Guest Column | August 19, 2021

How Virtual Rooms Are Giving Remote Workers The Authentic Office Experience

By Ken Lienemann, CoreDial

Women Talking On Phone Working From Home

After a year of so many virtual meetings, video and collaboration are second nature to most of us. However, even as employees get increasingly comfortable working from home, something still feels off. Team members miss the personal experience of working near colleagues and being connected to a larger organization. To address this, businesses can embrace the potential of “always-on” virtual rooms, which allow employees to feel like they’re just a cubicle away from coworkers — even those across the country. Due to their extended accessibility, as compared to ordinary virtual meetings, these always-on rooms can recapture the authentic “water cooler” experience remote workers are looking for.

Employees Need Face-to-Face Interactions

As much as this virtual office scenario has been thrust upon the marketplace, we shouldn’t be entirely surprised at how deftly the business world has adapted to visually-based collaboration. After all, according to Inc. magazine, close to 65% of the human population can be classified as visual learners. Also known as spatial or kinesthetic learning, this trend toward better understanding and retention of knowledge through visual processing reinforces the power of video communication. Similarly, a study outlined in the Harvard Business Review revealed that face-to-face requests for information were 34 times more effective than emailed ones. By the same token, videoconferencing has demonstrated effectiveness not just compared to audio-only collaboration but also compared to tried-and-true email channels.

There’s a reason why this communications medium is more potent than other methods of collaboration—and with the right solutions, channel partners can play a notable part in delivering this power back into the hands of business users. Various reports show that when people are forced to face each other, they use the same nuanced, yet effective, means of comprehension as when they are engaged in in-person conversations. These include direct eye contact, facial expressions, gestures, and other subtle cues that communicate slight yet crucial messages to our co-workers and customers—cues that are simply absent from audio-only or all-electronic communications.

This phenomenon is why the emoji was born. It reinfuses some semblance of facial expression and intended emotion into written media like text or email. Being face-to-face (even if via a screen) accomplishes the same thing with far more efficiency.

Keeping Teams Connected Via Virtual Rooms

Even as employees reap the benefits of visual, face-to-face interaction, a problem emerges: When the meeting is over, workers return to being alone in their apartments and home offices. With a point-solution meeting app, the feelings of connection and camaraderie only last as long as your next scheduled meeting. The goal of communications technology should be to keep that sense of open collaboration throughout the day while employees continue to work remotely.

That’s where “always-on” rooms come into play. When used persistently, an always-on virtual room can deliver an experience similar to an in-person office. An executive, staff member, or even a whole department can use the video room just as they would an actual office. Staff can conduct their work for an extended time while leaving their video room open and accessible to other team members, allowing colleagues to “pop-in” to confer or answer questions whenever they’d like. This feature also allows a user to lock the virtual room for undisturbed work time or private conversations.

The accessibility of the always-on video room brings us back to the simplicity—and productivity—of working together in the same facility. It disposes of the bureaucratic processes we’ve developed in reaction to working almost solely through technological platforms, such as excessive calendar invitations and complex scheduling processes.

How Channel Partners Can Transform WFH For Their Customers

The ability to create a transformative virtual experience for customers can become a significant differentiator for channel partners who are always looking for a compelling edge for their UCaaS portfolios. Although virtual meetings will continue to play a major role in the hybrid and work-from-home (WFH) environment, the always-on video room deserves to become a more prominent feature of the collaborative experience.

As communications advisors in the channel, partners can help the remote workforce come full circle – re-establishing users’ ability to communicate face-to-face and on-the-fly as if they were physical officemates once again. That’s a terrific opportunity for the channel – allowing partners to distinguish their offerings and increase revenue while driving significant productivity and value for business customers.

About The Author

KenKen is Chief Revenue Officer at CoreDial, responsible for leading marketing and sales as well as partner on-boarding, training, support, and partner success. With a deep background in marketing, sales, and service, Ken brings more than 20 years of experience to the position having previously worked for telecom and software companies ranging from startups and early-stage IPOs to Fortune 500 enterprises.