The COVID- 19 pandemic has forced many companies to switch to remote working and while it is testing for many people, adaptability is fast becoming the norm. The initial first steps in the process for employers was ensuring that they had the systems in place to facilitate virtual linkages with their employees; then ensuring that their employees were familiar with the technology and able to use it.
To make it easier for members to understand how to use virtual technology, Shannon Chamber linked up with the Limerick-based arm of global IT solutions provider, Rahi Systems, to host a webinar on the topic. Over 70 people, not just from Chamber member companies, but from throughout Ireland and overseas, logged in to attend, an indication of the relevance of the topic in the ever-changing working environment we now operate in.
As Shannon Chamber CEO Helen Downes explains: “This was a first for us as a Chamber and for me as a CEO, presenting at an event while sitting alone in my office, but it worked and was so uplifting. Using Zoom video communications, we had a panel of contributors that we probably could not afford to have had at an on-site event, which was a bonus. We had the general manager, EMEA for Rahi Systems, Marcus Doran; Andrew Bisset, the regional manager Ireland, UK and Africa from DTEN, a company delivering innovative products for using streamlined video conferencing and, Mike Adams, channel manager EMEA with Zoom.
“The purpose of the webinar was to give our members and our new followers some insights into how they can mobilise their teams to ensure that they can deliver business as usual during the crisis and beyond. What we learnt yesterday could very quickly become the new norm, once companies and their employees get used to linking up virtually. Given that executives spend on average twenty-one hours every week in meetings, and that 69% of presenters at those meetings experience technology problems, it’s not unreasonable to assume that remote working will lead to a reduction in inter-personal meetings in the future. It could be a totally changed working environment,” added Ms Downes.
Participants in the webinar were given an overview of the expansive tools that Zoom offers, from being able to host up to 1,000 people at a meeting with each being able to see each other on-screen, guaranteeing focused participation; hosting webinars; the ability to record and transcribe every meeting; integrate all recordings into a mini channel; change the virtual background setting of a meeting to suit the focus of the meeting; do online polls or; have break-outs rooms during meetings and bring back the teams into the main meeting.
“The future will be quite amazing; this technology will make collaboration easier. It may render the need for some physical meetings obsolete; people can still feel connected even at a distance. We saw how, even now, people around the world are using zoom to host classes, keep fit, have wine parties, hold online quizzes and that’s quite apart from work.
“What this webinar taught us is that we need to be prepared for a new world of work and that companies need to start preparing for that scenario now. Companies can deploy this technology now and will be familiar with it when offices open again. They can then review how they hold meetings and if some can be done remotely. There is no time like now to start planning for a different future. A big focus for us as a Chamber will be to do more online training over the next few weeks and months,” added Ms Downes.
Speaking after the webinar, Marcus Doran, general manager with Rahi Systems Europe said: “We were delighted to host this webinar with Shannon Chamber and to give chamber members some insights into the limitless potential of Zoom. We were also delighted with the feedback received from the CEO of one of the biggest systems integrators in China, who sat in on the webinar, that it was ‘the best webinar on Zoom that he had ever watched. Like all companies, Rahi Systems has been forced to adapt and review our business continuity and operational plans. It is a challenging time for everybody, but the remote workforce structure which we have in place has allowed our global workforce to come together and we are even more united in ensuring that we continue to deliver for our customers as we all help each other through these strange and uncertain times.”
Access to the webinar is provided below: