November 10: Read more about our sessions

3:00 p.m. (CET)

Expert Assessment: The Workplace Post-COVID-19

Jeffrey Saunders and Peter Ankerstjerne

The COVID-19 pandemic was a shock that caught many organizations unprepared. It halted ingrained work and travel practices and accelerated many of the trends and transitions — e.g., digital transformation and use of remote work — that we have been discussing for decades overnight.

What are the long-term consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic? As the cover article of the 12 September 2020 Economist argues, “around the world workers, bosses, landlords and governments are trying to work out if the office is obsolete — and are coming to radically different conclusions.” How new ways of working (NWOW) will develop when societies return to normal will depend upon the choices we make NOW and how we adapt TO THE NEW NORMAL post-COVID-19. Peter Ankerstjerne and Jeffrey Saunders will present the key findings from The Expert Assessment The Workplace Post-COVID-19 Study. The presentation will:

  • assess the current challenges and future priorities to get to help organizations prepare for a new future state.
  • help you prepare for the future by harvesting and analyzing the insights of industry leading subject matter experts (SME)

The presentation will cover many topics, including:

  • Technology development & the workplace: A shift towards improving employee digital experience and technologies is expected combined with an increasing investment in AI technologies.
  • Employee well-being & benefits: A significant investment in providing digital tools, equipment and training for remote workers is increasing the level of responsibility and accountability upon employers.
  • Organization & productivity in the workplace: Remote working will enable greater diversity and inclusion efforts. Organizations need to be aware of and address the needs of workers from adversely affected minority communities suffering from lack of access to infrastructure, tools and spaces to work remotely.

4:00 p.m. (CET)

Google Voice: A Smart, Scalable Phone System that’s as Easy as Google Workspace

David Rosenthal and Smita Hashim

As the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Google saw a 30-fold increase in usage of Google Meet. Now, Google Meet serves over three billion minutes of video calls per day. Video is the next best thing to being there in person. And when video isn't possible, voice calls are still the ultimate way to reach people. In this keynote, Smita Hashim and David Rosenthal present Google’s latest innovations to Google Voice and other solutions that will help teams do their best work together, regardless of where they are.

5:00 p.m. (CET)

The Sound and the Fury: How Bad Audio Affects Our Emotional Well-Being in a WFH World

Jesper Kock, Dr. Erica Walker and Joel Beckerman

We’ve all been there: You’re in the middle of an important video call when the speaker’s voice becomes an indecipherable tinny mumble. In a recent survey, 95% responded that their concentration and efficiency suffered due to deficient sound—with 35% reporting frustration or annoyance, leading to diminished confidence or embarrassment. As working from home becomes a more permanent reality for many, we can’t afford to be distracted—or worse—by subpar audio. And the same holds true when we’re back in the office. In this timely and thought-provoking panel, Fast Company and EPOS will discuss the ramifications of bad audio—both on our emotional well-being and your business’s bottom line—and what can be done to address it.

This discussion was a part of Fast Company’s Innovation Festival on October 7, 2020 and co-produced with Fast Company.