Google, Microsoft and Zoom must now be known worldwide as the main providers in remote video meetings. To the more tech-savvy, these technologies have been in use to have meetings between clients on the other side of the world, but in- person meetings may have been more pertinent pre-pandemic. As the virus has capitalised on our evergreen need to socialise in person, companies have found themselves without the luxury of daily meetings, progress reports and the ability to visualise success or failures. The pandemic has really ushered in a new age of remote working and may of provided the ‘hard reset’ needed to completely revolutionise the work norms around the world. This revolution of remote applications which work seamlessly with multiple users from any device poses an undeniable step in the direction of remote working.
The first lockdown inevitably put a stop to working in offices for millions – particularly if their role was not essential. Millions more experienced the blanket of the furlough scheme and turned to creativity and other means to keep them occupied while their companies rolled on. But what was left for those who were working from home? Perhaps the first couple of meetings on these main remote meeting platforms – Google Meet, Microsoft Teams and Zoom being the top 3 – were clunky and awkward. Quickly, though, these user-friendly interfaces would have given much confidence to bosses and employees feeling lost in the pandemic fog. Meetings and calls would have transitioned slowly to annual reviews, budget forecasts and even tutorials and presentations as users learnt to share screens and present virtually. In other disciplines, doctors around the world were performing virtual assessments of patients – showing no end to the potential of these platforms. For businesses, this marked the point of no return for how these technologies have irreversibly integrated into their structure and function.
Way back in 2011, Microsoft launched it’s 365 platform, an integrated cloud-based software/online utility which allows synchronised access to files across all devices. This integrated approach also relies on the hard backup of the cloud, and began to usher in the new age of cloud-based networking. Both Microsoft and Google launched their respective Teams and Meet platform in March 2017, yet many users may not have been privy to them until March 2020. Communication isn’t the only cloud-based operation though – many companies exclusively back up all content, data, papers, campaigns and employee files on the cloud and in physical hard drives as a failsafe. The integration of technology into company process and policy links to a more sustainable management model, particularly in the view of preventing the ‘siloing’ of data into individual departments. Creating a data web through the numerous applications available to any company will improve the ability to merge data through different fields and prevent the disaster of paper loss or limit disruption when one key employee (with all the information) is off; or worse leaves. This is just unrepenting transformation of working process and one which is saving time, money and effort for all levels of worker.
Gone are the days, even, of in person interviews – remote interviewing is just yet another 2020 revelation. With readable codes of conduct, video etiquette and professional lighting set-ups, many businesses are now opting to interview potential candidates virtually – and the interviewee can make just as much of a good impression. With screen share, the ability to hold group online interviews and even allow questions from independent interviewers, virtual interviews now surely hold just as much credence as the until now standard physical interview. These formats allow a more focused look at a candidate’s potential, the ability to record and re-listen to the interview; and also a chance to ask candidates to screenshare, talk through their CV or demonstrate their portfolio or efficacy at certain tasks. This also allows set expectations to be set, an agreement on agenda and topic, and when performed well, can be a good facilitator to a follow up in person interview (pandemic pending). Remote interviewing may be here to stay and can be a perfect screening tool to slim-down lengthy HR process, pooling and candidate screenings and is just one more advance in time-saving tools to improve business process.
Stay tuned for our guide on remote interviewing.