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You’ve probably observed it. Millions of people are ditching 9-to-5 brick-and-mortar jobs and flying freely on their own. The taste of freedom isn’t always easy. Because freedom often means working with people distributed across many time zones in a decentralized working environment, you often encounter the problem of logistics. How do you meet? More importantly, where’s the water cooler?
Remote workforces are starting to take the world by storm. In the United States alone, over 70 percent of all small businesses are actually sole proprietorships. This number doesn’t necessarily represent remote workers, but it does show a trend that demonstrates that many people are going out on their own. The linked report also shows that 52 percent of small businesses are home-based. This suggests that there’s a whole lot of remote work going on in the North American economic climate.
As nations around the world become enormous intertwined beehives, we’re missing out on many positive things brought about by corporate environments. One of those is the ability to collaborate and socialize effectively in a cocoon-like state. Butting heads rarely happens over email and fireside chats are extremely infrequent when people are living entire oceans apart. The question that the entire remote workforce ecosystem is forced to answer is: How do we get people who live perhaps a half of a planet apart to collaborate like they would be sitting next to each other?
The answer is simple: use technology to overcome distance.
But this just begs another question: Which technologies are actually going to target this distance issue? We actually need several different solutions working in tandem. Among those are task management applications, CRMs, time management applications, and cloud meetings.
Remote workforces can employ the use of technologies like Zoom to help them imitate the most positive aspects of working in a shoulder-to-shoulder corporate environment without bringing along the baggage of having a “corporate-y” feel to it. Workers like to feel as if though they’re hanging out, and employers like to make sure that they’re actually working.
This seems like a dichotomy, but it isn’t where Zoom comes in. Your meetings are yours. You have the power to turn them into brainstorming sessions, holiday parties or even water coolers. For example, we recently hooked up a screen with an always-on Zoom meeting in our sales office, so when one of our remote sales team wants to chat, they just join the meeting and say “Hi!” to our bullpen. We’ve made our own Zoom water cooler!
Aside from simple video conferencing, Zoom also puts certain tools at your disposal to enhance your collaborative experience. For one, you get screen sharing, and not the fast-food variant you see everywhere. With Zoom you get annotated high-definition screen sharing, whiteboarding on iPads, and the possibility of handing over remote control of your computer to one of up to 100 participants. Also, think of how awesome your face would look in HD. That’s right. Zoom also gives you a reason to justify spending money on that 1080p camera last month.
With Zoom, a PHP programmer in Pakistan can enjoy a light-hearted conversation with your graphic designer in Spain while you sit at a hotel in Australia and share your screen with both of them to demonstrate how you want your new site designed. When properly managed, this kind of laid-back environment can actually be more productive than a corporate white-collar bigwig cubicle labyrinth.
Some point the finger to the recent financial crisis when trying to explain where this explosion in remote workers is coming from. Others say that the advent of the cloud has created this phenomenon. It’s really just a chicken-and-egg dilemma. But whatever the reason, this new frontier is here to stay. It’s up to you how you approach it. As an employer, using software like Zoom will make your life much easier, especially considering that it’s easy-to-use and highly production-oriented. As a remote worker or freelancer, you should try Zoom out and invite your employers or clients to use it. They’ll thank you for it.
It’s time to Zoom. Sign up for Zoom today, for free!