There’s no debate that remote work and hybrid work are here to stay, and as companies learn to adapt to this new way of operating, they’ve been on a constant search to find the best, most innovative tools to help facilitate the transition.
Several businesses have found telepresence robots to be extremely effective at improving their remote or hybrid work performance. While robotics has long been utilized to help various industries achieve amazing results, their abilities as a communication tool have often gone overlooked. However, when the pandemic forced employees to work from home, it became all too apparent how valuable it is to have telepresence for remote work.
With that, let’s take a look at how companies are using telepresence for remote work, and learn exactly why they are loving this state-of-the-art technology as they navigate this new normal.
1. Freedom for Meeting Engagement & Ownership
A staple of the office setting across all industries, you’d almost think that meetings could be used as a synonym for business. Whether it’s for a company-wide formal presentation or just a quick stand-up in the morning to hash out the day’s tasks, meetings give employees the opportunity to learn, be seen, and align goals with their fellow team members.
When these meetings shift to a video call, it’s easy for remote employees to lose a bit of agency. Their screen is fixed on a singular location, dependent on someone on-site to move the computer or camera in order to see a different spot, which can make the remote worker feel like an odd man out.
A telepresence robot can give that employee what standard video calls cannot: freedom. Freedom to move, look, and interact with those in the room however they see fit. Our Ohmni telepresence robot features a full-tilting neck and total mobility, giving users 360°, floor-to-ceiling views — all at the control of their fingertips.
In tandem with the above, employee engagement is vital to the success of a business. The more ownership of the work an employee is afforded, the more effort, care, and dedication they will bring to it. Removing employees from the office could diminish that sense of independence, leading to a less-than-enthusiastic approach to the work and, ultimately, a subpar final result.
However, by giving team members the option to use a telepresence robot, you’re encouraging them to feel more connected to the work and have their presence be felt as they interact with co-workers on projects. This not only leads to greater productivity and accountability, but also increases employee happiness and improves work-life balance.
2. Save Time with Telepresence for Remote Work
For as much as we may wish it were different, the reality is that humans can only be in one location at a time — at least, physically. With the help of a telepresence robot, however, you can virtually be anywhere at any time. This is especially effective for companies that have off-site facilities, such as manufacturing firms, which require frequent inspections and quality control checks of machinery.
Instead of having to travel to the location, a telepresence robot can be stationed there, giving management the ability to easily visit whenever they desire. This solution can save significant time, allowing teams to maintain focus on other tasks that would otherwise be lost while commuting. As a plus, should there be an emergency, the robot provides an immediate set of eyes on the ground to assess the situation.
3. Enhanced Guest Experience
For all types of business, welcoming outsiders into the office is an important part of building external partnerships. But if key personnel are not working in the office — either temporarily or permanently — the reception can feel a bit lukewarm.
Being able to include all team members at a welcoming event can have a major impact on a guest’s opinion of the company. For example, when clients visit the Gore Innovation Center in Silicon Valley, they’re always treated to a tour of the robust facility. With the shift to remote work in recent years, the team now employs an Ohmni telepresence robot so those outside the office can join in as they explore the building.
Beyond just the practical business purposes, introducing guests to a robot can be quite the icebreaker, one that will leave a lasting impression and, potentially, lead them to tell others about the company that’s using technology in such a cool way.
4. Camaraderie Building
While the actual work is the focal point of any business, there are other aspects of the office setting that, while perhaps unnoticed, play a crucial role in building company culture. Think about walking by someone’s cubicle or popping into a team member’s office to quickly discuss non-work-related topics — the outcome of last night’s sporting event or an upcoming concert that everyone is excited about. These organic, nuanced moments aren’t as easily accomplished when the only interaction remote workers have with those in-office is during scheduled video meetings. As one Ohmni robot user noted, “People underestimate how much communicative inertia exists in an office setting.”
Telepresence robots, being fully mobile, have the ability to give this back to a team with remote employees. Those utilizing the robot are able to, say, virtually eat lunch together, or even run (drive?) down to the break room for a quick coffee. And, similar to the guest experience, the fact that they’re using a robot to do all this can act as a social lubricant, spurring conversation and solidifying team cohesiveness through more-casual exchanges.
5. The Next New Normal is Telepresence Robots
Two years ago, moving to video calls was a necessity, so we jumped right in and welcomed the disruption. Now that technology has provided the next step, all we have to do is jump once more. By making telepresence robots an integral part of the office environment, businesses can show that they’re committed to operating in this new style of work. The technology will demonstrate to employees that their desired flexibility will be honored and that the company itself will continue to find innovative ways to improve, optimize, and grow — both their business and the culture it produces.
Conclusion – Telepresence for Remote Work
No one expected such a sharp pivot to remote work, nor did they expect robots to ease the transition, but as you can see, telepresence robots can play an integral role in making these new remote environments successful. Giving employees the accommodations they desire doesn’t have to come at a cost of lost productivity or erosion of company culture. In fact, by utilizing this unique technology in your business, both of those areas can continue to grow and even thrive like never before.