While Zoom fatigue may be a reality for some, videoconferencing is here to stay, and for the most part, workers are pleased about it. In a recent Leger/Association for Canadian Studies poll, 76% of respondents agreed with the statement that videoconferencing is an excellent alternative to interacting with people. Perhaps even more surprising, 86% of Canadians — and 94% of Quebecers — referred to their videoconferencing experiences as positive.
These stats are echoed in the U.S., where 87% of remote workers says they feel more connected to their teams and process when using videoconferencing. Additionally, businesses are buying in. In 2019 the North American videoconferencing market was valued at US$2,029.8 million, and it is expected to reach US$3,180.3 million by 2027.
Here are 6 reasons why videoconferencing has become a key resource in the modern workplace.
Build Better Business Relationships
Videoconferencing can help you build stronger teams with clear opportunities for real-time collaboration, group decision-making, and discussions. It can help keep a dispersed team connect and in synch and ensure they remain engaged. It is the next best thing to being there. However, videoconferencing can also help develop stronger relationships between individuals outside of teams. For example, it allows better alignment between and among cross-departmental teams working separately toward similar goals.
Overall communication vastly improves with the addition of facial expressions and body language allowed by videoconferencing. Misunderstandings are less likely because participants can gauge reactions and meaning. People also tend to be more alert on a video call — they're on and present, understanding more and feeling heard. In short, you reduce ambiguity and engage your employees.
Videoconferencing can help build the trust and understanding critical to business relationships, whether they're with employees, supervisors, suppliers or customers.
An engaged team is a far more productive team, but the benefits of videoconferencing when it comes to productivity go far beyond engagement. Video conferences are often scheduled for a specific time frame. No one has to get to the meeting location and workers can continue working until the meeting starts and quickly resume their work afterwards. There is also a reduction in related travel time when videoconferences are scheduled instead of face-to-face meetings. Collaboration via email, often interrupted by other tasks and distractions, can be replaced with a quick videoconference putting your workers immediately on the same page.
This kind of enhanced collaboration was, at one time, confined solely to face to face meetings and, in the case of dispersed teams, excessive travel.
Before video conferencing, employers had to schedule meetings weeks in advance and juggle schedules, book flights and accommodation. Now they simply have to provide a link.
The COVID-19 pandemic significantly reduced business travel and opened many business leaders' eyes to the value of videoconferencing. Few in the industry expect business travel to return quickly to pre-pandemic levels, and this is primarily due to how well videoconferencing has performed over the last year. Of course, opting for videoconferencing rather than travel has also produced enormous savings for companies. Amazon, for example, saved over $1 billion over the course of the pandemic on travel. However, there are other cost savings as well.
Videoconferencing eliminates the time and funds wasted on securing venues or setting up meeting rooms. Work from home initiatives also save companies money and enhance work-life balance, but they require videoconferencing to be successful.
The visual clues that improve communication also help videoconferencing improve efficiency. Teams can quickly share and view materials in a way that isn't possible on a conference call. This saves companies valuable time. Groups can also discuss and collaborate far more effectively and efficiently. There also tends to be a tighter focus on a conference call. Meetings are often shorter than in-person meeting, and because they have to log in first, participants usually arrive on time. While in-person meetings might offer some similarities, they can often diverge into a series of side conversations. The focus provided by the structure of a video conference and perhaps the scheduled time seem to keep agendas on track.
With advancements in recording tools, people never have to miss meetings, and supervisors can recover the time they waste on getting people up to speed on a missed meeting. Companies have also employed videoconferencing to recruit, train and support a more dispersed and remote workforce. Geography does not have to be a primary concern in hiring, and instead, companies can focus on hiring the best people for the job, wherever they are located.
Be More Flexible and Adaptable
Videoconferencing allows for a far more agile response to customer queries, and changes to videoconferencing also allow for rapid and timely outreach to all levels of your workforce, whether that is to communicate a new product, a safety concern or perform a quick check-in. Leverage videoconferencing to roll out new products or quickly respond with remedial training when it's required.
Better Employee Satisfaction
Videoconferencing provides flexibility in scheduling and location that isn't possible with in-person conferencing. This enhances work-life balance, as does a reduction in the travel that companies formally expected of certain employees. Your people still attend the meetings they need to participate in without adversely affecting their work-life balance. All of this increases your ability to attract and retain top talent.
The use of videoconferencing continues to expand, and that popularity is fuelling enhanced technologies and capabilities, providing further benefits to the employers who use it.