The modern workplace continues to change as new technologies enter the marketplace and impact the ways we communicate and do business. One of the most impactful technologies of the last decade is video conferencing.
In fact, as much as 90% of the US white-collar workforce say they’d like to telework at least part of the time, and 36% say they’d even choose this option over a pay rise. But the technology isn’t just attractive to employees; 94% of businesses that use video report increased productivity.
In this chapter, we’ll look at five important benefits of video conferencing in the workplace. If your company isn’t already taking advantage of these benefits, you might find that you’re losing your competitive edge. After all, these benefits help in many different areas, from collaboration and flexibility to your company’s bottom line.
Effective collaboration can spread ideas throughout an organisation and allow individual strengths to shine, but it’s often difficult to coordinate schedules for collaborative in-person meetings.
With video conferencing, teams have the flexibility to participate in discussions whether they’re sitting across the table or tuning in from a hotel room across the world.
The technology can also fuel collaboration in other interesting ways. For instance, you can record your meetings for later viewing, which can be shared as you please. A participant might come up with an idea several days later and have the ability to go back and listen to the previous meeting as the new idea is developing.
Instead of holding a conversation via email, which can be interrupted by time and other tasks, people can request a short video conversation and talk through the issue in real-time. These conversations are generally much more productive and conducive to collaboration.
Video conferencing software allows you and your employees to have a much greater degree of flexibility, which is often linked to higher employee retention and more job satisfaction. One New York Times study found that working from home even increased productivity by 13%.
Increased flexibility also allows you to operate in a more agile way, empowering you to make decisions more quickly and get the information you need to stay ahead of your competition. Employees can tune in to meetings when they’re at home, even if they’re on maternity leave or recovering from surgery. If you have employees who have to travel for training or sales, they can still feel connected to the rest of the team back at the office.
Video conferencing has been reported to cut corporate travel costs by up to 20%, which has long been a selling point for software providers. However, selling video conferencing solely as a travel replacement is also problematic for two main reasons:
1. Some employees see travel as a perk of their jobs
2. Video calls are often considered inferior to in-person meetings
Instead, businesses should view teleconferencing as a way to drive productivity overall; not just as a way to cut travel expenses.
As video conferencing technology continues to improve in quality, reliability and affordability, effective communication is now possible across devices and with greater speed.
4. Remote Working
Studies have shown that people working remotely are less likely to become ill and more likely to find satisfaction in their work. That’s great news for workers, but there’s also good news for employers. If more of your employees work from home or other locations, you have less overhead costs to pay for at the office.
Remote working doesn’t have to feel remote anymore, now that video conferencing has become so reliable and easy-to-use. Workers can still stay connected with co-workers at the office even while they work in environments created especially for their own comfort and productivity.
So it’s no surprise that 9 in 10 remote employees say video allows them to feel more connected to their colleagues.
Some of the best workers out there want to have the flexibility to work wherever they want, and you’ll be more likely to attract the best talent if you offer remote working as an option to new employees.
5. Reduced Overheads
Gone are the days when employers had to provide complete office set-ups for each employee, along with break rooms, conference rooms and reception areas. While many larger businesses still operate this way, many businesses are learning that they can be more agile if they construct their work environments around modern technologies like video conferencing.
When you can reduce your overhead costs by cutting down on travel and allowing some employees to work remotely, you have more money available for expansion, capital, marketing, development, or whatever else your company needs to grow.
Clearly, the benefits of video conferencing software can make a difference in many different aspects of your business, and its affordability and ease of use make it an attractive option, whatever your business size.