For many government employees, one of the biggest challenges of the remote work situation has been to continue effectively delivering on their mission-critical operations.
Virtual environments have become mainstream and indispensable for a variety of use cases, whether it’s large virtual gatherings, training sessions or meetings. It has been a paradigm shift, and if agencies can get it right, virtual environments could play a bigger role than ever even after the current crisis, reducing the need for travel, costs of large physical events, and providing more flexibility and reach.
But what makes a virtual meeting or training effective? To learn more about that, GovLoop spoke with Alistair Lee, Senior Enablement Manager for Adobe Connect, and Peter Ryce, Adobe Connect Product Evangelist. Adobe Connect is a web conferencing solution used for both meetings and training.
They highlighted three key attributes of a virtual environment.
Ordinarily, virtual environments get setup and disappear along with the participants. Every time you hold a meeting, you need to start from scratch.
It is much easier to collaborate when the environment is persistent, that is, when you can set it up just once and use it over and over again. That includes not just the permanent URL, but also the access permissions, room customizations, shared files, content, chat and more — which is a real advantage for people who might have missed a session.
“Instead of thinking of it as a meeting you’re creating for a specific day and time, think of it as an always-available digital room, preserving your content,” Lee said.
Unfortunately, remote work can sometimes leave workers feeling disconnected from one another. Thoughtfully designed virtual environments can solve this with interactive features such as chat or polls. “That’s when we know they’re engaged, when we have their attention,” Lee said of workers. “It’s when they’re not being distracted by everything else on their computers.”
Dynamic virtual environments also make it easier for managers to track how engaged their teams are. These platforms contain engagement dashboards where leaders can see how invested their workers are in presentations. “As a host, if I watch my engagement meter start to decline, it means that I haven’t engaged my audience lately,” Ryce said.
In many virtual environments, the default security setting is just a password. Once people get into the meeting, they have free rein. Adobe Connect takes a different approach by only giving control to the host, who can in turn grant rights to participants. “The guiding principle is least privilege — meeting participants should be able to access only those functions, like turning on their camera, that they specifically need,” said Ryce.
While going into a remote work environment was a learning experience for many people, it was familiar ground for Adobe Connect customers, who have used these virtual environments to meet during presidential elections, major sporting events, and to coordinate response during natural disasters.
Whatever the situation, remote work has demonstrated that a virtual environment is not just a fallback plan, but a valuable option for agencies even in normal working conditions.
This article is an excerpt from GovLoop’s recent report, “CIO Perspectives: A New Vision for the Government Workplace.” Download the full report here.