Collaboration platform vendors could benefit from the recent decision by courts in the UK to, at least temporarily, prevent the construction of a third runway at London’s Heathrow Airport. The ban underlines the seriousness with which many governments/countries are beginning to take air quality concerns and the need to become carbon neutral. When people travel, persuading them not to use their cars is one of biggest challenges with public transport often not a viable option. Taxes/bans on (certain types of) car in city centers can help, as can an increase in the number of people working from home.

Less travel, less pollution

However, most environmentalist agree that the long-term solution needs to be a lasting reduction in the number of journeys made by people. Coronavirus, by making it less desirable, and at times impossible, to travel may play a key role in changing people’s behavior patterns when it comes to travelling for work. Looking back to the cancellation of MWC, many of the companies who had planned to attend are now instead organizing web-based conferences to put out the same message. Meanwhile, employees who have been told to stay at home may well start to become more desirous of a (largely) home-based working situation.

Technology making home working easier

Many enterprises have already begun to invest in technology such as web and video conferencing and unified communications to reduce the need for employees to travel. The early diver for this was primarily cost, but the environmental benefits are now front and center for businesses as well. However, businesses will also say that working in the same office as your colleagues is better for collaborative working. Establishing the truth of this belief is challenging, but what is certainly true is that collaboration platforms are evolving to make working together easier for people not located in the same office.

Collaboration platforms are seeing an increased uptake

Collaboration platforms such as Microsoft Teams, Cisco Webex Teams, RingCentral, and Slack are selling at an increasing rate as they provide a way to manage projects and groups of employees and provide the tools for these groups to communicate and share and simultaneously work on documents/spread sheets/presentations.

So, while Coronavirus remains a deeply worrying and tragic situation, it may also become a motivator, alongside and in combination with environmental, economic, and work/life balance concerns, in helping to promote a greener way of working.