Every day it seems a new collaboration tool promises to make team work faster, easier, and more productive. The tools best positioned to deliver on those promises are developed with mindful attention to consumer adoption and workplace trends. In the webcast How to Make the Video Conference User Experience Exceptionally Easy, Nathan Yang, Senior Director of Design at Polycom, presents three trends that are impacting the development of collaboration tools in the workplace.

Emerging Application Trends

The consumerization of technology continues to have a significant impact on what tools users are comfortable using in the enterprise. For example, app usage is expanding beyond Facebook to apps like Snapchat and Periscope, which enable live video broadcasting and sharing of images. As a result, video collaboration and image sharing are becoming more socially acceptable. “As people become more comfortable with these types of tools and they become more common, the idea of video muting in an enterprise environment might start disappearing,” Yang says.

Team Composition

With collaboration increasingly serving as a competitive differentiator, researchers are looking for ways to build better teams. One study performed by Carnegie Mellon, MIT, and Union College, found that in good teams, members spoke in roughly the same proportions and had high average social sensitivity. These folks were also “skilled at intuiting how others felt based on their tone of voice, their expressions, and other nonverbal cues.”

The study also found that the concept of psychological safety points to particular norms that are vital to team success. For a team to flourish, there must be interpersonal trust and mutual respect between team members so that everyone is comfortable being themselves. These findings point to the need for team members to make an emotional connection with each other, which can most effectively be achieved when they can hear and see each other during collaboration sessions and team meetings.

Emotional Culture

Pundits agree that we are in the midst of a fourth Industrial Revolution that is disrupting business models as well as labor markets. As knowledge worker jobs become automated, the skillsets workers need will shift. Greater emphasis will be placed on creativity and emotional intelligence as robots take on data-driven decision making.

The emotional culture in the workplace, therefore, will take on increasing importance. According to the Harvard Business Review, “Cognitive culture is often conveyed verbally, whereas emotional culture tends to be conveyed through nonverbal cues such as body language and facial expression.”

To get the most value out of their knowledge workers, companies will need to foster an emotional culture. This will require tools that enable people to easily communicate through nonverbal cues.

Together, these three trends point to the need for enterprise tools that enable relationships. Especially in their personal lives, people are seeking tools that help them connect with others. As they grow increasingly accustomed to connecting over video, for example, they’ll come to expect similar tools in the workplace. Companies that respond accordingly will, in turn, benefit from stronger teams and emotional cultures.

To learn more about workspace trends and how to make the video conference user experience exceptionally easy, watch this webcast.