Features, Insight, Opinion

How 2022 is Set to Reinvent the Workplace

By Sam Tayan, Head of MENA at Zoom

“Video is the new voice” is now a phrase universally understood by young and old around the planet. Video has undoubtedly changed things: remote work is now just work, and distance education is more available and reliable. No one bats an eye at getting a “Zoom Party” invite. Perhaps an even more remarkable change is how video and other cloud services have helped ignite a higher standard of innovation across every industry.

So, what’s next? The easy answer: video will continue to reshape the workforce and experiences across every sector, be it retail, financial services, healthcare, education, insurance, emergency services. Every industry will be influenced by it. But this newly minted video era will also usher out old notions of what business, education, and society can look like and create new possibilities, both personally and professionally. Here are a few big ideas that will dominate 2022 and beyond:

The ‘total experience’ imperative

Experience is all about the ability for a customer to transact business happily and easily, and for an employee, it’s about productive and meaningful work. Customer satisfaction has always been top of mind for business leaders, and as we embrace new ways of working, employee satisfaction is crucial going forward. We expect to see organisations working to provide this total experience through a strategic blend of in-person and virtual connections.

Elevating the customer experience 

A hyper-competitive landscape means today’s consumers have more choices than ever and thus demand more engaging and superior experiences.

So how do you provide a better customer experience than your competitors? By meeting your customers where they are and engaging them in the ways they want. Companies can start by layering video into your engagement and outreach methods, creating a new video or “v” version of everything. For example, V-commerce will explode as retailers invest in video to augment the digital shopping experience. At the same time, V-contact centres can help enterprises consolidate customer interactions and offer expert support in a more empathetic way. In addition, V-messaging will support customers through video, voice, text, chat — whatever mode they prefer.

Elevating the employee experience

The fallout from “The Great Resignation” will continue as employees continue to recognise what they enjoy about their role or company and evaluate both their professional and individual purposes.

Business leaders must reimagine in-office working environments focusing on employee happiness, inclusivity, equality, collaboration, productivity, and purpose. Research in the UAE revealed that 64% of employees consider the ability to work from anywhere, office or home, as a driver of satisfaction and happiness.

Employees going into the office must have a reason to commute and the suitable space and tools they need when they get there. However, organisations should remember that they need a space where employees can work, but the office is not the only place work can happen. A recent survey revealed that 84% of UAE businesses and IT decision-makers believe that at least a quarter of their workforce will remain hybrid post-pandemic.

Mass reinvention across industries

Businesses will reinvent themselves, firstly, because they have to and secondly, because they can do it quickly. Entire industries, including primary and secondary healthcare, real estate, financial services, and retail, are rethinking how they interact with customers because there are new expectations to see and experience things.

This floodgate of change and innovation has been opened partly by digital transformation’s newfound agility. Before, large-scale transformation projects could take years. But those days are over, primarily due to rapid deployment speeds and a collective higher technology literacy within the workforce.

Migrating the cloud phone system is not time-consuming and migrating an internal messaging platform can be done over a weekend. The digital transformation — better yet, the digital disruption — race is on.

As the pandemic swept the world, video solutions were adopted practically overnight to keep up business, education, government, and face-to-face communication. Almost two years in, organisations have realised that video communications platforms are needed now more than ever, as it will be core to safe return-to-office plans, “Smartening” workspaces, and ensuring the office is collaborative for distributed teams. Moreover, it will also be essential to elevate the employee experience and satisfaction and make real-time collaboration and communications productive and seamless.

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