Best described as a video-first unified communications platform, Zoom ultimately brings people together remotely. Here PCR talks to Phil Perry, Head of UK & Ireland at Zoom Video Communications about how this application is transforming the remote/home working experience
Zoom has a handle on the world of virtual meetings and many of us will now be familiar with this kind of platform and this has come at a time when the working world as we knew it is dramatically changing as Phil Perry, Head of UK & Ireland at Zoom Video Communications explains:
- Can you tell me a bit more about the company and what capabilities and features does its remote working solutions offer?
Historically, Zoom was an enterprise communications platform but when the pandemic hit, we found ourselves in the privileged position of being able to help people connect in all kinds of new ways.
Remote work and distance education are becoming increasingly prevalent in businesses and schools across the globe, and organisations must ensure that their staff have the tools they need to get the best possible communications experience at home. As part of our effort to support everyone working from home, Zoom launched, Zoom for Home, which allows anyone to deploy a dedicated personal collaboration device for video meetings, phone calls, and interactive white boarding.
Our cloud phone solution, Zoom Phone, also has a dynamic feature set and unprecedented reliability to help keep organisations connected, giving IT teams, sales teams, receptionists, and executives the tools they need to maximise productivity and maintain an effective communications infrastructure right from home.
Zoom Phone is now in more than 40 countries and territories across Europe, North America, Latin America, and the Asia-Pacific region. We’ve also introduced a new, simplified plan for providing local telephony service with unlimited domestic calling for multinational organisations, with our Global Select Plan. Global Select is a native telephony offering, enabling companies located in any of the 40-plus countries and territories we serve to pay one flat price per user, with a streamlined process for managing domestic calling plans.
Ultimately, we are entering a new era for every element of our life and work and we are committed to doing our part to help, not only during this challenging time but also as we move forward. When employees are not able to get to the office and when teams cannot travel to see customers, we want to provide a platform for businesses to continue to be productive.
- How do you see the future of home/remote working panning out? What will organisations need to have in place to ensure a safe and successful long-term roll out of this?
The pandemic has certainly been a catalyst for all companies to rethink how things are done on a larger scale. And around the world we are in different stages of addressing COVID-19, with many still working from home while others are reopening or using a hybrid model. What is clear is that the world of work has changed forever where everyone has to redefine work and what is the new normal, which will most likely be a hybrid approach.
No matter where a business is in the process, all companies want to keep their employees and clients safe. And company and organisational culture is arguably one of the most important aspects of keeping morale and engagement high in any workplace, and even more so now that many of us are remote employees. For example, Zoom has workers around the world who might never get to meet in person, so once a quarter we host a “Zoom Rendezvous.” This virtual event, hosted by one of our amazing customer success managers, is a chance to connect with remote Zoomies and those in other offices, departments, and floors. Maintaining a sense of culture and community is critical for employee engagement and productivity as we further navigate fully working from home.
Organisations will also need to consider that with certain barriers disappearing, they will have to redefine the day to day running of their company. Two examples include:
- Environmental impact: With employees working from home and not travelling for work, businesses will quickly see the impact they have on the environment normally. In February this year, we announced our Green Leader customers, the 10 companies estimated to be avoiding the most carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by replacing face-to-face, in-person meetings with face-to-face Zoom video meetings. In total, the top 10 were estimated to have avoided 685,205 metric tons of CO2 in the 90 days preceding October 31, 2019, the equivalent of the annual CO2 emissions from 148,958 cars, and the equivalent of 11,420,077 trees planted.
- Leveraging global and domestic talent: Rather than be restricted by location and radius to the office, businesses will have the potential to hire the best people for the job. Not only that, it has the potential to diversify the workplace more by creating a more open workplace culture
- What are the key issues companies should look to address when setting up their remote/home working infrastructure?
COVID-19 has been an enormous catalyst for all companies to rethink how things are done. Certain barriers have disappeared as businesses have had to broaden their thinking and redefine the day-to-day running of their company to keep things going.
Remote work is our current workplace reality, but managing remote teams and keeping distributed employees engaged can challenge even the best managers. This unique environment, however, can present myriad opportunities to support your teams and grow as team leaders. Now more than ever, enterprise leaders are responsible for the care of a team not only as colleagues but as human beings. The transition to working remotely can impact a team’s culture, as anxiety around future projects and team collaboration can seem uncertain.
Additional factors such as kids at home, the caretaking of parents, and more is now a part of their typical workday. It is crucial for those in leadership to support teams through online communication.
When working from home, sometimes work feels like a constant demand with inbound calls happening at all hours. Knowing how to adjust your personal settings is almost as important as knowing how to use the technology.
- How should companies go about ensuring a safe and secure environment?
Privacy and security has always been fundamental to Zoom and it has underpinned every step of the company since inception. The company itself provides a number of features to help you keep your meetings secure and confidential no matter where you are working. I always recommend enabling passcodes for your meetings, so only those with the passcode they received in the meeting invite can join. Additionally, we always recommend to never share your meeting ID or passcode on social media or other online platforms.
We at Zoom feel incredibly privileged to be in a position to help people stay connected always. And we understand we have immense responsibility to ensure that the safety, privacy, and security of our platform is worthy of the trust you all have put in us.
- Please could you explain the latest features to the Zoom platform?
At Zoomtopia 2020 we brought a whole suite of platform enhancements that are designed to provide more immersive, secure, and collaborative experiences, including Zoom Apps & OnZoom.
Zoom Apps help surface all the applications you need to be productive and enable the free flow of information between teams before, during, and after the meeting. Think of Zoom Apps as an app store right where you need it most — in a Zoom meeting, room, chat, webinar, phone call, and even your contacts directory, helping to operationalize your best-of-breed strategy and enhance productivity.
The “best of breed” strategy is an increasingly popular approach when it comes to choosing and supporting today’s workplace applications. Its effectiveness is limited, however, if your team members can’t access their apps where, when, and how they need them.
We’ve also unveiled the public beta for OnZoom, a one-of-a-kind online events platform and marketplace that supports – and salutes – the creativity, perseverance, and innovation that enabled so many people to adapt their in-person events to virtual or hybrid experiences.
We’ve felt an immense responsibility to help everyone stay connected during this time. That has been our main priority. With the flood of new users, part of the challenge has been ensuring that we provide the proper training to help them understand their own account features and how best to use the platform. So we’ve been continuously offering tutorials as well as free interactive daily webinars.
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