When normality resumes, imagine a world with less travel . . .
Simon Hayes, Collaboration and Meeting Spaces, NEC Display Solutions
What will the real outcomes for business be when we start to recover from this period of uncertainty? The long-term effects on business cannot be predicted, but the lessons we learn, coupled with a reinvigorated world economy, could be astonishing and vital. With the health of our planet in peril, have we begun to pencil the lifeline which might just pull it back from the brink?
You have probably seen the images of clean air over Italy and fish flourishing in Venice canals - and this after just a few days of lockdown. Imagine if, after this immediate crisis is over, the continued habit of remote collaboration and communication cuts back our travel by, on average, 25%? Sounds high, but I think people are going to realise how effective and easy remote working can be. Some people may still travel to the office but realise it need not be every day. Others, living further away perhaps, will be able to connect without wasting hours of travel time and its associated risks and frustrations. Imagine a Monday morning without the gridlock because 25% of regular commuters have chosen to connect remotely for the 9am briefing!
There have been various statistics over the years as to what video can really do for productivity, one suggests that within a working day, for every 1 hour meeting you save 15 minutes by using video. Time is precious so let's hope people reward themselves more often by claiming some of it for themselves, it will certainly make for a happier workforce so let's embrace that.
We are just talking about simple video communication and the occasional sharing of content at this point, where this will really get interesting is when dispersed teams collaborate with true real time contribution on agile workflows and content. This means not just taking away actions from a meeting but doing those actions live during the meeting. The resulting efficiency and speed of progress will significantly improve productivity and associated business outcomes.
The more you use video communications the easier it gets – not everyone is comfortable seeing themselves on screen. People are now finally turning their cameras on - this is almost unprecedented but so powerful, with full inclusivity. The quality of video meetings such as those conducted via Zoom mean people are far more focused on the topic, it’s easier to have your say and to share your screen; keeping meetings on track is often easier in the virtual world. Although meetings in the office are sometimes necessary, they can often take more time due to room availability, connectivity issues and other distractions.
I have no doubt, as we rise out of this current situation, new habits and experiences will drive best practice outcomes not only for business and employee well-being but also for the environment. What we are experiencing right now took us by surprise, none of us are immune to its wide-reaching impact. Whilst the situation was forced upon us, we must take a positive view on it - we will come through it, and we all may be the richer for it.
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