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Remote work: how can we help?

Designing the Virtual Room for a future of thriving remote workers

Remote working used to be the exception, not the norm. But things have changed radically in the past few months. We’ve been reflecting on your feedback about what it’s like to work completely remotely. It’s helped us to understand what you’re enjoying, what has changed, and what you’re still finding a challenge a few months on.

It’s given us plenty to ponder, including the big question: what will the future of working look like?

During our initial discovery research, we learned that the transition into full time remote working varied a fair bit. Some people felt prepared, while those with less digital confidence took longer to adjust.

We all missed in-person experiences and those ‘by chance’ conversations, and shared mutual concerns about the importance of preserving wellbeing. We also recognized the need for added support for new starters and graduates, as well as those with less developed networks.

So… what’s changed?

The good news is that you are no longer feeling overwhelmed, but instead you’re adjusting to a new way of working. Working from home going forward is also a welcome prospect for many employees.

You’ve told us that you continue to receive more email requests and are spending longer on the phone/video calls. It’s also still difficult to get a response to a quick question over emails. We understand that some of the new ‘make do’ processes, like quickly scheduling meetings, need to be replaced with something more efficient and robust so as to accommodate team calendar sharing.

"We understand that some of the new ‘make do’ processes, like quickly scheduling meetings, need to be replaced with something more efficient and robust"

This has informed our current view of key features for The Virtual Room, including: searchable participant profiles and a directory; flexible chat within a single channel; tools to help schedule meetings across the market. We hope this will also streamline connectivity between in-room working and remote working on a long-term basis, something that will evolve over time.

We will continue to work with you to refine our priority list of tasks for The Virtual Room. Your valued input will also help us define the broader rollout plan and the exact features we intend to focus on for the first phase of deployment.

Thank you for joining our research teams; your input really does have an impact on how we’re designing for the digital market. With your continued support, we can solve this together.

Andy Catling & Fiona Manders

July 2020