Changing the communication landscape

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As more tech savvy millennials (those born between 1982 and 2004) come into employment, technology will have to work harder to keep up. The fact is simple, we live in a world that demands speed and lacks patience. Email is out, but what is taking its place.

Consumer apps such as FaceTime and WhatsApp have changed expectations on how we expect to communicate with each other, both in terms of using instant messaging services, but also with video increasingly becoming the first choice of millennials.

At work, enterprise IT teams are scrambling to mirror that same high-quality, fast, experience. Below are three ways in which the millennials’ video obsession is transforming and benefiting the office environment and how your business can embrace the new way of work.

Video is ubiquitous

Millennials have been using variations of video chat since they were young, whether its calling home from university, friends over FaceTime and even whist gaming. They are also big streamers, 78 per cent of millennials in the UK streamed videos via channels such as YouTube, and 63 per cent used streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime.

For millennials, video is part of their every day, be it conferencing or streaming, and as a result, they are more likely to adopt it effortlessly in the office. Where older generations may be reluctant to adopt video conferencing technology at work, millennials already understand its ability to make meaningful connections and boost productivity, with little to no training required.

It is because it is so much more engaging and so easy to use that video is extending to all corners of the enterprise in a holistic way. Meeting productivity is boosted by face-to-face video conferences no matter the location. Company-wide training and onboarding can be done using recorded and live video tutorials. HR can use video conferencing technology to interview new recruits and build strong relationships with current employees. Live-streamed video events can be broadcasted to thousands of viewers for maximum distribution of company messages. And with the ability to record and share on-demand video meetings, consuming important company information can be done in a way millennials already prefer — via video.

Keep it simple

As millennials have grown up alongside interactive and video technology, their expectations for the user experience is higher than any previous generation. While millennials have sometimes been labelled lazy by other generations (in all fairness, which generation hasn’t been called lazy by the previous?), to them, it’s more about being efficient.

Millennials expect a process to advance in the least number of steps possible. They appreciate technology, like wearables, apps and workflow automation and communication, to aid productivity and streamline the process.

To rise to the occasion, video conferencing in the office must be a true one-click experience and accessible on whatever device is being used be it a mobile, laptop or tablet. It will need to be interoperable with other solutions and utilise WebRTC via the web browser to make video communication in the enterprise as simple as possible. 

To ease IT burdens, video conferencing solutions should be plug-and-play, so that HD cameras and phones work seamlessly with cloud-based conferencing software, no matter what size or type of room video is needed — huddle, conference, auditorium, etc. Cloud-based collaboration tools are helping companies provide workforces with faster and more efficient ways to communicate with each other. Real time chat tools are the norm in the majority of workplaces, and video conferencing is becoming increasingly popular. These more efficient methods of collaboration will eventually replace the majority of emails that we send.

Personal is preferable

As businesses have become increasingly global, work is everywhere, constant and more flexible than it has ever been. Millennial employees want to be part of companies with a strong culture, wherever they work, the use of video allows them to meet “in-person” wherever they happen to be — whether in the office, via laptop in a coffee shop, on a tablet at home, or using a smartphone at an airport.

Other than being physically in the same place, something that is often not possible in today’s global work environment, video is the next best thing for work meetings. It’s engaging, convenient and more productive.

Millennials are very different to the generations that have gone before them, they crave purposeful work, and need to be looped into their teams at all times in order to get the most out of their work. In today’s distributed workforce, the more virtual “face-to-face” time possible, the more enjoyable the work environment. And while previous generations may be resistant to change, old dogs can learn new tricks, especially if it means reaping the productivity benefits of video.

Richard Middleton, country manager UK and Ireland at Lifesize

Richard Middleton

Richard Middleton is the Director, Major Accounts - UK & Ireland at Lifesize.  He has been working in the Videoconferencing Industry since 2004.