I have worked from home for 10 years. I thought nothing of spending hours a day on video calls and “meeting” colleagues for the first time via Zoom or Microsoft Teams. It was work as I knew it. However, I was the minority at Poly. Although most people worked from home sometimes, the cohort of always-WFH employees was still the minority.
As a WFH-er, there were times when I felt like a less involved part of a large-group in-person meeting. Covid-19 sent us all into the WFH loop, where 95 percent of Poly employees transitioned to WFH. Of course, we were not alone. In fact, we were the lucky ones. We had the meeting equipment needed to maintain communication at enterprise-grade levels. That’s not to say we didn’t have the same dogs barking and kids climbing the walls as anyone (in truth, my kids actually learned how to climb doorways during this time), but we had tools to make WFH work. Every day during quarantine I thanked my lucky stars that I had noise-canceling headsets and a good camera. Most of the time I was able to spare my colleagues from the chaos happening in my home. Amidst the global crisis, however, Poly realized quickly there was a mission-critical opportunity that it was uniquely positioned to fill.
THE CHALLENGES OF WFH
There were two core issues to the pandemic-state of WFH. 1.) People didn’t have the right devices, and 2.) There was no way to centrally manage the devices that were being used. It was from this backdrop that Poly developed its Poly Studio P Series of personal video devices. These devices bring together professional-grade video and audio technology with gorgeous design elements that you would actually want in your personal space. They are USB-connected devices, so they work with all services like Microsoft Teams, Zoom, GoToMeeting, etc. The Studio P Series devices, P5, P15, and P21, work with Poly Lens, a remote management and insights platform geared to giving IT the ability to manage remote workers with the same ease and confidence as they manage conference rooms. Additionally, each of the devices can be enabled with Poly+, a software subscription that keeps the device fresh with the latest software release plus 24/7 service and extended 3-year device coverage.
The long-term value of products like Studio P Series and Poly Lens is strong. According to Metrigy, the WFH trend is almost certain to continue after the pandemic. Their research shows that 74.7% of respondents expect to be asked to WFH or will have the flexibility to choose to. Almost half (48.7%) wish to remain remote due to improved quality-of-life resulting from their new WFH arrangement – this includes avoiding long commutes and having a more flexible work schedule.
WFH plans vary by region, with companies based in the Asia-Pacific region least likely to require WFH and most likely to offer employees choice of work location or require a return to the office. North American-based companies are most likely to offer employee choice or mandate full-time WFH. In Europe, there will be more WFH requirements with less employee choice. (See Figure 1).
Figure 1: Work Location Future Plans, by Region
The timing may differ, but the goals remain the same. Workers need to “show up” in their meetings looking and sounding their best so collaboration doesn’t miss a beat. Low-quality camera, inferior audio devices, insufficient network performance, poor lighting, and background noise disrupt productivity.
As Irwin Lazar, President and Principal Analyst for Metrigy explains in his latest white paper, “Video and audio conferencing are the technologies for achieving work-from-home success. This is true globally, with more than 89% of North American-based organizations viewing video as important or critical, similar to 82% of those based in Europe and 83% of Asia-Pacific-based companies.” According to Lazar, AI-enabled devices offer advancements in audio and video quality to minimize distractions and improve video quality while adding interactive elements to make video meetings more enjoyable. Poly addresses each of these crucial pain points to enable an enjoyable, sustainable, and democratized collaboration environment.
Lazar also emphasizes the need for customers to “evaluate endpoints based on their ability to support present and future planned meeting and calling platforms,” and advises they prioritize “vendor certifications and integrated management approaches.”
Poly is pleased to share the full piece of research with you here.
Poly is on the same journey as the rest of the world. Let us help you and your teams to be their best selves no matter where they are working. We are committed to driving innovation across audio and video technology and lead the vanguard of next-generation meeting experiences that create independence from a location. Whether working from an office, from home, or while mobile, work is no longer a place; work is what you do.