The Hybrid Workplace: Balancing Zoom and Regulatory Compliance

June 01, 2021by Smarsh

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As the weeks of working from home turned into months, a couple questions were on everyone’s mind: 1) when and how do we go back to work and 2) what happens when we get back to the office?

Eventually, the conversation began to shift to a wholly reimagined model of work; one that isn’t reliant on a centralized office for conducting business. Some employees will continue to work remotely from locations all over the world and some may be ready to return to the office. Most likely, staff will expect the flexibility to do both.

Regulated organizations may have initially been reluctant to embrace this change. But more and more, financial services and other regulated industries are acknowledging the need to adapt. No matter what geographical configuration a company is following on any given day, the show must go on. And internal policies and regulatory obligations still need to be maintained. Fortunately, a hybrid work model can be executed without creating the next compliance gap.

In a poll of webinar attendees, 34% indicated they were using Zoom more than two hours per day on average. An additional 39% indicated usage of more than a few times per week.

Embracing the hybrid work model

Returning to the office has sparked some apprehension for workers. An Envoy study on workplace safety estimates that 77% of office workers are concerned about returning to the workplace due to fears related to the pandemic. Almost half (47%) of respondents said they’d look for a new job if their employer didn’t offer hybrid work, and 40% said they’d take a pay cut if it meant they’d have a flexible work environment.

Many organizations are taking steps to alleviate their employees’ apprehension. According to PWC, financial services firms plan to allow more than half of employees to work from home at least once a week. Zoom Room Product Head Jeff Smith said in a recent webinar that Zoom recognizes that the workplace has changed, and they are working to support a future of location-agnostic work with their technology.

"The need for enablement of a distributed workforce has never been greater. It’s an empowerment of the individual. And companies need to respond to that. People want to work where they want to work now. And they have the tools to do that."

-- Jeff Smith, Zoom Room Product Head

How Zoom is equipping a “work-from-anywhere” future

Zoom is working to scale the user experience while considering the concept of personal space. We’ve all grown accustomed to remote work using our mobile devices and battling our home wifi. Now the challenge becomes how to extend and improve that familiar experience when people return to an office environment — especially if only part-time.

Noted in a study from Gartner Peer Review, “for every one traditional endpoint that is displaced by software-based video conferencing, customers are able to video-enable five more rooms with similar spend.” That statistic is significant. Firms will need to think about how to enable physically distanced spaces in an office, how to equip physically remote employees, or a combination of the two.

Zoom is rolling out a few new tools and technologies to equip a hybrid working environment:

  • Zoom Room Appliances: allowing firms to manage and control all aspects of Zoom rooms via a centralized portal
  • Virtual Receptionist: allowing front desk staff to work from anywhere
  • Hot Desking: helping employees reserve spaces in advance if split between home and office
  • Digital Whiteboarding: evolving capabilities to allow visual collaborative authoring

They are also providing an increasing set of integrations to external applications. This includes unified communications tools, mobile applications and compliance solutions for the preservation and monitoring of content generated across these channels.

How to support remote work and manage compliance

As financial services organizations adopt new technology for business communications, they must ensure their compliance solutions are purpose-built to support those evolutions. Communications content must be captured from many different sources and preserved unaltered with contextual information included. Regulated companies with supervisory obligations should be able to automate the process to reduce human error and make it more efficient for reviewers. In addition to technical capabilities, a compliance technology partner should have a trusted relationship with Zoom and other content providers.

There is no better example than Zoom of how the technology innovation cycle has been suddenly supercharged. Zoom and other collaboration and conferencing solution providers are constantly rolling out new features and capabilities to meet the demands of this moment and the next. Communication technology will continue to move faster and faster — driving demand for updated, automated compliance controls that regulated firms require.

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Smarsh handles information you submit to Smarsh in accordance with its Privacy Policy. By clicking "submit", you consent to Smarsh processing your information and storing it in accordance with the Privacy Policy and agree to receive communications from Smarsh and its third-party partners regarding products and services that may be of interest to you. You may withdraw your consent at any time by emailing privacy@smarsh.com.