To do that, higher-quality audio-visual communications equipment are needed, says this video conferencing products expert.

When the world was suddenly forced into large-scale remote-working, significant operational challenges were encountered.

The lack of traditional human interaction and distractions at home made it difficult for employees to do their best without support from their employers. This overnight shift to working from home also accelerated the migration of applications and systems to the Cloud so that employees could access critical applications and files. Now as employees across the region return partially to offices under new safety protocols, companies need to implement procedures and technologies to support a hybrid work model for the long term, instead of just a temporary fix.

The most important concern is to ensure that employees are supported and protected in safe work environments. Employees will still need to continue working from home at least some of the time. However, even after the pandemic is over, a distributed workforce will remain an important part of business models in the years to come.

A new workplace culture

Throughout this year, maintaining consistent communication with employees has been critical to keeping morale and engagement high. Project management and productivity tools helped companies to effectively manage employees as they adapted to working from home for a prolonged period.

Real-time collaboration and meetings also took on new importance as market conditions changed constantly and interactions were all virtual.

Companies and individual employees responded quickly, adopting new technologies and practices to support daily work activities and the demands of the business.

A bring-your-own-meeting (BYOM) approach—an extension of the bring your own device (BYOD) revolution in which employees used their preferred video-conferencing software on their own device— took off in this new working environment.

Virtual engagement everywhere

As offices partially reopen and companies balance home and office-based working, meeting platforms and applications need to be robust enough for seamless interaction and collaboration with external partners and between colleagues, regardless of where they are working.

Without the right tools it can be difficult to communicate easily and naturally, which impacts morale and productivity. Barco’s research into the future of meetings uncovered that 55% of professionals believed it was more difficult for remote participants to follow meetings and contribute than it was for those participating in person. As a result of the lockdowns, many employees found that the overuse of inadequate video conferencing solutions had left them feeling that virtual meetings, while effective, had taken the fun out of work interactions.

Meeting rooms reimagined

When people are working in the same space it is as easy as walking over and having a conversation. However, virtual interactions will remain a regular feature of business, and with the right equipment and resources, can be just as effective.

Employees are therefore looking to management to help them navigate the new features of their hybrid work environments, and the onus is on companies to equip them with the tools, processes and support that will keep business moving at the pace of change. This includes considering how technology and room setups in offices can help employees to collaborate effectively and meet safely.

When technologies work together seamlessly, disruptions are minimized, and employees are kept engaged, focused and productive no matter where they are working. Meeting rooms (whether physical or digital) will need to be reinvented so that employees have the most appropriate digital services at their fingertips.

Employees should feel empowered to use the meeting solutions and devices that allow them to be at their most productive. Such rooms should be set up to facilitate good communications using unified communications (UC) solutions and to allow apps and software solutions to connect to AV equipment for easy collaboration and content sharing during meetings.

Investing in higher-quality AV solutions for meeting spaces, such as those offering better sound and video quality and connectivity during virtual calls, can make all the difference in ensuring that technology solutions contribute to the overall quality of discussions and outcomes.