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5 Steps to Achieve WFH Video Conferencing Success
Nemertes’ recently published “Visual Communications and Collaboration: 2020-21.” This global research study of more than 525 end-user organizations found that just 8.2% plan to return to the office, while nearly 36% want to continue to support full-time WFH for those who aren’t ready. 41.8% expect to support remote workers with some ability to move back to the office full or part-time, should they desire to do so.
Among our participants, it’s clear that video conferencing has emerged as a core technology to support remote work. More than 91% are now using it, and almost 50% brought in a new video conferencing app earlier this year to send workers home in late February. After all the years of hype, the age of video conferencing has finally arrived.
To determine approaches that correlated with success, we analyzed our research participants to uncover those who had above-average improvements in productivity, cost savings, or revenue enhancements associated with their video investments. Our goal: identify the different approaches that more successful organizations take versus those with little or no measured business benefit.
The following five approaches are most correlated with the highest return on investment (ROI):
- Add new video conferencing apps to support WFH – For many, extending the current office meeting platform to employee residences proved problematic, especially for those running on-premises servers. Employees often struggled with poor user interfaces, VPN issues, and home network performance challenges. Those who either bought or took advantage of limited free offers were more likely to see a positive ROI than those that tried to extend their existing meeting apps to the home.
- Treat the home office as the new office – Successful companies are much more likely to provision optimal hardware, including webcams, headsets, executive video systems, and speakerphones to the home. They also take homeownership from a network management perspective, assisting employees with ISP plan selection, Wi-Fi coverage issues, and optimizing home networks to protect business traffic from gaming and streaming. Additionally, they are extending performance management capabilities into the home to ensure that they have visibility into app performance
- Adopt a video-first culture – Nearly half of the successful companies use video for all of their meetings, compared to just 27% of non-successful ones. Also, successful organizations are much more likely to treat video conferencing as a critical business service that must deliver acceptable uptime and quality. Gone are the days when network managers hoped that workers didn’t use desktop video for fear that it would negatively impact the network.
- Upgrade the LAN and WAN – As some workers return to the office in some fashion, whether full or part-time, it’s likely that reliance on video conferencing, especially at the desktop, will continue. Employees may, for example, continue to participate in meetings from their desk or an open location rather than crowd into a meeting room. That means organizations must ensure that they have sufficient Wi-Fi, LAN, and WAN bandwidth to support growing video demand if the company is shifting to a hybrid work model.
- Go beyond conferencing – Our data demonstrates a doubling of adoption since 2018 of video content management systems that enable organizations to gather and share video assets, including recorded meetings, live and on-demand broadcasts, and even user-generated video. Thanks to the growing popularity of consumer apps like Instagram and TikTok among younger generations, video is becoming the norm for communications. Expect that workers, both home and in the office, will want to use video to share ideas and to communicate. Prepare to offer a platform that allows them to do so while maintaining compliance with security and governance requirements, and that allows for employees to find and share relevant video content more easily.
Here’s a bonus – make video fun! – Nearly 60% of organizations are using their video conferencing and meeting apps to allow virtual workers to bond and build a community. Examples include health and wellness classes, instructional classes, social gatherings such as happy hours and trivia contests, and even “bring your kids or pets to work” events. Video can’t fully replace in-person human relationships, but it can go a long way toward easing the isolation that so many home workers may experience away from the office.
Following these five steps won’t guarantee video conferencing success. However, they can increase the likelihood that investments will lead to tangible ROI, improved productivity, reduced cost of operations, and revenue gains – all from using video to offer new services or improve existing ones.