In normal times, moving to a work-from-home model is no small feat. But in this new reality, it can feel like you're Sisyphus pushing his boulder up a hill. COVID-19 has turned project deployment processes upside down.
Schools are transforming into online learning centers at a scale we've never seen before. At least 90% of schools around the world have closed in response to the virus.
66% of US workers are now working from home at least some of the time and 44% are working all five days from home. That's a steep increase from the 17% of employees who worked all five days from home just a couple short months ago.
If you're neck-deep in work/learn-from-home transformation chaos, we've got a guide for you. It will help you tackle the immediate needs and put you on a path to a long-term strategy. Download "Deploying AV in a Crisis and Beyond: Building a 30, 90, and 120 Day Plan" here.
These are stressful times with a lot of new demands on users and the teams who need to support them. We can't tell you what the new normal will look like, but we can help you as you make decisions to enable and support remote workers and learners. Here are five ideas to keep in mind as you deploy video conference and collaboration solutions.
1. Remote Work Takes More than Video Calling
Many companies have been quick to sign up for video conferencing. It's the obvious tool for the new remote worker. But collaboration also includes file sharing, chats, desktop and screen sharing. Look for video conferencing software solutions that include these collaboration features.
If you're an Office 365 subscriber, you may already have Microsoft® Teams. You can keep costs low and provide multi-functional collaboration tools.
2. Recording Meetings Can Be Really Handy
The number 1 challenge for at-home workers? Difficulty collaborating with co-workers. The second is interruptions. Users are juggling kids, pets, and a general lack of routine.
They need the ability to go back and listen to an important meeting that they missed when the kid spilled a drink on the keyboard. It can be messy out there. Just search #coworker—you'll see. Look for solutions that allow users to record video calls and meetings.
3. Video Quality Isn't Your Biggest Issue
In a perfect world, all video meetings would serve up 1080p full HD resolution. But this is now, which means iPhone and Skype quality video is acceptable—even on news broadcasts. Your users need webcams, but you don't have to go all-out on quality here.
Pro tip: Look for webcams on the Facebook Marketplace. You may find some great deals!
4. You Can't Solve Every Problem
An updated version of the old Serenity Prayer asks, "Give me coffee for the things I can change and tequila for the things I can't." We're not suggesting you drink your way through this crisis (tempting though it may be) but rather to accept that there will be requests you can't fulfill.
There will be users you can't make happy and problems you can't solve. Home bandwidth or computer processing issues can't be addressed in this initial 30-day "get-by" phase. And that's perfectly OK.
5. Short-Term Fixes Will Impact Long-Term Strategy
While it's appealing to purchase the first solution that looks feasible, keep in mind that today's purchase will need to be incorporated into tomorrow's long-term strategy. Recent surveys are already showing that employees have gotten a taste of working remotely—and they like it. Your long-term strategy will need to anticipate higher levels of remote workers than what you projected pre-virus.
Bonus: There is Help
It may feel like you're an army of one, but you can get help. Even if your building or campus is locked down. Because, who better to conduct a virtual meeting via video conferencing than an audiovisual integrator? AV integrators have been connecting people and enabling remote work and online learning for decades.
PSNI members can mobilize solutions around the world. They can help you through your short-term fix and ensure it fits with your long-term objectives. Find an integrator near you.
Don't Forget to Download Your Guide
Get your copy of "Deploying AV Solutions in a Crisis and Beyond" today. This guide will share recommendations from experienced PSNI members who can help you develop a 30, 90, and 120-day plan to deploy the solutions the current situation demands while also preparing for your future needs.