With vaccination levels rising (at least across the wealthier nations of the world), life and work will return to normal. Or will it?

30% of American workers say that they’ll quit their jobs if they’re forced to go back to the office full-time. 71% of white collar workers want to continue working remotely. Most would be satisfied with a hybrid work environment.

What does a permanent hybrid work environment look like? Many of us can relate to the term “Zoom Fatigue”. It’s hard to feel involved in a team when we only engage through pixelated thumbnail images on a 17-25″ monitor. Culture and work relationships suffer. Some employees are describing “burn out” from the lack of genuine human interaction in the work place.

Zoom has announced an “immersive meeting format.” Instead of each participant in their individual tile, faces will be superimposed on a meeting room background:

Screenshot of Zoom's new Immersive

It might seem a bit creepy but you get to watch body language as other people respond to a speaker and gauge how you want to react. However, as everyone else will still need to be muted, you still won’t be part of the back chatter, “Um-hums” and other enriching content in a physical meeting. Until Zoom can filter out dogs barking and street noise, it just won’t be possible for meetings to have everyone unmuted like we do in real life.

One suggestion is to conduct virtual meetings using VR headsets. It might be getting a bit too close to the Matrix, but it could offer a fresh perspective when someone forgets to turn off their video before changing out of workout clothes. So far, no vendor has released a VR enabled business conferencing service.

Two things we can say for sure:

  1. Maybe businesses won’t go full “work from home”, but hybrid work environments are likely here to stay–especially for businesses that want to recruit and retain top performers.
  2. Hybrid work environments will require both some help and thoughtful implementation of how to manage and maintain a culture of performance and customer service, as well as a different mix of technologies to manage their security and communications needs.

Management consulting can help with the first of these needs. Atlas Solution, with its long experience in supporting remote work environments, has some excellent tools for the second.

Contact us for more information.


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