I received an email last week telling me about Poly’s (formerly Plantronics and Polycom) latest virtual event, introducing its study on the market. The report, dubbed “Hybrid Working: Creating the ‘Next Normal’ in Work Practices, Spaces and Culture,” was made to “highlight the shift in focus from place of work to purpose of work as businesses redesign operations and reinvent ways of working in response to COVID-19.”It piqued my interest immediately, but I felt as if I could nearly make predictions for what this would tell the AV community: Yes, the place in which you work is important because who can focus on work when you’re not in an ergonomic setting? BUT — does that ergonomic environment have to be in an office? We’ve been in the midst of a pandemic for going on five (?) months now, and the vast majority of us (save for AV installers/integrators) have been working from home. I can tell you that a good work space can be set up just about anywhere given it’s a distraction-free environment.Obviously, companies are seeing that this type of work-from-home, Zoom-calls-to-check-in-and-make-sure-nobody-is-watching-“Friends”-on-HBO-Max-all-day method can work! So, are your CEOs going to rush you back to the office post-COVID when they can save money by keeping you at the house without risking productivity? Probably not, folks!Be that as it may, I see the purpose of Poly’s report. Without solid numbers from a study to back up my findings (gleaned entirely from personal experience) above, it’s just speculation. Speculation isn’t what drives an industry forward, and it also isn’t what supports company-wide decisions. However, a study will.So, without further ado, here’s a little bit about the nitty-gritty numbers and what I learned from Poly’s virtual event that helped break this down a little bit.What even is a workplace?Darrius Jones, EVP of strategy marketing and innovation and acting CMO of Poly, began the event by talking a little about some of the new perspectives Poly gained from this study.“Whether you’re a factory worker or in the office, everyone’s definition of the workplace has changed,” Jones said.But when it comes to working from home, change isn’t necessarily a bad thing — as long as it’s not making workers unproductive.Note the whole 74% of CFOs are into permanently moving to this working-from-home thing, distractions and all. But — the way to best navigate those distractions is by reinventing, responding and redesigning work-from-home culture. More on that later.Jones mentioned how he has struggled with building an ergonomic, functional workplace at his home. He said he knows it’s hard — and mentioned that his kids complained that he would always take his calls on speakerphone, and that they could hear every word.Basically, the moral of the story: Distractions exist when we work from home. It’s one of the biggest problems. But is it worth giving up the flexibility remote workers have right now?“Whether I have a cold or COVID-19, I should have that same flexibility,” said Jones.Not that I would be trying to work if I (Steph) had COVID, but I get his point. If someone calls me in a tizzy over something at work, I should have the flexibility and opportunity to help from home if I’m not feeling my best! No need to potentially infect a whole office of people.Mastering the environment (how????)What we have learned so far: Working from home is working a lot better than people thought it would. Company higher-ups are considering making this a permanent change even after the pandemic runs its course. But how can tech, and specifically AV tech, help?“Tech is going to give people the confidence to do what they need to do no matter where they’re at,” Jones said.He paused for a moment to discuss ways that we are not taking advantage of what’s available to us. He first pinpointed that, when on a Zoom or other video call, it’s important to actually be on video. Why? In his personal experience, Jones has found his messaging was more effective when people could actually see what he was saying.But on the other hand, it’s difficult to incentivize people to get excited about more virtual meetings. The fatigue is real.How we rectify that, Jones added, is by shifting the culture and by “bringing people in from disparate workforces in meaningful ways.”So, next question: What will the new environment look like?According to this part of the study, contributed by Sarah Susanka of Susanka Studios, the new environment looks like a hybrid of working from home but with memberships to things like co-working spaces and satellite offices for use when needed. Of course, there are exceptions to the rule, but companies are overwhelmingly seeing how smoothly operations can go even as work mostly takes place from the comfort of people’s homes.Hybrid working can take many forms, though, so it can be best thought of as an umbrella term. See the below:Things that will be ~trending~ in the next yearEvery great market report comes with not only hard data but also predictions gleaned from said data. Poly’s report concludes with a few trends we may expect to see from this shift to hybrid working over the next year.These are the pockets that Poly argues are going to change the game when it comes to building technology to fit this new workforce. Is our industry doomed? No. In AV, every great product starts with a problem that needs technology to solve it. And the above are the problems: not-great audiovisual quality from our laptops, huddle rooms that weren’t created with today’s health regulations in mind, shared office solutions that require touch and products that don’t learn our habits and respond to them. The solutions to these problems are going to include the AV products that push us forward.Here is a link to Poly’s full study, in case my high points weren’t good enough for you.
Share on Facebook Email New research published in the journal Computers in Human Behavior has uncovered the major reasons people use the online photo- and video-sharing service Instagram.The study, by Pavica Sheldon and Katherine Bryant of the University of Alabama in Huntsville, uncovered new motives for social media use that had not been identified in previous research. “As it is, we have learned that the reasons for using Instagram are somewhat unique and different from the reasons for using Facebook and other social media sites,” the researchers said.The study of 239 college students found four main motives for Instagram use, which the researchers labelled as “Surveillance/Knowledge about others,” “Documentation,” “Coolness,” and “Creativity.” Pinterest LinkedIn Share Share on Twitter Surveillance/Knowledge about others: The most influential motivation the participants reported was using Instagram to interact with their friends, keep track of other people’s activities, and see what other people share. A host of information about a person, including their relationship status and number of friends, can be discovered with a quick scroll through their posts.Documentation: The participants also used Instagram to depict their life through photos, remember special events, share their activities with others, document the world around them, and to commemorate an event. The researchers noted that Instagram can act “as a kind of virtual photo album for many people.”Coolness: Instagram is also used to enhance a person’s social status. The participants reported using Instagram to look cool, self-promote, and provide “visual status updates” for their friends.Creativity: The least influential motivation the participants reported was using Instagram to create art and display photography skills.Previous studies had identified surveillance and coolness as reasons for using social networking websites like Facebook and Twitter, but not documentation and creativity.Sheldon and Bryant also found that narcissism influenced Instagram use. Narcissists have an over-inflated sense of importance and demand admiration from others. Researchers believe social networking sites appeal to narcissists because it gives them the ability to completely control how they are presented to others.The researchers found narcissism was related to using Instagram to appear cool and for surveillance. “Narcissists can post and manipulate specific photos to make themselves and their lives appear to be a certain way,” Sheldon and Bryant explained.The researchers also discovered three other factors that influenced Instagram use. Those with a higher level of interpersonal interaction, meaning they often spend time communicating with friends and family, were more likely to use Instagram for surveillance, creativity, and coolness. Those who participated in more social activities were more likely to use Instagram for documentation. People who were more satisfied were less likely to use Instagram to appear cool.
The Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) on Friday handed down consequential orders stipulating that the Cabinet must resign and call fresh elections within three months of its June 18, 2019 ruling that the No-Confidence Motion, brought by the Leader of the Opposition against APNU/AFC Government, was validly passed.While the Court stayed away from setting specific dates, President Justice Adrian Saunders emphasised that the key players, such as the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM), the President, and by extension the Government, are obligated to “exercise their responsibilities with integrity”. In its ruling, the CCJ made it clear that since the passage of the No-Confidence Motion against the Government on December 21, 2018, the Government should have complied with the provisions of the Constitution, i.e., to resign and call elections. This meant that general elections should have already been held by March 21, 2019; unless there was an extension by two-thirds of the elected members of the National Assembly.As was stated by Justice Saunders— and we repeat for emphasis sake— the Constitution is clear as to the actions that must be followed after a no-confidence vote. Article 106 (6) of the Constitution states: “The Cabinet including the President shall resign if the Government is defeated by the vote of a majority of all the elected members of the National Assembly on a vote of confidence”.With the Government’s defeat, the next steps in Clause 7 of Article 106 goes on to state that “Notwithstanding its defeat, the Government shall remain in office and shall hold an election within three months, or such longer period as the National Assembly shall by resolution supported by no less than two-thirds of the votes of all the elected members of the National Assembly determine, and shall resign after the President takes the oath of office following the election”.It is well known that the Government did not follow these provisions. Instead, there were a series of actions in the Courts which brought the matters surrounding the NCM to a pause. However, Justice Saunders made it clear that this was no longer the case as of June 18, 2019 – when the CCJ declared that the No-Confidence Motion was indeed validly passed. From that period, according to the CCJ, “the tenure of Government in office is on a different footing”, meaning by convention, the Government is expected to behave as a “caretaker”.However, over the past few weeks, we have seen the Government in full defiant mode. For example, the Minister of Finance is pushing ahead with planning the next national budget, ministers are signing major contracts/ agreements, ministers are proposing to amend and introduce new legislation and a host of other acts which are outside of the normal practices of a Government which should have been in a “caretaker” mode.Certainly, the status quo cannot remain as per normal and the business of the Government cannot continue as if nothing happened. The fact remains that the Government was defeated in a confidence vote and, therefore, does not have the same power it enjoyed prior to the vote being passed. If it wants to carry on as a full-fledged Government, it must get a renewed mandate from the electorate.So far, the nation has witnessed several attempts by the Government to delay going to the polls. No doubt, in its fight to hold firm to political power, the APNU/AFC coalition has lost credibility and support.We also have taken note of the APNU/AFC officials and the Government-nominated GECOM Commissioners advancing their case for House-to-House registration in order to arrive at a new voters list. This, we are convinced, is unnecessary at this point in time. As stated by many stakeholders, there are certain steps that could be taken to cleanse the list, i.e., to ensure that those who have died or migrated are taken off the list and those who would have reached the age to vote are registered and allowed to vote. This could be done within the shortest possible time which would then allow GECOM to be in a position to run-off elections within three months.We have also taken note of the attempts by certain individuals to frustrate the process to name a GECOM Chairperson. What could have been a simple, straightforward process to bring the matter to finalisation is now being dragged out unnecessarily.We believe that in order to find a solution to the current political crisis, there is need for a great deal of maturity from our political leaders, starting with the leader of the APNU/AFC coalition, David Granger, to abide by the Constitution which he swore to uphold when he took the reins of power back in March 2015.The CCJ rulings and subsequent consequential orders are clear. It is now up to the key players, mainly the Government, to show that they are serious about abiding the Court’s ruling and the Constitution in general.