A tipping point for collaboration and meetings?
The world is changing as we speak, and I am wondering what this will mean for the future that lies beyond the current crisis with COVID-19 and the Coronavirus. Is it going to be a small blip on the radar as we go back to work? Or, is all of this going to alter the way we lead our lives and the way we work and do business? I am prone to believe that the latter is a probable scenario.
A sustainable world
Somewhere along the way, we have realized that we need to do something about the society and the way we lead our lives to make earth a more sustainable place. Climate change, carbon footprint, unrealistic expectations of economic growth and an aging and fast-growing population, have all been part of the story. On the other hand, technology innovation has been rapid and network capacity is exploding to cater for new applications and connectivity. I believe that we are perfectly positioned to exploit this window, and to grasp the opportunities that we have been presented with.
So, have we reached a tipping point?
And can this crisis bring something positive, or at least teach us some essential things? Some of my reflections around what we learned from the crisis so far when it comes to meetings and business continuity:
• People need to be connected (and systems working)
• People need to learn the best way to work remotely
• Some people need to meet to manage the crisis
• Those people need to connect to other people (who might be in a different location)
One positive effect observed already, is the acceptance for use of video and the realization of the value a face adds in a conversation. Today, thousands and thousands of people are working from home as a matter of safety. However, we know that remote meetings are not always efficient, and collaboration and productivity rates may drop. Employees are facing constraints in terms of space, in screen superficies, noise pollution, bandwidth limitations and lack of a common picture during conference calls.
In the current crisis, working as a team, in a meeting room designated to accommodate all the needs of a multi-functional work process, will without a doubt drive more productivity than individuals working in silos from a laptop at home.
The teams that carry a large responsibility today, are the crisis management teams. As a matter of urgency and to achieve the desired level of accuracy, they will have to meet in person from time to time. Not suggesting that everyone can or should join in person, but any crisis management will involve physical meetings. Today, some organizations are well equipped, while others are scrambling to accommodate those meetings, in person or virtually. At any rate, the technology is already available, and it is imperative to make use of it to manage an emergency or crisis.