If a picture is worth a thousand words, what’s the value of a full HD, crystal clear, live video conference? It has to be worth a good few emails, at least!
It’s fair to say that technology is not everyone’s cup of tea. Many small business owners, office managers, event organisers and project managers prefer to keep things simple. However, the benefits of such a simple addition to your office can be profound. Hence, it’s important to recognise when your technological aversion is actually holding your business back.
Video conferencing is a simple and cost-effective solution to many of the problems businesses face. In this article, we’re going to explore some of the benefits of video conferencing. Hopefully, we’ll open your eyes to the everyday challenges it can help you overcome.
Photo by BENJAMIN CHILD
1. A boost in productivity
We constantly hear about the lack of productivity in the British economy, despite the comparatively long hours we work. Making small, accumulative changes, much like the marginal gains in sport, is the key to increasing business productivity.
Compared with a traditional meeting, or an email string that can be easily misconstrued and take valuable time to read and respond to, a video conference allows you to get all the relevant people in the room to tackle a problem head-on. You can organise and schedule meetings in minutes, and participants don’t have to leave the office to attend. There’s also the increased clarity that comes from visual clues like body language and expressions of satisfaction, understanding and concern.
A 2013 survey found that 94 per cent of those who use video conferencing felt the biggest benefit was an increase in productivity and efficiency. Not only can problems be resolved more quickly, but service delivery can also be improved for clients.
2. Reduced costs
Although many businesses actively try to reduce the number of meetings they hold, sometimes they’re essential. However, the costs associated with meetings go further than just lost productivity. For example, travel expenses and the cost of hiring meeting rooms soon add up, particularly when there are numerous attendees.
Low cost is one of the key benefits of video conferencing. All you need is basic video conferencing equipment and you can organise and hold a meeting with anyone in the world. Renting video conferencing equipment is also an excellent way to keep the costs down if cash-flow is tight or you’d rather not foot the bill to buy the technology you’ll need up front.
3. Reach your mobile workers
These days, many businesses place an increased reliance on outsourced and remote workers, as well as letting employees work from home. If your team is scattered around the country or the world, then video conferencing lets you have face-to-face conversations whenever you need to. This not only improves your communication, but it also allows you to make sure your workers are where they’re supposed to be.
This is one of the benefits of video conferencing that can benefit employees as well as employers. Workplace flexibility is one of the most desirable perks of the modern employee. Being able to work remotely can improve the employee’s work/life balance as they spend less time and money commuting. This improves employee loyalty, retention and engagement and reduces levels of absenteeism. It also helps employers attract the best possible staff.
4. More structured meetings
All too often, meetings drag on. Often, they result in no positive action being taken, making them a near waste of time. In fact, the 2017-2018 State of Enterprise Work report found that 57 per cent of people say wasteful meetings are the top productivity killers. One key advantage of video conferencing is the structure the meeting must take. As people are calling from different locations, defined start times and end times need to be agreed upon. This reduces the amount of needless chit-chat and gives more focus to the discussion.
5. Sustained competitive advantage
When combined, all of the benefits of video conferencing provide a competitive advantage for your business. With the right communication system, you can reduce costs, work more productively and communicate more effectively to help your business work smarter.