Are Your Video Communication & Collaboration Tools Ready to Support a Fully Remote Workforce?
A new infectious disease has caught the world by surprise. In a matter of months, the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has spread rapidly from China to more than 90 countries and infected more than 100,000 people. It’s an unprecedented crisis that’s keeping millions of workers at home — and may continue to do so for quite some time.
Local governments in China, Hong Kong, South Korea, and Japan took aggressive action early on to slow the spread of the coronavirus, closing schools and enforcing drastic isolation measures, which resulted in millions of people in the Asia-Pacific region working remotely from home.
Hard-hit Italy announced a quarantine for 16 million people in the northern part of the country, more than a quarter of its population. Companies located in the region, including UniCredit bank and Versace, have requested that staff work from home to avoid a complete shutdown of business.
And, as the growth in confirmed cases picks up speed across the United States, schools are beginning to close and organisations such as Amazon, Google, Facebook, Twitter, and Microsoft (each with campuses near infection hotspots) are also recommending employees work from home for the foreseeable future.
Not Your Normal Work-From-Home Environment
The technology that businesses use today has evolved so much that work can by and large continue as usual with people working at home on their computers, instead of in an office. Some experts believe that remote workers are more productive, too.
But even under normal circumstances, working remotely can have its challenges. Remote workers often have strategies to help with prioritising tasks, managing their time, and avoiding distractions, but that can take time to master. Many also struggle with engagement as they can sometimes feel isolated and out of the loop depending on how their teams and organisations approach communication.
The overall effect these potential productivity killers could have on an organisation’s output, when the entire workforce is remote for weeks or even months, is staggering. What’s more, with the events unfolding from the coronavirus outbreak, employees may also be trying to work through other arduous situations.
Balancing Time Between Work and Kids at Home
It is estimated that 300 million students worldwide are at home due to COVID-19 related school closures, a number that is certain to increase. This alone has made it necessary for many employees to flex their work schedules and work remotely so they can stay home with their kids. It can be a particularly difficult work environment for many parents. In addition to interruptions and distractions at home, parents may also feel an obligation to support the academic success of kids who are not in school learning.
Staying Connected Through Illness and Hardships
Let’s not forget about employees who are dealing with illness themselves, caring for someone else who is sick or at high-risk, or potentially experiencing the loss of family, friends, and people in their communities. These often difficult and sometimes devastating situations can put an employee further behind and leave them feeling even more disconnected. It can also impact co-workers and teammates who not only rely on the individual’s expertise at work but may also have a close personal relationship with them.
In the face of these challenging circumstances, business leaders have a unique opportunity to innovate the ways in which they support communication and collaboration to keep the business moving forward.
Video Communication Is the Lifeblood of Remote Work
In a global economy with workforces dispersed across different locations and time zones, video conferencing has already seen a meteoric rise in adoption. Through real-time video conferencing tools like Zoom, Skype, BlueJeans, and GoToMeeting, remote workers can meet face-to-face with their colleagues from anywhere to communicate and collaborate.
Video Conferencing Isn’t Flexible Enough
It’s a massive-scale remote work experiment for most organisations. And most will rely on their video conferencing tools to help employees and their teams interact as efficiently as they could if they were sitting next to each other in the office. For virtual conversations and meetings that need to happen in real-time, video conferencing is a great solution.
But a fully remote workforce will require more flexibility. Video conferencing doesn’t allow people to share rich video communications when schedules don’t align for real-time meetings. Enabling video communication and collaboration only in real-time simply isn’t enough.
What many organisations will realise as their entire workforce goes remote is that they lack a solution for on-demand video collaboration that can turn video into an ultra-flexible productivity tool. That solution is a video platform.
What is a video platform?
A video platform is a robust video streaming and management solution that complements real-time video conferencing solutions, giving organisations greater flexibility for communicating and collaborating through video and better supporting the overall productivity of a fully remote workforce.
Panopto’s video platform integrates with leading video conferencing solutions such as Zoom, Skype for Business, BlueJeans, and GoToMeeting, giving remote teams an expanded toolset for communicating, sharing knowledge, and training through video — tools they can use without any help from IT. This includes the ability to:
- Automatically record, upload, and securely share video conferences with meeting attendees
- Live stream, record, and edit multi-stream videos on personal devices
- View live and on-demand videos securely in a web browser, without downloading any special software or plugins
- Search inside video knowledge assets and meeting recordings for what was said or shown on screen
- View video engagement analytics for individual videos, individual users, or an entire collection of recordings
Armed with these new video capabilities, here’s how remote teams can improve performance and be more productive.
5 Critical Ways a Video Platform Supports the Performance of Remote Teams
1. No one has to miss a meeting.
Recording meetings for on-demand viewing later not only creates an exact record of the meeting that can be referenced later by those who attended the meeting, but also supports team members who can’t make the call. Whether they are sick, taking care of family members, or they have a conflicting meeting, they can watch the recording when it is best for them without worrying about missing out on important discussions and decisions. Your video platform can be integrated with your video conferencing solution to automatically send meeting recordings to a secure video library where those who were invited to the meeting can search and view recordings securely at any time, in any browser.
2. Employees can share rich information and knowledge quickly, on-demand.
When it comes to explaining things in detail, training other team members, or simply showing a co-worker how to do something, remote workers need more than words to deliver all the details. Video enables people to share information in a fraction of the time it would take to put text and screenshots into a document or email. Sharing knowledge through video shouldn’t require people to get on a live video conference — remote workers can record themselves presenting next to a video of their screen and send a link to team members who can watch it at any time. Panopto’s video platform also enables employees to leave comments and have discussions right inside the video which makes it an ideal solution for flexible, anytime collaboration.
3. Company leaders can engage remote workers and make them feel connected.
Face-to-face communications from executives are most effective and engaging because they deliver the clearest messages that also convey tone and context. When presenting in person isn’t possible, live streaming is the next best thing. A video platform offers an alternative to delivering live messages through a video conferencing platform and offers a more flexible viewing experience for employees. With a video platform, executives can securely live stream multi-feed video to thousands of employees, without the support of an AV or IT team, right from their laptops. Panopto’s video platform automatically records the live stream, so employees can pause and rewind throughout the stream — they can even start from the beginning if they join late. If anyone misses the webcast entirely, they can watch the recording on-demand. Live video delivered through Panopto can also be viewed securely in any browser, without installing any plugins.
4. Employees can share and find the answers they need faster with video search.
No one should have to spend 10x the time to create a searchable text document that enables team members to get the knowledge or information they need when they need it. But traditionally, trying to find information within a library of videos has been next to impossible without hours of manual tagging, which still can’t identify every piece of information in the video. Panopto’s unique AI-powered video search enables employees to search inside every video and meeting recording that they have permission to view in your corporate video library. That means that a simple keyword search will show any videos as well as the exact points within the video where that search term is mentioned by a speaker or shown on the screen. With Panopto, every video or meeting recording produced by the employees in your organisation becomes a searchable knowledge asset. Panopto’s new Slack integration also enables workers to search and share videos from your video library securely without ever leaving the Slack environment.
5. Managers can gain insights into how remote teams are working.
Remote teams are more successful when managers have data that provides insights into how teams are working together and where they need more support. A video platform can offer analytics that aren’t available from video conferencing tools. Managers can see who has viewed on-demand communications and training videos in their entirety, look for videos that are viewed the most to see what information is most valuable to the team, and even find parts of meetings where employees are most or least engaged to improve live meetings for remote teams.
Will COVID-19 Permanently Change the Way We Work?
With this unprecedented shift to remote working, many business leaders will use it as a litmus test for how their teams will work in the future. Some companies are sure to see enough bright spots that they decide to abandon the traditional office space with its pricey overhead and go all-in with a fully remote workforce. More likely, organisations will come out of this with at least a few innovations that transform the way they work, enabling better collaboration and enhancing productivity in any work environment.