As hybrid working patterns begin to take shape globally, integrated audio and video solutions have become an essential tool for professionals today. New research from Ipsos, commissioned by EPOS, finds that end-users spend seven hours per week in virtual meetings on average, an increase of two hours per week in just the last year.
The benefits of virtual working are now well-known, and employees are keen to preserve some of the convenience, flexibility, and adaptability that remote work promises. 99 per cent of decision-makers in the workplace also see the advantage of virtual meetings, which deliver time and cost savings as well as enabling meetings to take place seamlessly across time zones.
As lockdowns begin to ease, many decision-makers are anticipating the advantages of a genuinely hybrid model for the workplace. However, there are notable divergences between the expectations of decision-makers and employees regarding the return to work across all markets. In fact, 56 per cent of global business decision-makers expect an increase in employee time spent at the office, however, when looking at employee expectations the figure falls to just 26 per cent.
For employees across all markets, critical challenges in the hybrid working set-up stem from bad audio or visual tech experiences with close to all (89%) end-users currently experiencing difficulties in virtual meetings. The most common experience issues include misunderstanding what’s being said in a meeting (26%), and missing out on critical information (21%), while a further 17 per cent say that they appear unprofessional because of poor sound experiences. The experience issue extends to collaboration tools used, with 16 per cent reporting that the equipment they use is ‘not fit for purpose’ while 13 per cent report having difficulties seeing details shared on screen.
Over time these negative experiences can affect employee’s ability to focus, engage and actively contribute. Fortunately, decision-makers are recognising the impact that bad audio can have on their business and employee wellbeing – 88 per cent accept it has caused their company issues over the past year. A further 77 per cent believe the right technology can overcome collaboration experience issues and are prepared to make necessary investments in equipment and infrastructure. Solving technology problems could also go far in persuading employees that virtual meetings can be just as good going forwards.
Successful businesses in the hybrid workplace will be defined by their ability to support people with the right technology solutions, tailored to needs and expectations. Technology solutions today offer a clear way to bridge the gap between differing expectations and priorities: high-quality, integrated audio-visual solutions have the potential to bring the best of both worlds to post-pandemic work. Moreover, in helping to eliminate distractions, collaboration technology both enhances human interaction and increases professionalism – helping businesses to reach a gold standard for the hybrid workplace.
Get the full Virtual Collaboration report here.