November 28, 2020 4 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
Remote communication has never been more popular. Over the course of the pandemic, as more employees have been forced to work from home, the number of people using remote communication solutions has skyrocketed.
Early in the pandemic, in April, when lockdowns in municipalities around the United States first forced businesses to send their employees home, video conferencing solution Zoom saw the number of daily meeting participants increase to 300 million, up threefold from 100 million in December 2019.
Similarly, Microsoft Teams’ daily active users increased from 32 million in March 2019 to 75 million in April 2020. Google reported in April that its teleconferencing service was adding three million users per day.
Covid has forced nearly the entire world to go virtual. This has made remote communication critical, not just in people’s professional lives, but in their personal lives as well.
“Customers’ needs and expectations are rising and today’s communication problems cannot be solved with siloed technologies,” says Tomas Gorny, CEO of Nextiva, a communications platform that has facilitated over one billion conversations for businesses, health institutions, government offices, educational facilities, and nonprofits.
As the dust has settled, and many have begun to adjust to the unique requirements of remote work, many are finding that remote communication can actually be better for employees and companies as a whole. Here are four ways remote communication is making for a better workplace.
1. Newfound appreciation
As large gatherings continue to be banned in many countries around the world, several industries continue to be negatively impacted, such as the restaurant industry which has been forced to limit indoor seating and the sports industry which has been forced to put games on hold.
The pandemic has caused significant disruption to the worldwide sporting calendar. For example, in March, the NBA suspended its season after a player tested positive for Covid. While playing has since resumed, other sports leagues haven’t fared so well. The NCAA has canceled all remaining championship events for the 2019–20 academic year. This is the first cancellation in the 81-year history of the NCAA basketball tournament.
Even though many sporting events have resumed, the stands are empty, leaving many longing for an in-person viewing experience surrounded by their fellow fans. This is just one example of how remote communication has given many a newfound appreciation for human interaction.
2. Increased productivity
The success of remote employees relies on them having access to technology that enables remote connectivity and instant communication. Digital communication doesn’t always allow people to pick up on in-person facial cues, so remote communication needs to mimic everyday communication as much as possible. When this occurs, many organizations see their productivity increase.
That’s because by eliminating other factors and dynamics that come into play in the office, many workplaces can see increased productivity and success with remote work. In a survey by Enterprise Technology Research of the more than 1,000 CIOs, 48.6% reported that productivity has improved since workers began working remotely during the pandemic, while only 28.7% indicated that productivity had declined.
“It’s critical to define the future of business communication and relationship by providing tools that allow for real-time management of the customer journey,” says Gorny.
3. Peak performance
The traditional in-person work environment requires employees to work 9-5. However, people work better at different times of the day and have different energy levels based on internal and external factors. An understanding of each individual’s peak performance times can help increase productivity. It’s key to match the highest priority work with the most productive hours.
Not everyone is a morning person and some people might be able to work more effectively in the evening hours. This is also true for employees who need to communicate with people in different time zones.
Remote communication gives employees the power to work at their peak performance times, which can be during off-hours, like midnight. This ensures that employees are more efficient and don’t waste valuable time.
4. Greater flexibility
Remote communication gives employees the ability to work from anywhere, allowing them to live where they want instead of where they work. This can lead to better employee morale as employees can have more freedom and live more fulfilling lives.
This is also beneficial for employers who don’t have to rely on local talent to fill positions. With remote communication, and employees working from various locations, employers can widen their talent pools and ensure they’re choosing the best person for the job.