Video Conferencing and the Future of Work-From-Home

Video Conferencing and the Future of Work-From-Home

The coronavirus pandemic of 2020 has resulted in unprecedented changes in where and how people work.  Nemertes’ recent Visual Communications and Collaboration 2020-21 global study of more than 525 organizations found that 91% now support work-from-home, up from 63% prior to the pandemic.  Of the total workforce, 72% are now home-based, compared to just 34% before the pandemic.

Video conferencing has emerged as a core technology to ensure work-from-home success.  More than 91% of companies are now using it to support WFH, with nearly 30% saying that they use video for all of their meetings.  The average number of weekly video meetings has more than tripled from 23 before the pandemic to more than 68 now.  In addition, companies are using video to enable remote employees to engage and build bonds with each other.  Almost 60% say they hold activities including happy hours, lunches, training and exercise classes, and “bring your kids or pets to work” day through video meeting tools.

As companies return to the office, video isn’t going to go away.  Even in the office, organizations must plan to support desktop video conferencing as it’s unlikely workers will return to meeting in conference rooms any time soon due to social distancing guidelines.

To ensure success in both WFH and back-to-the-office environments, IT leaders must:

  1. Treat video as critical to business operations – that means ensuring high-availability, sufficient bandwidth while minimizing latency and jitter to enable high-quality video calls and meetings. It also means investing in tools that enable insight into video performance in both the office as well as for home workers
  2. Provision necessary hardware including webcams, executive systems, headsets, speakerphones, lighting, and potentially even a backdrop to give external calls a professional look and feel. While reliance on whatever was available in terms of headsets and cameras may have been sufficient in the short term, the time is now to consider optimizing the work-from-home experience to provide high quality video experiences
  3. Treat the home office as the new office – supporting remote workers by providing tools to enable them to optimize home Wi-Fi, pick the right data plan, ensure proper quality of service configurations to protect critical business traffic, and secure their access to business applications
  4. Consider accelerating a move to the cloud to access rapidly emerging features that improve meetings and virtual collaboration
  5. Work with facilities and HR to create approaches that meet social distancing, cleaning, and density requirements including minimizing the number of workers in an office location at any given time, and providing a means of supporting contract tracing should a worker expose others to Covid-19 (in accordance with privacy rules)

The initial panic and rush to work-from-home in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic is over, the time is now to develop long term plans to both optimize the home worker experience, and that also prepare for an eventual return to the office.

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