The Covid pandemic caused the greatest disruption to our workplaces since the First Industrial Revolution, and its heaviest impact was on how we collaborate. Within a few months, the phrase “stop by my desk” was replaced with “Teams me” in many companies. Yet regardless of how or where it happens, collaboration remains essential for organisations to innovate, build relationships and serve customers, patients or students.
According to Vyopta’s research, over 100 million meetings occur every day with organisations spending over $3 trillion per year for their employees to meet and collaborate. With such large investments of time and capital on the line, it is critical for organisations to optimise the way their employees communicate with one another.
Fortunately, organisations have embraced new collaboration technologies over the past three years to support both remote and hybrid work. The adoption of these technologies provides unprecedented data around how individuals, teams and organisations interact with each other, none of which was available when meetings were primarily conducted in person. Leveraging this new-found data can accelerate workplace transformation and enhance collaboration to improve employee productivity, engagement and well-being.
As organisations continue to iterate their technologies, workspaces and policies in a new era of hybrid work, these data-based insights can be an important tool for making decisions around how to balance in-office and remote work, optimise real estate and find the right best-of-breed technology solutions.
For example, many organisations are re-evaluating their real estate footprints to improve efficiency, save costs and create an environment that encourages people to return to the office. Data that tracks the utilisation of collaborative spaces can assist these organisations in designing spaces which have the optimal technologies and footprints. From a cost savings standpoint, if an organisation discovers that a 12-seat conference room is routinely used only for one-on-one meetings, it has an opportunity to reconfigure its office footprint. Real estate is the second biggest cost driver for many businesses and right-sizing office space can save up to tens of millions of dollars.
Similarly, data can also be critical when selecting or migrating to a new technology, for example when migrating from SIP endpoints to Microsoft Teams Rooms. Companies can use collaboration data to establish benchmarks and track them throughout a migration process so that technology transitions are as smooth as possible.
Research by Vyopta shows that information workers spend up to 90 per cent of their day on digital devices. Therefore, improving an employee’s digital experience is critical to ensuring productivity, engagement, wellness and retention. Notably, in up to 20 per cent of all meetings, at least one person has a quality experience issue that negatively affects their ability to effectively communicate.
A quantitative measure of employee experience is especially vital for organisations to identify individuals, teams and departments that may not be on equal footing when collaborating with their peers or customers.
The right insights can expedite the time it takes to detect, prioritise, investigate and remediate these issues. Three issue categories are particularly important. The first are VIP meetings: conversations with key executives or high-stakes sales pitches that must go smoothly. Second are systemic issues, which can be some of the most disruptive since they do not affect a single individual. Hundreds or even thousands of people may be affected due to an issue with a network or node. Lastly are persistent issues, which plague one user over and over. These problems do not only affect the individual but also every other person they collaborate with, causing a ripple effect.
However, providing the best digital user experiences involves more than troubleshooting technology issues. Using collaboration data, we can observe the health of an organisation’s meeting culture. In fact, there is a direct correlation between how often individuals have ad-hoc one-on-one meetings and calls and their likelihood to stay at an organisation.
During a joint study with one of our customers we discovered that in meetings attended by between three and five individuals (which should be the most productive), a high number of their employees spent the entire meeting on mute. Was this because they did not feel empowered to participate, or because they were only attending to get a status update?
In either case, the organisation can use the data from that study to make meaningful changes that increase productivity. For example, they can empower people to contribute or use transcription technologies to create and distribute meeting summaries.
Overall, this new collaboration data will empower firms to optimise workspaces and employee experiences.
Jonathan Sass is vice president of product at Vyopta