is “largely a video culture now" and expects to have more remote students moving forward, Chandler said. At JPMorgan Chase, which had a strong video-first work culture before COVID-19, the video collaboration team will continue looking at how to leverage video in new ways to improve the employee experience, Eugene Pitts, an executive director at the financial institution, said. What we were doing before a year ago just isn't viable anymore," he said.
Whether the future of work is remote, in person, or hybrid, lessons learned over the course of the pandemic will inform how enterprises operate in the months and years to come. But it seems like a safe bet that cloud-based videoconferencing isn’t going away anytime soon.