It’s evident that the novel coronavirus has changed how we work. Largely, many of us continue business operations by working from home. While remote working has increased because of state-mandated stay-at-home orders, will these changes continue after the crisis ends? If not, what will the future of work look like? In this article, we have compiled what habits and expectations are likely to continue.
How COVID-19 Is Accelerating Changes In How We Work
With an increasingly multi-generational workforce, remote work was already predicted to be the norm by 2028. The coronavirus pandemic only accelerated the adoption of remote work and digital communication. Companies like Webex, Zoom, Microsoft, and Google have responded to the increased digital demand for their video conferencing and other digital communication applications, as well as project management tools.
But Is The Influx Sustainable?
The increase itself is not sustainable, but the way we work will not go back to how things were a few months ago. Instead, as Corporate Vice President for Microsoft 365 Jared Spataro says, we will be entering a “new normal” once the crisis ends. We will take our recent adaptions to the work-from-home lifestyle and update corporate policies to be more flexible.
With the exploding opportunity to work from home, more employees are likely to expect the option in the “new normal” and with future employers.
Enterprises that don’t continue flexible, remote options after the crisis will likely lose employees, especially millennials and Gen-Zers, which can harm a business’s diversity and inclusion efforts.
The Future Of Streamlined Operations And Expenses
Companies are also realizing how cost-effective and efficient distributed teams are. By removing much of the in-office chatter and distractions, personnel may be able to dedicate more focused time to their work, if their lifestyle allows for it and they are not worried about the pandemic.
According to this Forbes article, “Layers of management will disappear along with very expensive physical plants, while investments in office perks can be reallocated to salaries or (more likely) the bottom line.”
Even more, the implementation of a full-time remote team could mean that enterprises could hire highly skilled workers from across the globe. This could further benefit companies that have diversity and inclusion initiatives, as well as companies that struggle to find unique talent in their area (or who are willing to relocate to their area).
Remote work could also save employees time and money by removing their daily commute, which averages 26.1 minutes one way. Remote work would remove over 4 hours per week and 200 hours per year in a vehicle, lowering the total cost employees spend on gas and car maintenance for work-related travel.
The Future Of Collaboration
As enterprises implement and expand their work-from-home initiatives, they will also need to utilize cloud-based services, including cloud-based collaborative efforts. While we have taken this time of state-mandated work-from-home situations to just get through, we need to be looking at the long-term effects of what this pandemic has started.
As stated above, many companies will be adjusting their current policies to be more flexible. With this becoming part of the expectation and new norm, companies must also look at what tools and resources will these employees need to not “just get through” in their remote locations but what will they need to succeed and excel!
Collaboration tools and virtual meetings, as we’ve seen in the news and our most recent post, need a higher level of understanding for security on a company and a personal level. This understanding comes from knowing the programs functionalities and capabilities.
So How Do You Gain This Knowledge?
We at Meet Me In The Cloud offer a variety of solutions that support the usage of workplace technology tools in a remote work setting from customized training plans utilizing out 6 step methodology to our partnering with CyberFort to maintain a high standard of security.
Meet Me In The Cloud is here to help you establish your new normal within your company. Reach out to us to discuss the solutions that are best for you and your team as we move past COVID-19 and into the future of work.
As hundreds of thousands of traditional workers have transitioned into a work-from-home environment, the entire country has watched as horror stories have surfaced of virtual meetings gone wrong. Some of those have made top ten lists of “funniest virtual meeting fails”, but there have also been some completely frightening meetings in which intruders were able to easily access the virtual meetings and take control. And the reason this is happening is simple:
Companies are providing free software that appears popular and helpful, but it hasn’t necessarily been designed with secure collaboration as a priority.
Teams need to feel a sense of security and normalcy throughout these uncertain times, and never knowing who might pop in on a collaborative meeting is not a way to create that culture. Unfortunately, using free software to manage meetings is not a best practice during a time when those with ill-intentions are looking at every avenue to take advantage of the unprepared. The time has come to ask yourself…
Is your team susceptible to an “invasion” of privacy?
- Do you use a different access code for every meeting?
- Is there any kind of multi-factor authentication for sensitive topic meetings?
- Are hosts the only individuals who can begin a meeting?
- Is there a method to monitor and identify attendees?
- Does your meeting allow anyone to file share, screenshare, or chat?
If you answered “No” to any of those questions, then your virtual collaborative meeting is at jeopardy for a security breach.
But even looking at those questions, you may be thinking: “I don’t even know how to implement some of those changes!” And that’s where we can help.
Tools & Support for Secure Collaboration
Meet Me In The Cloud can provide you and your team with the tools and the support to secure your virtual collaborative team meetings.
Security is top of mind right now when it comes to collaboration. Meet Me In The Cloud has been ensuring success in security with our 6 step methodology since 2011. Because of this, we know that secure collaboration isn’t a one-size-fits all. We have designed customized training and advisory services for each level of your organization.
For Your IT Team
In the early steps of our methodology, we provide an Extensive Security Walkthrough conducted during a Site Admin Training Session with your Adoption Lead.
For Your End Users and Meeting Participants
During training sessions, we will discuss the features that you can implement to ensure secure collaboration. We’ll help you learn how to lock your meeting room, when to use your personal meeting space vs one-off, regularly scheduled meeting, how to allow attendees to start the meeting or choosing alternate hosts, along with a wealth of further information and best practices.
What Are the Next Steps?
All of these details can be overwhelming if you don’t have an expert on your side to help you create a secure collaborative environment for your team. We are here to be that expert for you so that you can focus on the collaboration that will help your business continue to move forward during these uncertain times.
Please feel free to reach out to us and we can help you and your team create a more secure work-from-home experience!
At Meet Me In The Cloud, we’ve been an entirely remote company for 10 years, and so we know all the ways to make working from home productive, enjoyable, and collaborative. And during these challenging times, it helps to create a positive connection between your traditional work experience and your new work-from-home life.
So here are our 8 Quick Tips and Tricks from those who live the remote life year-round:
Have a schedule
1. Establish a start time and a finish time.
Set those boundaries with your boss and your family. You don’t have to work 24/7 simply because your office is now in your living room.
2. Kids at home? Anticipate a few disruptions!
It’s okay, everyone else has kids at home too. And when you think about those disruptions, it’s not really that different from when Donna comes by your office every morning and wants to tell you about her online internet date!
3. Plan Breaks.
You are not 100% your job – make sure you take a break for meals, for exercise, for sanity. Especially if you now have kids at home that are also needing to do schoolwork – make sure you give yourself a few breaks to check in on them and make sure they are progressing.
4. Don’t Interrupt!
There will be times during the day when you need to video or phone conference calls and you will not want to be interrupted. Be very clear about the cues that you will use to indicate to your family when those times are: a shut door, headset is on, a red colored piece of paper at the entrance of your workspace, etc.
Prepare for the Day
5. Get Yourself Ready.
It’s easy to just roll out of bed and make the 30 second “commute” to your new work-station, but it doesn’t give you the same fresh start to the day that you usually experience. Take a shower, put on your business casual clothes, and do your hair. You’ll look the part and you’ll feel the part.
6. Eat Breakfast – It’s The Most Important Meal Of The Day!
Before your scheduled day starts, take a bit of time to have a calm cup of coffee and eat a bagel to get yourself completely ready. This way you won’t find yourself halfway through the morning starving and taking it out on everyone else in that virtual meeting!
7. Prep Your Workspace.
Clean up the area of any extra stuff from the day before, make sure you have the tools you need to get your work done (phone, chargers, pen, paper, etc.), and check to make sure your internet is working.
Take Care Of Yourself
8. Don’t Forget To Take Time for Self-Care!
Probably the most important tip! Working from home can start to have a “hermit” feel to it, so take some time during the day to take a break and experience life! Take a walk (keep that six feet distance though!), do some yoga, read a magazine on the porch, play a ball game with your kids. Do something to give yourself balance!
Please feel free to reach out to us and we can help you and your team find a perfect balance between traditional and work from home experiences!
I Don’t Need an Expert…I Can Do It!
One of the first signs of being a full-fledged adult was to try to take care of our “adult problems” without calling in mom or dad to help fix it.
If the sink disposal broke, then we’d think “I don’t want to call a plumber just for that! I’ll fix it myself!” Or if the car was making a funny sound, then we’d hop on YouTube and find a random video and attempt to play mechanic on the most expensive piece of machinery we own.
But we found ourselves removing the entire sink disposal without any clue of how to get the thing back in. Or we put all the pieces back together in the engine of our car only to discover that we have an “extra” bolt still in our hand.
And we ended up having to call the professionals anyway and now the problem is even bigger than it was in the first place!
Stick to Your Area of Expertise
Occasionally in the pursuit of business, we do the same thing:
We try to do things on our own that are entirely out of our area of expertise.
Sometimes we find ourselves in over our heads and an instructional YouTube video isn’t going to get us out of it. And the same thing goes for adopting a new program or software into your company culture.
When adopting Cisco Webex, it can be tempting to want to try your own adoption methodology. We get it. I mean, how hard can it be to plug in a video conferencing and online meeting product and just get to it? Right?
While the Cisco Webex products are amazing and ultimately easy to use, that first round of training and implementation can be a bit of a hurdle.
Common Problem #1
Your company might find themselves attempting to implement your own training approach but it might not be successful simply because it might be a bigger job than expected or you might run into some unforeseen complication.
Solution: Meet Me In The Cloud has a proven 6-Step Adoption Methodology which will take all the strain off of you as your company goes through the training process.
Common Problem #2
Perhaps you purchased the Flex Plan with Cisco but you aren’t entirely sure what is included or even how to use those features. You know that you bought meeting, team collaboration, calling, and contact center services but what exactly should those features look like implemented into your company?
Solution: Meet Me In The Cloud conducts a discovery process to analyze use cases and then we tailor the training to the needs of your unique users.
Common Problem #3
A Webex Events plan is certainly one of the most impressive components that Cisco has to offer companies who are looking to reach employees and sales prospects across the country or around the world without travel and venue expenses, but it’s amazing capabilities can at times be perceived as difficult to implement.
Solution: Meet Me In The Cloud offers a series of training sessions for each feature for all levels of knowledge workers.
Because at Meet Me In the Cloud – we have learned one thing is for certain: trying to understand the Cisco products, train, implement, and follow-up is not something that you want to DIY. You and your company deserve customized training and adoption: that one-size fits all is very rarely the best approach.
Get in touch with us to avoid these 3 common problems, so you can achieve your desired business outcomes faster with Meet Me In The Cloud.
Take a minute and think back to the days of cameras that required actual rolls of film.
You remember the drill… you took a picture, and then had to wait for weeks until you’d finished the roll of film, gotten it developed, and then picked it up only to realize that you didn’t even remember taking half of the pictures!
Or maybe you can recall watching your mom print out photos at the Kodak store and then spend her weekend hours carefully arranging them in a photo book. If she was feeling really over the top, maybe she even added in a little caption to go with it or wrote who each person was on the back of the photo in her fluid cursive.
Now, we look forward to the notification from Facebook or TimeHop that shows us what we posted two, three, five, or even ten years ago. That moment or that picture that we’d completely forgotten about pops up.
And those memories can be really encouraging and nostalgic.
- Maybe you’ve lost 100 pounds since that picture someone snagged of you at the family reunion.
- Maybe you were imagining what it would be like to drop everything and move across the world to another country – and you made it happen!
- Maybe you thought back in 2009 that you were at the top of your game, but now you look at your life, job, or family and things are even better than you dreamed.
Better Than Ever…
And that’s exactly what we have seen with Cisco Webex! Recently, we were looking back at our “corporate memories” and rediscovered this news release. Back in 2009, Cisco was glowing over the reports from their Teleworker Survey which revealed that “telecommuting significantly increased employee productivity, work-life flexibility, and job satisfaction”.
Employees raved about higher productivity, improved timeliness, increased collaboration abilities, improvements in overall work quality. Not to mention an improved quality of life and the connection of telecommuting with their overall satisfaction in their job.
And that was in 2009!
The benefits of productivity and efficiency are even more relevant in today’s corporate space. According to an international study by flexible workspace leader International Workplace Group,
50% of employees globally are working outside of their main office
headquarters for at least 2.5 days a week.
Best Is Yet To Come…
That’s a significant amount of teleworking! And it’s because with companies like Cisco Webex providing the right collaboration tools, and Meet Me In The Cloud ready to train, adopt, and support end-users, there is nothing to stop the great work of flexible workspaces and teleworking.
But don’t get stuck in the past and just be satisfied with what you were offering your clients and your employees back in 2009 or 2015 or even just a few months ago! Keep progressing the collaborative journey for your company.
Get in touch with us and our Adoption Services, move out of the past,
and let Meet Me In The Cloud help you transform how your employees work!
“Why are we even learning this stuff?”
“We are never going to use any of this in real life.”
“What is the POINT?”
“I already know all of this.”
Those are the words that every high school teacher, for all of time, has heard over and over again. Those are words that you might have said at some point in your own high school career. And despite the fact that some of us had exceptional teachers in high school, we don’t necessarily remember everything they taught us and very rarely did we implement what we did learn. And that’s because…
Training someone how to do something doesn’t guarantee that they will ever actually implement that knowledge.
That same idea follows when we’re talking about training the end-users in your organization to adopt collaboration technology. You can have the best of the best trainers in the world come in, but if there isn’t someone there alongside them to help them implement the product into their daily work life, then it could be for nothing.
There is a difference between Training and Adoption.
Training is just one part of the adoption process. You need a holistic approach to adoption, like our proven 6 Step Methodology, that includes training, communication, and discovery.
Have you ever seen a new program or approach implemented in the corporate space, only to be met with resistance and apathy? Sure! We’ve all seen that, and most of us have had to endure it at some point. That’s because
The culture created around the implementation of a new tool is the key element of a successful adoption.
How you approach weaving a new approach, program, or tool into your organization can be the ‘make it’ or ‘break it’ factor. You want the end-users in your company to embrace the tool instead of throwing in the towel.
At Meet Me In The Cloud, when it comes to adoption services,
- collaboration tools are used by people, so we ensure that the adoption plan accounts for how people do their daily jobs.
- your corporate culture to make sure that you are hearing about your tools and working in the most effective ways
- tailoring your company’s training makes sure that users are being trained in the most relevant ways based on specific user stories from your organization
- the implementation of a short term rollout or long term onboarding with our Adoption Service and we develop a customized plan based on your pacing expectations
- streamlining and removing obstacles for your new collaboration tool and how to decommission older tools when needed
Meet Me In The Cloud’s certified Webex Lifecycle Advisors understand that your organization is unique and a one-size-fits-all approach to training doesn’t yield the end results you desire. We understand that demo’s and basic trainings are simply not sufficient to drive adoption because ultimately it doesn’t help the new tool become relevant to your end users.
What will we do for you?
Following our 6 Step Methodology, we will go through the discovery process with you, train your administration, and develop a plan based on use cases from your own company. Then, we will champion the early adopter training phase which will be conducted prior to full enterprise rollout. The roll out will be approached with our multimodal training sessions: short sessions, onsite trainings, longer specific targeted sessions, and training collateral development.
While we implement the customized plan, you will watch your company’s culture shift into enthusiastically embracing the new Cisco Webex tool as part of their daily work routine while creating a digital collaboration space that truly makes your company’s communication effective and efficient.