Workplace Trends

How Covid-19 Has Changed The Way We Collaborate

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Over the shoulder view of a woman video chatting on laptop to a doctor in face maskOne of the most obvious ways in which the pandemic has affected society is through the need for people to stay connected in times of isolation and uncertainty.

At the beginning, the use of online collaboration tools spiked astronomically, working to streamline methods of communication, and provide flexible new ways to work remotely. While we were already en route to a more video-centric approach to communication, Covid-19 undoubtedly sped up the process. Now, at this present time, it’s impossible to think of life without collaboration tools!

Covid-19 has felt like a crisis, however, the silver lining of a crisis is that it can act as an accelerator to make big impactful moves, quickly. Companies had to implement technology to shift some, oftentimes many, operations to stay afloat, adopting an open mind approach amidst chaos and question marks. What everyone thought would be just a trend or short-lived phase had companies completely upending their projections and modus operandi seemingly overnight.

As a result, Covid-19 birthed a “new normal” and accelerated changes across many industries.

Gone are the days of meandering to a colleague’s desk or meeting 15 plus people in a boardroom. Now, we rely on digital project management tools where tickets for tasks are opened so we know when to join a virtual meeting to make a remote sales presentation, for example. Online learning, doctor’s appointments, banking, yoga classes, even trade conferences, summits, franchise discovery days and other face-to-face interactions, once done in person, had to pivot to adjust to the current state of affairs.

In healthcare, day to day tasks greatly rely on communication tools for gaining insights, using data, and VR, all of which have been instrumental in how healthcare has remained accessible. Especially through telehealth and teletherapy technology, creative solutions for virtual fitness and gyms and wellness, ongoing and remote diagnostics, communicating with aging seniors via video conferencing and virtual social gatherings, have become the norm.

Young woman working on laptop at home, seated on floor at a low table, in stylish living roomOther examples include: Manufacturing where 3D and automation tech has boosted printing and industrial automation and robotics; Retail that extends further into “online” territory as grocery becomes a heavy hitter in e-commerce; Customer service that provides assistance with virtual support and conversational AI including chatbots and cloud call centers; Entertainment where “in real life” is reflected through social online gaming, live streaming and virtual events, and so many other industries.

But perhaps the industries with the most notable changes seen and felt by many, regardless of location, are in business and online learning.

Business and Working Remotely

Back in mid-March 2020, tech companies experienced a dramatic spike in users.

Telecommuting shot through the roof as millions of companies made the move online in what felt like one fell swoop. For remote workers, this wasn’t a complete re-adjustment. Used to interacting in a virtual space, the remote workforce was already working via a suite of digital tools including private chat, video conferencing, and other helpful software that includes project management tools, and integrations.

But for more customer-facing employees and managers who found themselves suddenly at the helm of a whole different way of doing things, compounded with unforeseen and difficult physical circumstances to work in, even businesses and tech companies have had to find innovative ways to stay connected. Office workers experienced a learning curve that thrusted them into a new world of apps, and video conferencing communication. Face to face collaboration took a backseat while workers got used to online collaboration features.

Online collaboration comprises: communication, documentation, software, project management, and data visualization tools, plus note-taking and file sharing apps to create a setting for multiple participants to access files, view documents and work on projects in real-time regardless of geographic location.

As for consumers, organizations unable to meet their needs will fall short and fall behind. A mix of consumer-facing communication including phone calls, emails and direct messaging alongside implementing video conferencing into the consumer journey is the key to making lasting connections that bridge the gap between real-life and online.

Customer service is a big component of how organizations have had to change their footing.

Young student working at desk in bedroom, smiling and interacting with tablet, holding up her hand wavingCollaborative tools support back-end functions internally, allowing IT, agents, call center employees, and teams to connect more seamlessly. Integrations with third party software allows for direct access and a multi-functional environment for happier customers and increased support, sales and distribution.

Online Learning

Similarly, in education and learning, digitalizing the online infrastructure has exponentially grown to include creative and collaborative technology. Now more than ever, there are opportunities for online courses to take shape and reach an entirely new audience, thanks to the pandemic. An added bonus is that course content can extend across a massively wide audience and provide a huge range of topics never before offered. Eager learners can register for super niche training or select from featured courses provided by otherwise difficult schools to attend like Harvard or Stanford.

With economic instability, job loss and a suddenly clear schedule, people have sought to gain new skills and improve credentials. Online courses, upskilling, gamified training, graduate school, even tutorials and further work training have become more available for people to uplevel their skills and redirect their career path; Employer support services plus tailored training, and adaptive learning platforms are all online tools to enhance collaboration in a virtual learning environment.

Even out-of-work music and language teachers have been able to package their offerings and work online. Collaborating with other teachers to provide more in-depth learning, thorough courses and exciting content is just the beginning!

Moving towards a world post Covid-19, it’s quickly becoming obvious that relying on virtual solutions is more than a phase. In fact, it’s quite visibly the lifeline that’s keeping everything and everyone connected in uncertain times. As a result, collaboration across communication whether for remote work, education or any affected industry isn’t only a trend that continues to unfold, it’s a necessity.

Let Callbridge provide video conferencing and conference calling solutions that work to enhance co-creation and a space to encourage the meeting of minds. Use sophisticated features to make every online encounter for business and education more collaborative. Gather your team, reach your class and garner an audience using a video conferencing platform that changes the way you connect.

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Julia Stowell

Julia Stowell

As head of marketing, Julia is responsible for developing and executing marketing, sales, and customer success programs that support business objectives and drive revenue.

Julia is a business-to-business (B2B) technology marketing expert with over 15 years of industry experience. She spent many years at Microsoft, in the Latin region, and in Canada, and since then has kept her focus on B2B technology marketing.

Julia is a leader and featured speaker at industry technology events. She is a regular marketing expert panelist at George Brown College and speaker at HPE Canada and Microsoft Latin America conferences on topics including content marketing, demand generation, and inbound marketing.

She also regularly writes and publishes insightful content on iotum’s product blogs; FreeConference.com, Callbridge.com and TalkShoe.com.

Julia holds an MBA from Thunderbird School of Global Management and a Bachelor’s degree in Communications from Old Dominion University. When she’s not immersed in marketing she spends time with her two children or can be seen playing soccer or beach volleyball around Toronto.

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