In the past few years, live video technology has reached the mainstream—and stayed there. Facebook has Facebook Live, Twitter has Periscope, Snapchat recently launched their IPO, and YouTube announced an 80% increase in live video views.  For consumers, this increase in live video accessibility has provided great collaborative benefits. For businesses, there is now an exciting opportunity to improve workflow productivity and internal and external communication, as well as engage with millions of customers in an entirely new way. 

With live video becoming increasingly integral to our day-to-day lives, and a new year just around the corner, now is the time for employers to integrate video into the workplace to improve the efficiency of workflows. Not only can video make for a more connected workforce, but also an ‘always on’ one where flexible working is provisioned for. With recent research showing that 86% of employers experience demand for flexible working, there is a clear appetite among the workforce to have access to the tools that allow for this.

As business leaders head into 2018, they can only expect more employee demand for opportunities to work in the ways that suit them best. Cause blockades to workflows or fail to do this, and there could be serious repercussions for employee productivity, retention, and business growth. 

So, what are the two biggest workflow productivity trends to be considered in 2018? 

Improving the Work-Life Balance

Throughout 2017 in the UK, there have been a series of events—such as the disruption at London Waterloo—that have hindered workplace productivity and had a detrimental effect on the workforce. With commuters spending lengthy periods in travel limbo, coupled with an average rail fare increase of 2.3%, 2017 has proven a tricky time for the productivity and the pockets of employees and employers alike. 

2018 is therefore a great opportunity for businesses to refresh and bring resilience to their flexible working policies by provisioning for the flexible or mobile working scenario they will inevitably face. Thanks to modern technology, working remotely is now just as effective as working in the office. 

Young Woman Staring at ComputerWith smartphones, integrated applications, and cloud-based document storing, employees working remotely are at no disadvantage. Whether it’s hosting a conference call, working on a presentation in a ‘live’ document, or getting in touch with a colleague halfway across the globe, issues that once existed are now easily managed thanks to technological advances. Working out of the office has never been easier, and the sooner businesses implement flexible working policies, the sooner they will see an upshift in productivity and employee happiness. 

With nearly 60% of organizations now equipping the majority of their employees with devices to enable remote working, it only makes sense that these employees are given the opportunity to work flexibly. As remote workforces pave the way for a new generation of workers, changing the way businesses operate, companies must adapt quickly or fall behind the pack. And with research having shown that flexible working will be the main demand for most employees by 2020, businesses should act sooner rather than later to stay ahead of the curve.

Developing the Way We Interact

As organizations across the world continue to globalize and more of us are forced into making lengthy—and oftentimes costly—business trips, 2018 also provides a great opportunity to cut back on this harmful travel. According to The New York Times, a round-trip flight from New York to Europe or to San Francisco creates a warming effect equivalent to 2 or 3 tons of carbon dioxide per person. And this doesn't factor in the impact such travel has on the individual having to make the journey. There has never been a more legitimate case for consolidation of unnecessary travel.

Removing the element of face-to-face communication as a way of doing businesses entirely is simply not an option in most circumstances. However, technology is now sophisticated to such a point that the video experience equates to being present in person. By replacing in-person business meetings with video conferencing, companies can dramatically reduce their bottom line and carbon footprint and improve collaboration and understanding in the process. 

The clear-cut environmental impact that live video is having on reducing carbon emissions must not be overlooked, and that’s why platforms such as BlueJeans, which connect individuals and teams worldwide, are so important going forward. In 2017 alone, BlueJeans has reduced travel by over 15.5 billion miles and lowered carbon emissions by a whopping 2.8 million metric tons. We recommend other businesses follow suit. 

A View to the Future 

One criticism of collaboration tools throughout the years has been that they remove the human element of workplace communication. This is why it is so important for businesses to invest in a solution that creates a collaborative environment, which is not just efficient, but one that retains the element of what it is to engage in a face-to-face communication.

With Cisco expecting live video usage to increase by 15-fold by 2021, businesses will increasingly turn to this form of collaborative technology in 2018. It is therefore crucial that employers adapt quickly to ensure they are at the forefront of this new collaborative revolution.

In 2017, BlueJeans has continued our developments in the live video sphere, recently partnering with Dolby to overcome the productivity barriers that poor sound and complexity present. We’ve also collaborated with Facebook to make BlueJeans for Workplace by Facebook generally available. These partnerships have helped our customers achieve high definition live video collaboration and have made streaming live video conferences easier than ever before. As we head into 2018, we will continue to champion the use of live video technology and provide insight on why video collaboration is the most effective and productive form of communication, even beating face-to-face meetings in some cases. 

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