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A brave new world – how video is powering the future of work

Looking at the explosion of new collaboration technologies and the impact of video on businesses and employees worldwide

The pandemic forced many of us to switch to working over video, and this multi-trillion dollar, worldwide transformation of how we live, communicate, and work has the potential to be as revolutionary as the dot-com boom. Companies such as Zoom have quadrupled growth as classes, meetings and quizzes moved online, while investors are backing companies that are improving the video experience. But we have barely scratched the surface of how video can help make our working lives better.

The past year has helped us realise that some things are better done on video and some things better in person. Work drinks? Better in person. Most work meetings? Probably better on video. Knowing how to use video helps us take advantage of the many benefits of distributed working – spending less time commuting, more time living in the communities we love, and generally being more productive when we’re working.

We need to stop thinking about how we used to work and start thinking about how we should work to get the best from people. Today everyone, even the least digitally skilled person, knows how to meet over video calls because they have become essential to work. We now have an opportunity to discover the other things that can be done better on video and unlock the benefits for businesses. Some starters for ten are:

You don’t need to perform live – One thing we are quite excited about at mmhmm are the possibilities of pre-recorded video. Making an asynchronous recording on mmhmm allows users to pick from multiple takes, with viewers able to experience the recording at normal or increased speed. You can mix in pre-recorded content with live content for, say, a talk followed by a discussion, saving live meetings for creative discussion. You may also be pleasantly surprised by what your team can come up with.

Living in a different country from your boss doesn’t make you a second class citizen – Being in a different time zone from your colleagues can sometimes be challenging. However, making someone join an all-hands call at 3am because the time “works for everyone” definitely doesn’t help. Instead of aligning calendars, record a presentation in advance and send it to the team for review/editing. You won’t lose any sleep over it, and they won’t either.

Humans are engaging – We’re social creatures. 300,000 years of evolution made sure of that. Our brains are programmed to engage with human expressions and pick up on emotions, so we shouldn’t hide that behind a PowerPoint slide. Put people front and centre in video calls and let them present information, rather than the information presenting them.

Outputs, not updates – It’s hard to gather people together at the same time, whether on a video call or in person. Instead of spending hours every week in meetings consisting of boring updates, use that precious time to discuss challenges or come up with new ideas. (This one doesn’t just apply to video by the way, but all meetings. If an update can be sent on e-mail or on video recording, don’t force everyone to recite it in a meeting.)

One of the crucial byproducts of productivity over video is better work/life balance. In addition to being General Manager for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, I am also a mum, and using video and working distributed allows me to divide my time effectively between taking care of my family and managing an international team. This is something I am grateful for and don’t want to give up anytime soon.

This is the moment to redefine what work looks like. Rather than rushing back to the office, take this opportunity to consider how video can help you communicate more effectively, attract and keep the world’s best talent, and give everyone time back for their lives. Video is here to stay. Done right, it can change lives during and outside of work.