There is no getting away from it—the working world has changed immensely over the last year. Many of us have exchanged our usual commute into the office for one where we don’t even leave the house, working from a home office or perhaps a kitchen table, all the while frantically trying to get the kids ready for a remote learning session. The current pandemic, which was originally thought to be a minor interruption to our lives, now seems to have changed the landscape irreversibly in many industries, and as a knock-on effect of this, we are working from home in ever-increasing numbers.
This is partly down to the fact that in the modern, ever-connected era, many people are more than capable of doing their job perfectly well from the comfort of their own home. While this isn’t preferable for everyone, many workers have enjoyed having the extra time with their families, and not spending hours in traffic or on packed public transport. As a result, certain aspects of the technology space have become invaluable to our working lives, as more and more of us end up working at home.
Video calling, virtual meetings, or now, simply “zooming”, whatever you want to call it, using your webcam and microphone to meet and discuss work issues has become an extremely common work practice. Conference call tools for business vary in their form and function, as such, it can very much depend on your business. Is security the main issue for your company? Perhaps you need a conference tool that allows for many participants to be in the same meeting? Is screen sharing a necessity? How about access from mobiles and tablets? The answer to all these questions will make a huge difference in which remote meeting solution you and your company chooses.
The good news is that since the pandemic hit, new and old video calling solutions alike have been adding functionality to their services at an extremely rapid rate. So, whether you are using Zoom, GoToMeeting, Google Meet, or Skype, the chances are you will be involved in and will benefit from these features in virtual meetings for a long time to come.
Bigger Data Pipes
The demand for these video conferencing software solutions is also having a knock-on effect elsewhere in the tech sphere, due to the sheer amount of data associated with its use. Home broadband connections are now needed to be far more robust than at any time in history. If you are running a business from home, alongside kids who are being taught remotely, and then in the evenings are using video streaming services while others are gaming online, the digital pipe in your home needs to be able to cope with the demand.
Data caps, which are still present in some countries, may be forced to reside on the scrapheap of history, as our data needs increase exponentially. So far, the internet service providers have fared well, but the ever-increasing demand will need to be met head-on as more people begin to work from home permanently.
Not only are the digital pipes into our homes being relied on more, but also the connectivity within our homes needs to be as reliable as possible. Because of this, mesh networks are seeing sales numbers explode, as workers scramble to patch Wi-Fi dead spots within their homes, allowing everyone in the house somewhere quiet to work, without the connection dropping at an inopportune moment.
Lastly, we are entering an era where a large percentage of working teams may never actually meet in person. While this has been a trend that has been on the rise for a while now, the current pandemic has sped up the process immensely. This is especially true for small businesses, and those that are run from a home office. Go back a decade or so, and a substantial number of start-ups would at least meet co-workers initially, before perhaps working remotely for weeks, and then meeting up again. Now, in 2020, things have changed. Many small businesses are comprised of co-workers that have never met, and likely never will. If someone has a skill set that you need to make use of, and can produce the goods from a thousand miles away, video conferencing, instant messaging, and other communications platforms can bridge the gap well enough that there is no need for costly and timely commuting.
While the old ways of working will return in time, to some degree (a hybrid solution is going to be a reality for plenty of workers), there is mounting evidence that the “work from home” (WFH) model is here to stay. With the data infrastructure in place, and the plethora of powerful collaboration tools at our disposal, remote working is set to become, at the very least, a hugely popular way to run businesses of the future.