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The Zoom boom: How the Coronavirus crisis has shown business location is irrelevant

FROM business meetings, lessons and webinars to social gatherings, birthdays and gigs, many of our social interactions now take place virtually – on platforms like Zoom, Google Hangouts and GoToMeeting.

Just two months into Lockdown, Zoom’s traffic alone has leapt from 10 million daily users to more than 200 million.

However for years, video conference calls have lurked in the background in offices across the globe, largely ignored in favour of the faceless conference call.

But times have changed and as a result the way we do business has changed forever.

With forced home working, isolation and an increased need for human interaction, video calls have not only become the norm, we’ve even started to enjoy them….

Google hangouts – an experience that had always felt like a poor substitute to a face-to-face meeting – is now a daily window into a world beyond our own.

We can see our teams, laugh with our clients and talk to our families. The world has become smaller and more connected.

Carving out a new existence during Covid-19 has been challenging – but video conferencing technology has supported us in staying connected to each other and helps keep our businesses working.

And the shift will remain long after lockdown is over – banishing both geographical boundaries and barriers to business.

In the future these tools will take on a more important role in daily life.

We’ve all been forced to get comfortable using video conferencing technology – our change in circumstance has made us practice using something to the point that it has become a habit.

Even meeting invites have changed. Where there was once a list of telephone numbers for every imaginable country with a passcode to get in, there is now just a single button to press to join a video call.

Here at Democracy, we’ve always been an agency that refused to be defined by geographical location.

We pitch for national client accounts based on the expertise we can offer against the brief and regularly succeed because of our sector experience and credentials.

We work with clients in London, Scotland, North Wales and the South and also have clients with European head offices.

Whilst we’ve always placed a lot of stock on the relationships we cultivate with our clients, we’ve also harnessed technology to bolster these connections with Zoom monthly meetings and regular video calls.

There’s no doubt that video conferencing helped the agency get business done and made the location of our office almost irrelevant.

That said, one of the reasons it’s working so well for us now may be because of the time we spent on face-to-face comms in the lead up to this crisis.

Our client and colleague relationships are strong, and remain strong, but how long can a remote relationship be maintained without any real life contact?

I know we will look back on lockdown with perspective and I hope the positive practices we’ve acquired will remain with us.

We will go on to use video conferencing much more freely, confidently and habitually in our daily lives.

And while business location has definitely become far less relevant, I for one am looking forward to returning to the days where I can socialise with my clients and colleagues in the real world – not just virtually.

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