2Know Magazine: Sharing KM Knowledge
2Know: Sharing KM Knowledge
November 2020 - Magazine No. 254
November 2020 - Magazine No. 254
Edition:
Written By Igal Berman

The Coronavirus era is certainly a challenging one. This is only natural, considering humanity experiencing one its greatest crises. However, every crisis sees an area go through drastic changes. This crisis has featured a technological advance and flourish in the field of video, specifically video conferences.

 

Video Conferences are a technology which enables users located in different locations to meet through video calls without physically gathering at a specific location.

Video conferences can be held via computer, designated conference rooms with an internet connection and a camera, and even by phone.

Of course, any conference requires a solid, stable internet infrastructure in order to maintain optimal conference settings and avoid any malfunction.

Covid19 has accelerated processes in this area. We would expect this area to therefore improve and be implemented in several environments over several months. However, due to the pandemic we are viewing an acceleration in many organizations and an extensive use of video conferencing.

 

A word about the past

The history of video conferences goes back to the 1960s, to the invention of the Picturephone video telephone. With time, its abilities and mainly cost led to a commercial failure. Over time, society became acquainted with the classic Skype, Google Hangout, etc. These tools and software provide solutions and the best opportunity for a 'face to face' conversation in which both sides can see one another in real time and converse as if sitting in the same room.

 

The world today

The number of companies making use of video conferencing is increasing. Organizations which have utilized this technology pre-Covid19 are now using it more extensively. Pre-Covid19, this solution has assisted organizations in reducing the amount of commercial flights, reducing costs and shifting to a 'greener' conduct. Now, in our new era, flexibility is encouraged regarding work outside of the workplace, working at home while meeting requirements and remaining available to meetings, events and lectures.

The internet's technological advancement and the speed of data transfer enables data, presentations, and videos to be displayed during conference calls.

Virtual conferences may include participants from all around the globe. Luckily, translation tools and complementary apps allow users to make the best out of these settings.

 

Leading area

A field which has exceptionally broken the 'glass ceiling' is the health field, especially community health services. Treatment has become more innovative, available and comfortable. Patients no longer need to physically arrive at the clinic and can conduct the meetings via designated video conferencing apps. Covid19 has certainly accelerated the implementation process in health care systems which, in turn, are now adapting to the future.

 

Is it all positive?

Like any phenomena, there are less than positive aspects to video conferences. Some are apparent to an extent, yet some will be known to us only as time passes. One downside when implemented for health care purposes is the fear of fatigue and communication disruptions. Video conferences also require extending the already extensive static sitting time.

 

Figures in the world of business are reporting that it's tougher to make business and agree on contracts when meeting virtually. Everyone understands that physical meetings are irreplaceable. The world of video conferencing cannot provide the nuances that comprise an interpersonal meeting. For example, a negotiation meeting, even an intra-organizational one, can be totally ruined if communications are disrupted during a critical moment.  

They say there is no second chance for first time impressions. This is ever so true when said impression is made virtually, since the other side can be impressed either positively or otherwise, expressing disbelief, with hardly any way to improve this impression. Alternatively, when meeting physically one can also alter the impression through conscience use of body language and behavior which set the mood on a better course.

 

There is also the data security issue. Despite large investments in this field, organizations trying to protect their assets from hackers and viruses (such as Trojan horses), we still hear of hacking and data theft from companies, including hacking into video conversations and stealing its content.

In conclusion,

 

More video conferences and reducing the amount of flights will lead to reduced air pollution. Virtual meetings, which are usually more flexible in terms of time and date of meeting, suit a specific type of people and work. Video Conferences are useful, yet cannot replace interpersonal meetings. Of course, there is the health effect which will become more apparent in a matter of years.

 

 

Written By Nir Haim

Normally, with workers working at the workplace rather than at home, they can sense each other. This significantly affects work output, quality, and personal experience. However, lately we have all been coerced to work from home and can feel time pass by slowly, occasionally stop completely. It obviously has not changed its pace, changes are just as frequent in the outer world (outside of our home-office, complete with additional family members). We, as knowledge managers entrusted with organizations' knowledge management, must remember this.

 

As those accustomed to being present at meetings discussing organizational changes, hurrying from meeting with organizational knowledge experts, managers and other parties has become an integral part of our job. It is not there now, at least not physically. Granted, there is Zoom- but it is just not the same. During these unusual times we must remember to always stay alert and adopt new working habits. We must consider how to maintain a high standard and not succumb to these settings. We need to, for example, make extensive use of our scheduling devices since we cannot simply stop by at clients' workplace and sit down for a couple of minutes.

 

Yes, the times are  a changing- but we can change, too!

Covid19 has rapidly altered our work methods. Since its breakout, organizations are not only making decisions but preoccupied with how to communicate said decisions to their workers that are usually posted at home for quite a while. It seems that the initial response to the pandemic is behind us. At this point, organizations' focus has shifted from assisting workers to adapting to this interim period which is evidently here to stay.

Workers are no longer setting up their home offices, finding some arrangement for their children. Most workers have already grown accustomed to a daily routine, though it may consist of some stress factors.

 

Facing this reality, how can the organization maintain a connection to its distant workers and assist them in adapting to 'the new normal'?

 

It's key to understand that these strategies apply to the current climate yet are ultimately relevant at all times.

 

Understand that this is 'the new normal' and communicate accordingly

Firstly, we must understand that the way in which we work now is not going to change for a while. When the coronavirus burst into our life, the communication staffs in the organizations were content with providing communication in time of crisis. There was a need for a quick update of the organization's strategy and its adaption to the situation. Since then, long months have passed by. The focus should now shift from constant updates since workers are pretty much settled into their new routine. At this point, it is vital to accept the fact that these are indeed the new settings. The way in which organizations communicate with their workers should be accepted and perceived as a permanent solution, not a temporary one. Things may stay this way for a while.

 

Organizations should be asking themselves:

  • How can we maintain communication with workers despite a lack of updates?

Perhaps we can find new subjects to talk about such as health, weight watching, optimal work from home, etc. and send digital newsletters on these subjects once in a while

  • What changes can we initiate to allow our workers to feel more engaged? For example, creating digital routines such as sending periodical newsletters, posting daily updates, etc.
  • What can we do to uphold our organizational culture despite us being physically distant? For example, find online meeting solutions and encourage digital conversations via other organizational platforms

 

Communicate with your workers

  1. Be sensitive to workers' different experiences. It's easy to assume that everyone goes through something similar, but you can't really know what each worker is experiencing. Don't assume their experiences to be identical.
  2. Every time the organization shares a notice or update, it must be sensitive to a wide variety of worker experience. In order to simplify the task, consider defining "personas" for different types of workers to ensure all perceptions were considered.
  3. This is a great opportunity to delve into how your team is feeling, on what subjects do they wish to receive information and in what format?
  4. At the beginning of this pandemic, organizations communicated information to everyone. Now at a more adapted stage, it's time to shift to more personalized communication. This, in turn, depends on understanding you understanding your workers' experience and where their status at this stage of the pandemic. Various digital platforms allow personalization according to different segments. These features should be utilized, especially at this day and age.
  5. Make sure that the organization's communication channels suit the workers and the type of messages you send. Every organization maintains various communication channels. Organizations make use of chats, emails, mobile apps, organizational portals, etc. Match the channel with the appropriate type of message and target audience. Some communications, the less urgent type, will be communicated exclusively via the organizational portal, while some communications are more important and will therefore be featured in email and communicated via mobile app notification.

 

Trust your managers

This is a crucial era for managers navigating their workers through this new reality. Workers need a strong leadership. If managers have yet to prove themselves in this regard, it's time to change that. Make sure your managers communicate transparently and frequently.

  1. Transparent communication: managers must be honest about the situation, even if it may be difficult.
  2. Frequent communication: managers must communicate with workers frequently even if there isn't much to update them of. If managers won't do so, workers might fear they aren't being included.

 

Define your culture to retain your workers' togetherness

Strong organizational culture retains workers. But what happens when workers are absent from their office for long? How can we retain organizational culture?

Talking over lunch, meetings, hallway conversations- these all allow workers to define their personal experience at work. And without these personal moments, the organizational culture may suffer.

Luckily, this doesn't have to be the case. Organizational culture can be defined in accordance with the new normal. Coming up with creative ways to get people together despite the distance is vital.

Ask yourselves:

  • How can you retain and foster the organizational culture with workers physically distant from one another? Are there any digital means to attain this? Consider online meetings/contests, mailing gifts, etc.
  • What are we already doing that is contributing to our organizational culture? What can we do besides that?

 

 

Written by Rom Knowledgeware
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