Commercial Integrator + Security Sales Sept/Oct 2023 - 49

C llab rati n
TODAY and TOMORROW
The debate on when, where and how people best work
might be one of the most polarizing topics of 2023.
eoconferencing, a host of new options opens up for delivering
a message, soliciting feedback or coming to a consensus on a
decision. Avoid the mindset of " the way we have always done it "
or " the easiest way to deliver the message. " Instead, think creatively
about the most effective way to reach people and solicit
engagement in these new times. (Any message is only ever as
good as its being received and acted upon.)
Balancing In-Office and Remote Work
With more limited in-office time among members of teams,
it's critical to balance in-office and remote work. Be sure that,
for every in-person meeting, the space used is designed and
outfitted so as to be conducive to engaging the right parties
in the best way possible. (This likely involves redesigning and
reoutfitting pre-pandemic rooms.) Ensure that everyone in
the meeting has " a seat at the table, " even if they're not physically
present. Everyone should have the ability to be seen and
heard as easily as if they were there in person. We're seeing
a rapid shift in both hardware and software technologies to
ensure meeting equity within these spaces.
Even more important than technology is human leadership.
The host must set an agenda and ensure the right people
are present and prepared for the meeting. Every reason
to call people together must have key objectives and action
items. Artificial intelligence is adapting to be able to capture
and document much of this activity within meetings, but it's
up to us humans to set the stage and ensure the conversation
is on course.
Outside of synchronous meetings is where many other
collaboration tools can come into play. This is also where being
thoughtful about communication strategies can have a huge
impact. Do you need to prep with some teammates beforehand?
You don't have to wait until you get to the meeting to share key
elements of a document. Asynchronous document collaboration
can take place easily, even if folks are in different time zones.
Do you need to relay a quick but important message to a large
group? A collaboration channel on a messaging platform can
easily reach thousands, while also allowing for better feedback
than an email. (Emails, after all, cannot have comments or
concerns easily tracked.) Do you need more discussion than
that? A quick huddle in a virtual space can allow people to come
together and discuss things in a synchronous manner.
It's also important to be mindful of challenges and other
considerations when implementing collaboration tools.
First and foremost, accessibility is key. Those who aren't in
the office need infrastructure and equipment so they can
be seen and heard at their best. Internet connectivity and
bandwidth might be a concern in some areas, so it's important
to consider those factors when choosing a meeting
platform. There is always some element of a learning curve
when implementing a new tool or technology, so training and
support are critical.
Just because we have more tools at our fingertips doesn't
mean they have to be used 24/7, either. Maintaining healthy
work/life boundaries - whether those are physical space,
time or both - is important so that both body and mind have
the space to recharge and decompress between work sessions.
You can be mindful of this by utilizing tools to schedule
messages or information only during work hours. You can
even schedule yourself only to receive these communications
when you're able to reply. Different approaches might
work better for different people. It's also important to establish
clear communication norms within the organization so
that expectations are set accordingly.
Pros and Cons
There will likely continue to be both pros and cons of the RTO
movement, and it's likely to continue as one of the most hotly
debated topics for the foreseeable future. There is simply no
" one size fits all. " However, each of us can take steps to make
our in-person and remote times as effective as possible by
better utilizing many of the collaboration tools that are now
available, as well as those that will emerge in the coming
months and years.
In today's rapidly evolving world, one can no longer expect
to get ahead just by working harder. We must work smarter,
more thoughtfully and more resourcefully to bring about a
connected and inclusive future of work. And always, build in
some flexibility. Those who prepare for and embrace change
will remain ahead of the game as the world of work continues
to evolve.
Amelia Vrabel serves as business development manager -
cloud/UCC with AVI-SPL.
Sept/Oct 2023 | Commercial Integrator+Security Sales & Integration
49
JON ANDERS WIKEN/STOCK.ADOBE.COM

Commercial Integrator + Security Sales Sept/Oct 2023

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