Operating Virtually in the Workplace. Is it here to stay?
During the new normal of quarantine restrictions and norms, methods of interacting have taken a whole new approach. All occurrences of socializing and doing business now take place through a screen, eliminating person-to-person contact. Just as society had recently reached a point where technology was considered to be a barrier of human connection, it has now become the lifeline that has allowed the world to continue moving forward, both on a personal and professional level.
The timing of videoconferencing app Zoom could not have been better timed or necessary. CEO of Zoom, Eric Yuan left a lucrative position to found the videotelephony company in 2011. It was eight years later, in April of 2019 that Yuan rang the opening bell on the floor of the Nasdaq for the IPO of Zoom. Originally used for corporate conferencing purposes, Zoom was also quickly adopted for personal use once strict quarantine measures were implemented. In fact, Zoom added 2.22 users in the first couple months of 2020, which is more than the 1.99 million users added in all of the year 2019 combined.
The video conferencing app allows a clear connection with multiple users to interact at once. Zoom calls are a great tool for academic purposes, allowing teachers to still instruct classes remotely. They app also provide visual interactive relief for the endless days spent in quarantine. Zoom calls are now used to celebrate birthdays, graduations, wine tastings and much needed time to see loved ones’ faces.
The capabilities of Zoom have expanded to allow companies and businesses of all sizes the unlimited possibilities of remote working arrangements. Zoom and similar apps and technology have facilitated virtual working arrangements to the point that employers are reconsidering how they structure their offices and staff once quarantine restrictions are lifted. Numerous employers are deliberating if they should continue to allow some of their staff to work from home permanently and reduce the amount of office space needed, significantly reducing costs. This scenario also allows for a larger pool of individuals to hire from since talent does not need to be chose from a select location, expanding the candidates available.
Employees are considering the advantages of eliminating commutes; minimal office apparel and reduced expenses such as child care costs and gasoline. Employees in this work arrangement typically take less vacation and sick days since they can more easily work around the obstacles of childcare and illness. Also, it is reported that most employees experience an improved work-life balance and less overall stress working from home.
The key is to remain productive and profitable but if this quarantine period has proved anything, it has been how to strategize to achieve that result. As the world in general, especially professional culture, has become highly dependent on visual technology to keep the world turning, creativity has achieved great heights to maintain emotional and heartfelt connections. Slideshows and video blogs have become user friendly to older generations that had previously not known they existed. Many people now prefer to FaceTime over a regular voice call because of the visual option. Many of these new habits will remain in place even after quarantine, some for the better.