The Emerging Landscape of Virtual Engagement

Virtual Meeting

By Jeff Volpe

In this new-found world of social distancing, organizations are faced with accelerating their planning and investment efforts. Long-term digital transformation and agile workforce roadmaps that were originally
targeted over a five to 10-year window, have now been shrunk to a matter of months.

There are companies that are well prepared to make the leap, having already invested extensively in advanced collaboration tools and cloud-based services. Others are only beginning to recognize the importance of these technology foundations in addressing the needs of an increasingly fluid, remote workforce.

A number of global enterprises have already announced their plans to carry on with a remote or hybrid workforce model for many months – and in some cases years – to come. Google for example has openly stated it will keep workers at home until July 2021, while Facebook plans to shift to a hybrid remote and in-office workforce strategy within the next five to 10 years.

We can expect many more decisions along these lines to come. According to a July 2020 Gartner study, 82% of company leaders plan to allow employees to work remotely some of the time, while 47% said they intend to allow employees to work remotely full time going forward.

This is a shift that has dramatically affected corporate strategies moving forward. When the pandemic began, there was a mad scramble to deploy and support remote workforce models, with the expectation that things would (hopefully) return to normal within a matter of months – or at least the foreseeable future. Many companies implemented these models on an ad hoc basis at best, with employees working from home using a laptop or tablet for videoconferencing and other loosely integrated collaboration tools.

With the realization that hybrid work strategies represent a longer-term commitment, the focus now is
on empowering worker collaboration and elevating content to a more engaging, interactive and immersive level. This will require a full arsenal of collaboration tools to enable virtual video-based communications, interactivity, and real-time content and delivery.

Replicating the interactive office environment in virtual and remote work settings will be critical for businesses to both optimize productivity and deploy seamless operations, whether dealing with employees, customers or partners. An encouraging note is that many of the foundational elements are already in place in the way of existing IT infrastructures, cloud-based services, and collaboration tools.

The right hardware is also fundamental in supporting team building and driving engagement on a day-to-day basis, from videoconference-based tools for virtual meetings with colleagues, virtual town hall sessions, training or presentations to potential customers or investors.

Achieving a more immersive visual experience will require some strategic hardware investments, such as display technologies that can transform interactions through integrated features such as touch, gesturing and voice activation. Crystal clear resolution, high quality sound and color, and built-in casting are also essential elements in creating a highly professional and engaging experience for participants. For higher stakes sessions, whiteboarding software can elevate real-time collaboration to an even greater level.

With the distributed workforce environment evolving and growing at an unprecedented rate, success will hinge on an organization’s ability to adapt their systems and processes to deliver a seamless, interactive and engaging online experience. Those that have the presence of mind to make the investment now, will be the ones who succeed in navigating the shifting landscape of virtual engagement.

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Jeff Volpe is President, Americas for ViewSonic, a leading global provider of interactive and collaborative display solutions for enterprise, education, and commercial markets. To find out more about ViewSonic, please visit www.viewsonic.com.