Organisations are now well-versed in using collaboration technologies such as Zoom and Teams, but if you want people to make full use of video conferencing, you need to make it easy for them to organise their virtual meetings.

Meeting booking software gives them the ability to book a meeting via an app even across multiple locations and time zones, inviting attendees and informing them automatically of any changes. This also works with hybrid meetings, where some people are in the office and others joining remotely.

Video conferencing does have its limitations, but it’s a good way to integrate new members of the team because everyone likes putting faces to names.

Teambuilding – Saddiq’s story: This is tricky at the best of times – and particularly so with a remote workforce.

“I feel I’m drifting away from my friends at work, and I just don’t feel engaged any more.”

How to help Saddiq: The collaboration and training techniques and technologies above can help, but as Head of Remote, you should also set up opportunities for teams to have fun.

You might not be able to go paintballing, but you can hold virtual quizzes and competitions, share successes, send e-cards to say thanks to helpful colleagues and host regular all-hands calls where everyone can post questions to keep the whole team in touch.

Reassurance – Paul’s story: We all want reassurance in these difficult times, you may

be Head of Remote, but one of your priories will still be getting people into the office safely.

Paul says: “I can’t work from home all the time, and I don’t want to – I’m working on a joint project and sometimes I really need to get together with my team. But I’m wary about going into the office for meetings in case I catch coronavirus.”

How to help Paul: The meeting booking software mentioned earlier also makes it easy for Paul and his colleagues to book co-located desks via their app so they can work safely together.

The app indicates when desks and rooms have been sanitized, and Paul can fill in a pre-attendance health questionnaire before his booking is confirmed. He then gets a QR code so he can check in and out in a contact-free way.

Visitors and contractors can also use this technology to ensure the workplace remains free of contamination.

Conclusion The World Economic Forum’s new Future of Work 2020 report warns that COVID-19 has accelerated change in workplaces across the world.

That’s no surprise to anyone caught up in the present crisis – workplace leaders are busy responding to the challenges of the situation and also to the opportunities.

With careful planning, good workplace utilization data and the technology to support agile working, organisations can put themselves in a favourable position not only to come through the present situation – but also to set themselves up for when the whole world begins to recover. It’s a comforting prospect. TOMORROW’S FM | 55

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