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Staying connected in today’s virtual era

Staying connected in today’s virtual era

“We were disconnected physically, but we remained connected virtually and emotionally”

In a year marked by physical distance, masks-to-masks, and self-isolation, finding other ways to connect with friends and family is vitally important. The pandemic is preventing many of us from traveling or getting together in person, and as human beings, we constantly look to socialize and stay connected with our communities. While video conferencing has become central to communicating with colleagues during this time, it also opens the door to staying in touch with loved ones.

Throughout 2020, we saw communities take the definition of connectivity and give it a new twist: group singing sessions on balconies, clapping from the windows, and virtual meetups were some of the ways we stayed connected this year. Video calls replaced meetings, texting on the group chat replaced small talk by the office kitchen, and although we were self-isolating, we were doing it together. Events that we thought cannot happen over technological advancement, did! Virtual family dinners, birthdays, graduations, and even weddings we saw took place over video calls! We were disconnected physically, but we remained connected virtually and emotionally.

As this challenging period comes to an end, there are a few things about staying connected that we learned during the past 12 months: connectivity is about more than mere communication, and technology is only the beginning of connectivity. Connectivity, for many people this year, is maintaining the same level of intimacy and culture, and while technology today helps facilitate connectivity, it is only the beginning and there is always room for improvement.

Ways to sustain connectivity virtually
Several technological platforms helped individuals worldwide stay connected during the previous year. Through these platforms, users were able to revisit old memories by sharing screens, scrolling through digital photo albums, or even dusting off actual photos and showing them off on camera. Anyone feeling nostalgic could also take a trip down memory lane through a one-step process: find a photo of a favorite memory and set it as their virtual background to ignite instant conversation.

Staying connected with work colleagues or classmates was made easy using the various tools available at our disposal. School closures due to Covid-19 have significantly increased educators’ reliance on virtual learning environments and remote working. To get the most out of the abundant technology, business leaders had to ensure that employees felt connected with their managers and coworkers. By focusing on employees’ perspectives and their needs, business leaders view technology through their lens and create processes and structures to ensure that employees feel connected and ‘plugged-in’ with their coworkers. We have observed that even during such difficult circumstances, the speed with which people can shift towards e-learning and remote working without delays and excessive training requirements has been impressive.

The pandemic’s enforced the need for social distancing had a significant impact on the way we communicate and interact. We no longer require face-to-face conversations to ensure effective and personal communication. The world has been through a lot this year, and all of us at Zoom are more grateful than ever for the opportunity to help people connect during these difficult times.

Sam Tayan is the managing director for the Middle East and Africa at Zoom

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