Thursday, April 16, 2020

Virtual Space Helping Businesses Evolve

Friends of the Pacific Electric Trail

Photo by Julia M Cameron
The surge in digital conferencing has shot thru the roof over the past few months.  Thousands of businesses are utilizing virtual space technology to keep their employees engaged, stay employed and feel productive by working from the safety of their homes.  For many companies who are scrambling to stay in business during the current “Shelter in Place” mandate, this is the first time many are embracing this technology and keeping their virtual doors open. Many employers are trying to navigate for the first time, a webinar or video conference, and it’s become their virtual life raft. 

How many employers are utilizing the virtual space technology for the first time is too soon to tell, but for those who embraced it might be surprised to learn about the overall efficiency.  Could we finally discover that working from home can be efficient for employers and their staff?  The decreased number of daily commuters has a direct effect on traffic and emissions. It would be interesting for the companies who embraced virtual space technology to share their statistics so that we can put this experience to good use in the future and possibly consider incorporating into best practices.
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For decades, we’ve been encouraged to carpool to work or use public transportation to reduce traffic and air pollution.  Employers offered incentives for staff that participated.  We’ve all heard talk about how more and more of us will be able to work from home, helping to reduce traffic and air pollution.  Employers who already incorporated working in virtual space were positioned for “Business as usual”.  But for many, change is difficult, especially for employers who are unfamiliar with the idea of their staff working from home.  There may even be a cost savings for companies who can reduce office location staff size by reducing the square footage of office space reducing the number of days necessary for staff who work from home to go into the office.

Covid-19 has thrust everyone to “think outside the box.”  As our streets and highways remain eerily empty with millions of us sheltering at home, car insurance companies are doing their part by giving back to their customers with discounts and rebates.  We’re not driving as much, saving the insurance companies money, this is the right thing to do.  There is another segment of the population who are riding bikes because the streets are open and safe. 

“Imagine no smog, imagine clean air, imagine less cars on the road.”    
Photo by VisionPic .net from Pexels

The recent pictures of large metropolitan cities bathed in sunshine and clean air almost feels like a dream.  Imagine what our communities would look like if millions of us could work from home and not have to spend hours commuting daily.  We don’t have to imagine; we saw it in real time this month. The bi-product of “sheltering in place” has resulted in a dramatic reduction of smog caused daily by millions of commuters.  Without millions of commuters emitting carbon pollution by the tons, there is ample, clean fresh air to enjoy.  This alone is a strong argument to incorporate video conferencing into our regular business practices as a regular practice when this pandemic is over.
Friends of the Pacific Electric Trail

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