Once the brain gets used to doing certain things in a certain way, introducing new behavioural modes becomes challenging. This explains why people remain in a relationship that makes them unhappy, why they keep doing a job that they are not passionate about, or why they ‘freak out’ when Microsoft decides to phase out Skype for Business in favour of Teams. However, the current Covid-19 has forced everyone to embrace change rapidly. A graph of the adoption rate for unified communication (UC) solutions has gone from a slowly ramping curve to a hockey stick.
This is going to affect each and every one of us. Until recently, approximately 20 per cent of western companies were invested in modern UC platforms. However, now that companies worldwide are forced to enable working from home, we have seen a major shift in how people are doing business. Take Microsoft Teams as an example. The software had 20 million daily active users in November 2019 and by March 11 2020, it had reached 32 million. One week later, another 12 million had joined, making the provisional estimate 44 million daily users.
From Boomers to Generation Z, native technology users to people that did not grow up with touch technology – all of us will come out of this with experience of and a growing appreciation for the tools that allow a new way of collaboratively working. When all this is over, people will be happy to go back to the office, but we will not go back to the way we used to work. New habits have been created and embedded into the way we collaborate.
If you are active in IT or audiovisual processes, be prepared for this change and anticipate technology like Microsoft Teams becoming the new standard when working. Co-working on the same document, sharing content, video calls and virtual meetings will no longer be reserved for the early adopters, but will become the norm. When the workforce returns to the workplace, this new skillset and approach to working together will have a profound impact on the way spaces are designed. It’s time to start planning for that.
Nic Milani is the executive director of commercial product marketing at Crestron and Joe Sarrasin is the director of UC strategy at Crestron
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