Businesses need to prepare for the hybrid work revolution. Since videoconferencing software is not the answer, what is the alternative?
Videoconferencing is rigid and it lacks many of the benefits the physical office has to offer, and therefore many business owners are looking for alternatives to Zoom, Webex, and Microsoft Teams.
Businesses need to find a solution for hybrid work scenarios, where people have the liberty to work from where they want and when they want, but still benefit from all the advantages the traditional offices bring. We need to combine the traditional office with the virtual one.
Simply put, the technology we use for remote work has to evolve. Online videoconferencing software isn’t enough to collaborate with one another and produce amazing work results. We need easy-to-use technology that allows the immersion of remote work and blends it in a traditional office environment, where anyone can join and be part of the team.
But before exploring the solution for hybrid work, let’s discuss why videoconferencing is not enough.
One of the drawbacks of using online conference app as a replacement for office work is that it is more a planned than spontaneous collaboration. And it has to be planned because that’s the way the videoconferencing software is designed. How else would the team members join the videoconference?
Sure, meetings have their purpose and managers are used to having this kind of work model. But the majority of the people working in a company are not productive working in a constantly planned environment. They need the freedom to work.
The pandemic revealed an important lesson; remote collaboration through videoconferencing produces too many meetings. Companies had to frequently utilize entire workdays exclusively for meetings.
Planning and managing videoconferences is time-consuming and exhausting for everyone. That time and energy could be used productively for the company.
One of the benefits of the physical office is the spontaneous working collaborations that take place when the teams work together. One could argue that the best work is done as a team, and this might be the reason why remote work has brought a decreased level of creativity and innovation among workers.
Videoconferencing doesn’t provide the space for spontaneous encounters which employees normally have, as for example in a coffee corner. Creativity and motivation comes from seeing others working and actively engaging with them.
Companies have looked for a solution for this problem and came up with coffee hours or “after work drinks”, which is another planned event meant to help coworkers socialize. However, “socializing” is not possible in this format, as socializing can only happen in spontaneous encounters. As a consequence, companies lose out the benefits of creativity and innovation that come from it.
Permanent presence in the office allows for benefits we know from the physical office. Quickly getting back to a colleague for a short question, or a manager who “walks around” from one employee to another to see how they’re doing, are examples of spontaneous events that made the physical office a productive experience.
Getting back the permanent presence in the hybrid office is essential, and that’s why ivCAMPUS included it on a virtual level. Our clients reported that they were able to cut the number of meetings in their Outlook agendas by half. Because with ivCAMPUS, you only need to have important meetings set up. Quick questions and interactions can be done knocking on doors or joining the coffee room.
In the physical office there was easy to see who’s present and what everyone is doing. Managers were able to simply walk around the offices and see who’s there and what kind of work they did.
When it comes to remote work, things are not as easy. Trying to control the employees’ computers involves violating their privacy rights and it’s definitely not a sustainable model. Not to mention that is not safe either when it comes to cyber security. Virtual conferencing software can only allow you to see workers when they’re connected to the meeting, so that’s no solution either.
We dealt with this problem by creating a virtual space where you can see everyone when they’re connected to ivCAMPUS, just as you would do in a physical office. You can see all the people connected to the virtual office, if they’re in a room or in a meeting and with whom, and that removes the need for monitoring workers on their personal computers. And ivCAMPUS is GDPR compliant and safe.
The physical office was more than a place to work. It was a part of the company’s identity and it created a certain culture with the way it was designed.
Think about the office of a lawyer or an architect. These professionals would carefully choose the furniture and design elements in the office to send a specific vibe to their business partners or clients. When you would walk in these offices, you would feel the professionalism and success just from the décor.
Currently, these companies invite their customers to meetings via third-party video conferencing software. In the "real" world, this would be comparable to a standard rental office (e.g. from Regus) - this cannot and will not remain the case. The visitor entrance of a virtual office will become at least as important for brand communication as the physical entrance, because virtual offices will be the new business card of companies.
Another example would be how companies focused on fun activities and the freedom of expression design game rooms and add elements to their offices that make everyone feel joyful and creative.
The corporate identity is very important for the brand, because people need to be aligned with the company’s vision. They also need to feel like they’re part of a community, and that community needs to have something distinctive. This identity was lost with the introduction of 3rd party software such as Zoom, Webex, or Microsoft Teams, and employers felt interchangeable, which eventually led to the “great resignation”.
That’s why ivCAMPUS allows businesses to design their virtual offices in a way that reflects their brand image and personality. If they want to inspire fun, professionalism, seriousness, or success, they are able to do it with a customizable virtual office and many different types of rooms. Employers will feel the corporate identity at every step in the virtual office.
As a conclusion, videoconferencing is no substitute for many features of the physical office because it has:
ivCAMPUS is an alternative for videoconferencing software (Zoom, Webex, or Microsoft Teams) because it’s a platform that combines the benefits of the physical office and the virtual one. Using our virtual coworking space for hybrid work allows you to create an immersive and easy-to-use environment for your employees, no matter where they are from. There’s also no special software that needs to be installed for it, they only need to open their browser.
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