Have you ever wondered what your people are doing while they are on a conference call with you? It’s likely that over half of them are eating or making food, sending an email or doing other work. According to a Harvard Business Review article, 47% go to the restroom.
That can all change if you stop conference calls and use video conferencing instead. Read on to learn about all the benefits of video conferencing.
Save Time and Money on Travel
The obvious benefit of video conferencing is that you don’t have to travel to meetings. You attend meetings remotely. The time and money spent traveling to a meeting are better spent on productive work.
This seems obvious but it actually takes a change in mindset to realize how great an advantage this is. You don’t have to think of meetings in the same way.
A video conference can be arranged so easily. You can gather everybody together to solve a client problem, make a business decision or just say thanks at the drop of a hat. You can do this whenever you want to, at minimum inconvenience and cost.
The cost of providing an office to work in is a major business expense. These days you can have dispersed teams working remotely without the overhead of office space. Video conferencing keeps these remote workers connected to their colleagues, team leaders, and their clients.
Employee Engagement and Retention
One of the major demotivators for workers is their commute to the office. The negatives of a regular commute include having to live somewhere that makes a commute viable. Expensive accommodation and travel are effectively a pay cut for these workers.
Commuting is a major reason why people leave their job. With 23% of people across the U.S. leaving their job just because their commute was awful, reducing the need to commute has to be a great way of retaining people.
Video conferencing can make it possible for people to avoid commuting at least for part of their working week. When people aren’t commuting they can spend some of that time with their family or friends and have a better work-life balance. That’s a major contribution to employee engagement.
Meet More Often
Communication is a key business activity. People often complain about there not being enough communication in organizations. One reason there is not more communication is that meetings are an inefficient means of communicating with a team.
Meetings take time to organize. When they do happen, they often lack focus and discussions wander off the point. It’s hard to be efficient without seeming discourteous.
Video conferences have a different set of behavioral norms. It’s possible to get to the point without being unfriendly. This means that meetings are typically shorter and more effective.
If meetings are shorter and more productive you can have meetings more often. They add value rather than detract from the task in hand.
Make Remote Communication More Human
Remote communication can feel less involving than face-to-face communication. A phone conference does not involve eye contact so you lose some aspect of our communication. We add a lot to our verbal communication with facial expressions.
Video conferencing provides not only the facial expressions of the communicator but also of listeners. This helps the person talking to gauge how people are reacting to the message. It’s this feedback that helps the talker to adjust their communication as they talk.
There is often an emotional aspect to communication that doesn’t always communicate with sound only communication. A smile or frown says so much more than words can. An emoji can never substitute for a real grin or surprised expression.
If you have a regular meeting that involves travel and a significant amount of time it can be frustrating when you have key people absent. The inconvenience of traveling or intrusion into a busy schedule can become an excuse for not attending. This excuse is overcome when video conferencing overcomes the inconvenience of the meeting.
Having people attend a meeting means decisions can be made at the meeting. You don’t have to follow up meetings with separate meetings to consult people who were not present. Briefings can be quick, effective, and include everybody you need to be briefed.
It’s possible to record a video conference or briefing for viewing later. This way even non-attenders can review the content of the meeting without having to be separately briefed. this is a great time saver for briefers and team leaders.
More Effective Meetings
A video conference tends to be more structured than many face-to-face meetings. The face-to-face meeting tends to have pre-meeting chit-chat that can delay the meeting. These side conversations can even take place during an undisciplined face-to-face meeting.
Chairing a face-to-face meeting is something of an art form. It needs presence, assertiveness, and skills.
There’s something about the video conference that lends itself to one person hosting the meeting. They can manage an agenda and lead the meeting easily. People tend to be less ill-disciplined than they are in a conventional meeting.
What’s the Main Thing?
In your organization, the “main thing” is not meetings. It’s making things or selling things or something else. Yet, it can feel that your working life is dominated by meetings.
These meetings get in the way of you doing what you are really there for. What you are paid to do is to support the organization to do the “main thing”. Video conferencing can free you up from attending meetings so you can do more of the “main thing” you’re there for.
Hey, Look at This
Have you ever been on a conference call and needed to show the other participants something? It might be a spreadsheet, a product or some other visual aid. You might try sending people an email before the meeting and hope people are looking at the right thing when you refer to it on the conference call.
It’s so much better to be able to hold up something in a video conference and say, “look at this!”. It’s easy to share a spreadsheet and point at a particular cell during a video conference. It’s effective and impactful too.
Many business meetings can take the form of training or coaching. When learning is at the center of a meeting then having all the senses engaged is important.
Visual, as well as auditory cues, are needed to help communication. It also helps to gauge whether learners are “getting it.”
Return on Video Conferencing Investment
The benefits of video conferencing are so many that it is easy to identify a quick return on the investment. Start with travel and time savings to work out when you’ll break even. The rest is a bonus.
Here’s how to get more from your video conferencing.