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Unified Collaboration and Its Role in the Post-Pandemic Workplace

Business June 3, 2021

Even before COVID-19 hit, there was a shift toward tech-enabled collaboration. Companies that made an investment pre-pandemic were ahead of the game when forced to distance employees quickly yet still work together. Now, there is a permanent shift to a hybrid work model that’s happening nearly as fast.

The result? Companies need an integrated collection of tech solutions that support working from anywhere like never before, while keeping these objectives in mind:

  • Bring people back to the office safely – whether that’s every day, one day per week or only as needed.
  • Design spaces for people who aren’t in the room and empower everyone to thrive and contribute regardless of where they happen to be.
  • Acknowledge and plan for the fact that hybrid work arrangements aren’t a replacement for remote work; they’re the new normal.
  • Identify what work can be done from anywhere versus what needs to be done in the office. Private spaces for focused tasks – like planning, reading, writing. Tech-centered areas for active collaboration – like ideating, brainstorming and problem-solving.
  • Adapt their business processes, tools and technology solutions as society shifts toward the next digital evolution.

At AVI, we help companies like yours navigate how unified collaboration is changing the workplace. Our goal? Help you play defense by getting ahead of what returning to the office and the future of work could look like. In particular, we constantly think about the latest trends and workplace situations.

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The need for human connection is expanding exponentially

Many of the things we’re focused on right now are very human in their nature and technology is supporting these needs in new ways. From safety, personal space, connecting, wayfinding and more, human needs and emotions drive audiovisual trends.

If you’re having conversations about technology but aren’t talking about what’s going on in people’s hearts and minds, you’re not only missing a big opportunity you’re doing a disservice to your company and team.

The demand for video is unprecedented and needs to be fully integrated

In the past, people just dialed into a conference call if they weren’t together. The pandemic set new expectations for a video-first landscape: we’re all video all the time. According to Lightreading.com, since March 2020 when the pandemic began Zoom video conferencing alone experience a 535% rise in daily traffic. Here’s a closer look at what’s driving this trend:

  • Before the pandemic, many companies had videoconferencing capabilities but didn’t use them. There was no compelling reason to. COVID dramatically accelerated the adoption of virtual meeting tools. Plus, our comfort using these tools is at an all-time high.
  • A unique outcome of the shift to remote work is that video, in particular, created a new equality. Everyone is equal on our screens. There’s no visual hierarchy.
  • We’ve used videoconferencing so much that now people feel in order to be heard, they need to be seen. In other words, distance equals video.

The future of audiovisual is in the cloud

If you’ve been putting off transitioning to or investing in cloud-based collaboration tools, it’s time to make your move. More than anything else, you want to make sure your unified collaboration tools are cloud-based so users can access them from anywhere. The tools employees use when working remotely need to be the same ones they use in a conference room in the office.

The interoperability of technology platforms is becoming critical

Many companies want to step into the future of AV but use at least some of the legacy AV equipment they already have. If this sounds like you, know that it’s absolutely possible to combine two, three even four different workplace collaboration solutions.

However, to achieve true interoperability, plan to work with an expert who understands your business goals, how your teams collaborate and how your tools and systems can work together. This is especially important if you have customers who use a different primary platform than you do.

The need to collaborate is driving the shift to digital

In many ways, being more digital actually means being more collaborative. During the pandemic, this meant video and visual collaboration. However, because collaboration is critical to innovation, it’s wise to examine all of your business processes to see how you can embed collaborative solutions. A collaborative workplace helps organizations optimize business processes and leverage the skills of every worker so they in turn can work together seamlessly to enhance products and services and deliver better customer service.

The role of office space is changing

We’re seeing companies shift toward creating different zones in their workplace designed for various activities. Think quiet spaces, hotel cubes or hot desks and spaces specifically designed for collaboration.

In particular, we’ve noticed a shift away from big conference rooms toward smaller

purpose built rooms in more of an immersive telepresence style. Rooms designed around the use of tools like Zoom, Microsoft Teams or Cisco Webex. According to many office space and real estate experts like JLL, you can expect a permanent shift to virtual collaboration, which requires the reimagination of technology setups in existing offices. This means more conference rooms – specifically huddle rooms and flex collaborative spaces that allow for video calls and presentations. More importantly, these unique tech-enabled spaces may be the reason people want to come into the office.

Your vision, our expert guidance

In the end, the goal of unified collaboration is all about enabling your business. If you’re ready to take your unified collaboration capabilities to the next level – but aren’t sure where to start – we’re here to help.

Rather than diving into the bits and bytes first, we’ll take the time to get to know you and learn more about your vision. Then, we’ll help shape a plan, walk you through the logistics, and make sure your systems talk to and work well with one another.

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