- Molly Gardner
Worker Data Reinforces Long Term Value of Telepresence Robots
The pandemic inspired (and continues to inspire) people to take a long hard look at their workplace experience: more flexibility, hybrid schedules, flex hours, etc. And numerous studies highlight new findings around worker preferences and the challenges businesses face to satisfy them.
For example, there are as large of chunks of workers who want to be almost entirely remote or in-office vs. those who want a combination. Recent studies (including one from McKinsey shown above) show the general population of workers, who qualify as able to work remotely, is more polarized in their remote vs. in-office mentality than we may assume.
Research results continue to draw conclusions that further reinforce the efficacy of telepresence robots enhancing and enabling the workplace.
Here are a few to highlight:
1. More absolute preferences require more flexible options for remote and in-office workers.
In order for telepresence robots to work, you need a physical space for the robot to live and work with people. And, ideally, someone would be in that space (unless you are using the robot for remote observation purposes).
Strong preferences for either remote or in-office suggest that a 100% remote model will continue to be in the minority. Dynamic, intuitively-designed solutions to connect remote and on-site customers and workers will endure as the way forward, however long the pandemic lasts--and far beyond.
2. Talent retention depends on closing the presence disparity gap.
Satisfying more polarized worker mentalities and preferences drives one of the most important and at-risk success metrics: RETENTION. According to KPMG, talent risk has claimed the top spot on the growth risk chart.
Telepresence robots do more to give remote workers choice and presence in a physical environment, promoting easier, more natural interaction. Feeling a sense of belonging, recognition, and contribution goes a long way toward improving worker satisfaction and buy-in.
3. More remote worker challenges coupled with higher expectations create limitations for static screen video conferencing.
"Zoom fatigue" is real. It has taken over for long commutes as the large day-to-day complaint for many remote workers. Sitting (or standing) at a desk going from one seemingly identical meeting to the next, while convenient, doesn't promote much of an experience for either side of the screen. If workers have a stronger, more defined preference for where they want to work, they are going to expect their companies to offer them more, and better, options for HOW they want to work.
Being able to have more control over their experience and more natural, spontaneous interactions, contributes to overall satisfaction and perceptions around contribution. Telepresence robots solve for some of the primary barriers (below, courtesy of Deloitte) to successful remote work by offering the chance to be active and empowered in the workplace vs. passively looking through a window. This ability promotes focus, connection, and accessible technology for remote users and on-site colleagues.
Options. Presence. Control.
The future of work, from the telepresence perspective, means responding to worker feedback and proving out robots' ability to improve the hybrid workplace.
Simply stated: give people what they want, in a better way.