Going to work doesn’t necessarily mean you are travelling any further than the spare bedroom or the upstairs office these days. Interactions with coworkers have gone virtual and even as we approach the sunset of the pandemic, it is unlikely that things will return to the way they were pre-Covid.
As business leaders, it’s crucial to acknowledge that the nature of how and where we work has shifted forever. Work is no longer a place, it’s what you do and how you do it.
The “normal” world of work was already changing before the pandemic hit, thanks to improved capabilities in data infrastructure and video and audio communications. Covid-19 has been a critical catalyst for change in working habits and a massive accelerant to the digital trans-formation that was already reshaping the working world.
The data from industry analysts bear this out. Research by Gartner shows 74 per cent of companies will permanently shift to more remote workforces. By 2024, Gartner expects these remote workers will represent 30 per cent of all employees worldwide – a total of approximately 600 million people.
Our customers report that in the future all meetings will have video and at least one remote attendee, meaning meeting room experiences need to improve. We need to provide the combined hardware, software and services to connect people, spaces and technology. And – most importantly – we need to create equality among meeting participants, regardless of their location.
The unspoken rule that anybody not in the office is out of luck in business meetings is dead. Now everybody understands what it is like to work remotely. We may be more forgiving of ringing doorbells, barking dogs, lawnmowers and honking traffic in the background, but our standards have also risen. We all now want tools not toys. We want to see video images that are better than our built-in computer camera. Essentially, we want to appear professional, no matter where we are working.
This means changes to our office conference rooms. Analysts estimate that of the roughly 50 million conference rooms in the world, fewer than 10 per cent have video facilities. Clearly that will no longer support the vastly increased numbers of remote workers.
The technology to do this already exists. The application of artificial intelligence and machine learning has improved and simplified the meeting experience. Cameras are now smart enough to make professional, broadcast-quality images and follow all the action automatically. Unwanted sounds are eliminated, letting the speaker’s voice come through. More capabilities are on the near-term horizon, including indexing and analysing video meetings, automatic transcriptions and highlights, simplifying meeting initiation and measuring sentiment after a call.
Our industry’s mission is clear: connect-ing people, technology and spaces to transform inequitable hybrid interactions into seamless workspaces, where there is no difference between the people physically in the office and those working remotely. This is how we will deliver the future of work. We’re well on our way there.
For more information visit www.poly.com.