Three Important Lessons from a Remote-first Work World

Sreeraj Vasukuttan

It seems to me that since COVID-19, the conversation has been slowly shifting from how to drive adoption of Teams to how to adapt to this new remote-first work culture enabled by Teams and the related unified communications and collaboration technology.

In January, when we talked to Lane Shelton on the TechSperience podcast about Poly Teams, he said, “In some cases, the best way to drive adoption is to just to get users one successful use case, just one.”

Here is what Joe Mukherjee, Director of the America’s Channels & Canada Sales Engineering at Poly, had to say on our latest Poly-Teams episode: “Couple of months ago customers were slowly embracing Teams…and now we are just getting phone calls, how many cameras can you send me, how many headsets can you send me, giddy-up, we go gotta get going.”

The juxtaposition of these two lines is a snapshot of what the unified communications world has been going through since COVID-19. For me, there are three important take-aways on how to use this technology in our new remote-first work culture.

Ensure Your Meeting Software Is Secure

I think the first lesson that we learned from a remote-first work culture is that agility at scale does not always come with the best security. However, as Lane said in the podcast, Microsoft Teams has managed to strike a balance between agility and security—maybe because user security and privacy are part of Microsoft’s core values and how they build products. To further enhance security and privacy, Microsoft announced a bunch new features for Teams. Check out Microsoft’s blog post, Our commitment to privacy and security in Microsoft Teams, to learn more on this. While learning what companies are doing to keep your meeting platforms secure is important, we have a responsibility to follow some meeting best practices. For more on that, check out this blog post from Microsoft called Guide to online meetings and live events.

Video Call for Face-to-Face Time

Nothing can replace that pre-COVID in-person meeting. But we are also coming to a new realization that the majority of in-person meetings can be replaced by video calls—this is my second lesson. Joe Mukherjee explores this further on the podcast. People are going to spend less time in cars, airports, planes, and hotels, allowing them to spend more time with family and friends. Companies across the board are going to save hundreds of thousands of dollars on plane tickets, car rentals, and hotel stays. These funds can be reallocated to cloud storage on Azure or buying better audio and video equipment so your employees can have the best meeting experience on Teams. This will help them have more face-to-face interactions, even without the in-person meeting.

We Might Need Better Audio and Video Equipment

My previous point about re-allocating the money companies would save in reduced travel costs to buying better video and audio equipment leads us to my last lesson. It’s worth having better audio and video equipment in a remote-first work culture.

I will tell you my story. I thought the minimalistic approach of using my iPhone headset that came free with my company phone should work for me, until I almost dropped my laptop by trying to walk around during a meeting with my wired headset still connected to my computer. The incident made me think that maybe investing in a wireless headset wasn’t a bad idea—especially since I tend to walk in my home office during meetings. I could also use noise cancellation to stay focused during meetings when my 6-year-old is running around singing and dancing in the living room.

You may realize sooner or later that living in a remote-first culture increases the need for better calling and meeting devices. Devices by Poly that are certified by Microsoft for Teams are perhaps some of the best meeting and calling devices out there if Teams is the default Unified Communication platform that you use. If you’d like to learn more about what Poly and Teams can do together, check out Episode 39 and Episode 57 of the TechSperience podcast.

Finally, I wanted to leave you with this intriguing thought that Lane shared on Episode 57. I am paraphrasing him here, but he conveyed the idea that the cost benefit equation for in-person meetings has also changed since we realized the effectiveness of video in such scenarios. And he will definitely be looking into better quality and higher return on investments from those in-person meetings.

Has your view on those precious in-person meetings changed at all? Are you changing the way you view video meetings? Let us know in the comments.

Sreeraj Vasukuttan is a Technical Marketing Manager at Connection with a passion for technology and marketing. He enjoys writing about cloud, security, and end-user compute. In his free time, he loves watching films, cooking, and traveling with his family.