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Video conferencing has become a useful tool for many people in today’s global workforce, but recent events, including storms across Europe and the threat of coronavirus, have highlighted just what an important role it can play in ensuring business as usual when events are out of an organisation’s control.

The ability to see and speak to colleagues and clients from across the globe is undoubtedly a massive benefit to companies, encouraging disparate teams to communicate more regularly and helping to grow and develop relationships between people who may only get to meet in person on rare occasions. Even in an average working week, the advantages of a professional video conferencing set up are clear, but when you add in the global challenges and uncertainties that have accompanied the start of 2020, the effectiveness, and indeed the necessity, for a way to keep in contact and keep businesses moving has reached a whole new level.

Following the initial news of the coronavirus outbreak, and the subsequent World Health Organization declaration of a Public Health Emergency of International Concern, the stock of VC software providers has risen substantially. Tools such as Slack and Zoom have seen usage records repeatedly broken and, as Zoom Video Communications CEO Eric Yuan told CNBC: ““Ultimately, almost every company, they need to have a tool like this.”

Many major companies have shut down their offices in China in attempt to curb the spread of coronavirus, and big names such as Google, Facebook and Apple have instructed their staff in China to work remotely. With such restrictions in place, video conferencing has a vital role to play in keeping lines of communication open.

Combine this with impact of Storm Ciara (or Kade as it was known in the US) and the need for reliable, secure tools that can help employees maintain contact with the outside world and keep on top of at least some of their work, no matter what is happening in the wider world, becomes clear.

However, it isn’t only in times of crisis that video conferencing tools are useful. As Yuan explained, he believes this increase is part of an ongoing trend towards more home and remote working. And the statistics seem to support this claim. Indeed, a recent FlexJobs and Global Workplace Analytics survey found that 74% of respondents think flexible working has become the new normal. In the US, for example, remote work grew by 7.9% from 2016 to 2017, while over the past five years it increased by 44% and over the previous 10 years by 91%.

Remote working also ties in to a number of other key global trends, such as reducing our carbon footprints through less commuting and focusing more on wellbeing and work-life balance by removing the stresses and frustrations often associated with office life.

Video communication holds the key to ensuring the benefits of remote working can be achieved without the negative aspects, such as feelings of isolation, decreased employee visibility and poor relationships between team members, becoming a concern.

Communication is key to every business, and when times are challenging this is even more true. By investing in communication and collaboration tools and ensuring all employees are comfortable and competent using them, businesses will benefit no matter what the external situation is. While these solutions offer clear business benefits year-round, during unexpected disruption they can become absolutely essential so it’s important to be prepared.

we want to talk about what the future holds for remote workers and video conferencing and how the corona virus specifically has highlighted how effective this form of communication holds a big part of the way we work in the future etc etc.

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