It’s been a year since we found ourselves in this pandemic, the likes of which this country has not seen in 100 years. A full year in, we could not have predicted the toll the virus would take on our health, our loved ones and even our workplaces.

Our hats go off to all of the frontline workers and the healthcare professionals: We are forever grateful to those who have devoted their time, energy and talent to keep our country safe and well. As frontline workers continue to care for the sick and administer the vaccine with courage and efficiency, America continues on – and so does its work.

It’s hard to believe that it’s been an entire year since nearly every U.S. business received a true shock to the system and moved all feasible operations online. Companies immediately felt the impact of their employees’ productivity while working from home. And much of it wasn’t what they expected…

What Work Gained When the Workplace Changed

While the pandemic robbed us of many choices, it opened up a new world of productivity and efficiency via remote collaboration. As firms quickly shifted to work-from-home, companies delivered their verdicts just as quickly: Working remotely is just as productive, if not more, as in-person work.

With cost savings that are irrefutable, one key learning we’ve taken from our customers over the past year is that – when it comes to remote and hybrid collaboration – there’s no going back. There’s no true business reason to go back. “Work” will never look the same and, quite frankly, most of us don’t want it to.

What We’ve Learned from Our Customers

As evidence, Workstorm certainly saw a change in the types of requests that came our way in 2020. Rather than the questions we typically field – e.g., “How do I convince my team, all located in a physical office, to work from a centralized digital space?” – we heard more frequently from problem solvers looking to improve the ways in which their teams, departments or companies work seamlessly across remote and in-person settings with one another and their clients.

The questions that arose most often:

  • How can we maintain company culture remotely?
  • Is there a way to save my business the time, stress and money that comes from switching between multiple tools?
  • How can I ensure my remote collaboration is secure?

Out of these discussions with customers and prospects, a focus on videoconferencing emerged for our team at Workstorm. Videoconferencing took center stage on Workstorm’s roadmap in 2020 because of its ability to foster more authentic, more human connections.

Even on our platform, built specifically for enterprise collaboration, we’ve significantly enhanced the quality of our videoconferencing systems so they increasingly meet and exceed the way businesses need to use them, both today and in the future. This includes improvements to support low-bandwidth environments, like home offices; the ability to host and attend calls with 200+ participants; access to Workstorm messages and files directly from video calls; and the ability to make and receive calls from anywhere, including desktop, tablet and mobile.

A great collaboration solution needs to do more than allow you to see the other party – it should enable you to run your business more efficiently, as well. That’s why we haven’t stopped at videoconferencing: Our team is also working to make it even simpler to navigate the platform – because saving your teams time while they collaborate ultimately saves you money.

Workstorm continues to take a holistic approach to working together and collaborating remotely. You’ve told us that greater convenience and ease of use matters most to your remote or hybrid business; we focus on the updates and features that will facilitate that quickly and efficiently.

Throughout the pandemic, our clients have relied on us to help foster enhanced communication among their internal teams and deeper collaboration with their clients. We’re continuing to build our technology around the businesses we serve to help them solve their most important problems.

What We’ve Learned from Our Competitors

Our customers often express their frustrations at needing to manage multiple tools that only meet some of their needs. Using multiple platforms to work with others not only wastes money and energy in managing multiple vendor relationships, it also costs money and time switching between platforms. Then there are the security vulnerabilities…

We have always been focused on solving collaboration issues for business – that’s why we built Workstorm. Today, every business needs an efficient and secure space to work. Tools built for Sunday face-to-face calls with Grandma are not meant to power your business meeting, your team dynamics, your remote learning or your virtual summit.

These tools weren’t conceived for the business world: That’s why we’ve seen security and privacy issues rise over the past 12 months. And we can expect them to continue to rise, as hackers and bad actors get smarter than the tools they’re attempting to exploit. This is why our commitment to security and privacy has always been central to the way we do business.

What We Don’t Yet Know

The truth is, we’ve learned over the past year that remote and hybrid work are still in their infancy. There’s a lot to explore, improve and innovate. Just as we did with videoconferencing, secure messaging and file sharing, Workstorm will strive to anticipate and stay ahead of those needs – and work to give you the ability to do more, more securely, in less time.

Although much remains unknown a year into the COVID-19 pandemic, one thing has become crystal clear: Remote and hybrid work are not a passing phase. They are the future of work.