Virtual Collaboration’s Essential Role During Coronavirus and Beyond

By |2020-03-31T11:34:46+00:00March 31st, 2020|Inside Poly, Remote Working|

The Coronavirus is sure to have a lasting impact. When it comes to how we work, educate, govern and live—there’s no going back to “business as usual.” As people grow accustomed to work-from-home practices and remote interactions, it will be hard to put the genie back in the bottle. Financial advisor and commentator Josh Brown said it best: “The nature of work has been a secular trend in hiding all this time. It just took the coronavirus for everyone to realize it.” Bottom line, the coronavirus has been a catalyst for massive adoption of remote working.

The coronavirus has also been a great reminder that as humans our well-being is connected. As we all hunker down, we’re realizing how much we need and value one another. Technology that makes that connection possible is more important than ever.

Yes, it’s vital that leaders get through the crisis. But they can also use this time as an impetus for innovation. The Great Plague forced Isaac Newton to leave Trinity College and “work from home.” That year produced some of his greatest scientific breakthroughs. It’s a great reminder to fight the urge to simply survive. Innovators choose to thrive.

At Poly, we have a unique view into the world’s dramatic move to remote working. We provide some of the key elements that make remote working possible, so we see organizations around the world stepping up to not only navigate through the coronavirus but to consider what it will mean for how they operate in the future.

Keep employees productive with high quality remote experiences

If there were ever a time to think outside the building, it’s now. Give employees the tools they need to work smoothly from home. Companies are flocking to Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Slack and other cloud-based tools to empower their employees to be productive remotely. They are also equipping them with the cameras, headsets and laptops to make virtual meetings as lifelike as possible. 

Many are going to great lengths to foster interactions that allow for human connection. They recognize the role of facial expressions and body language—something that email simply can’t deliver. Organizations large and small are offering guidance and encouragement on everything from online meeting protocols to physical space and lighting tips to virtual coffee breaks and happy hours.

Customers are also using video communication to keep employees informed, motivated and secure. Leaders understand that their employees need to see and hear from them right now, and not just via email. High quality virtual interactions—be they one-on-one sessions or virtual townhalls—allow for greater presence and transparency, both of which are key to allaying fears and inspiring confidence in the future.

Identify activities where virtual collaboration can be applied

Remote collaboration isn’t just for employee interactions. We have many healthcare customers using virtual sessions to meet with patients to support social distancing measures. We see country leaders using video conferencing to connect with each other to make critical decisions for their constituents. We have business customers leaning into these capabilities to create virtual customer briefing centers, host conferences in virtual settings and provide customer support. And just as learning institutions are moving students to virtual settings, organizations are educating employees without gathering them together in one place.

Consider your new place in the world, post coronavirus

It’s a difficult period and resources are limited, but carve out time to envision your organization’s future, so you can inspire your teams to get there. What are you learning during this time of retrenching that you might apply to the future? Make this moment matter—it can be a driver for creativity and innovation.

  • Look for new business models that weren’t practical before.
  • Revisit contingency and business continuity planning measures.
  • Consider optimizing real estate and workspace investment strategies for collaboration.
  • Look at employee work patterns and possible changes to work from home policies.
  • Reevaluate travel policies and the criteria for justified travel.
  • Think about how you want to foster better meetings and collaboration.
  • Determine whether to adopt a more distributed supply chain.

Lead teams to a new future

As organizations move through tough times, they learn new things about themselves and their stakeholders. Those insights can provide a roadmap to where you need to move. Leadership now will define your organization—to your employees, customers and stakeholders. It’s times like these when we see what we are made of. Some organizations will rise to the occasion—empathize, innovate and emerge through this crisis stronger than ever.

Show leadership at this critical time of uncertainty. Make smart short-term decisions about how you keep connected and productive. And take the opportunity to envision a new future, grounded in learnings from this challenging time.

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