Given that 80-90% of the U.S. workforce says they’d like to telework at least part time, trends such as decentralized offices, flex work and remote working are here to stay – at least into the near future.
This distribution of the workforce means it’s even more critical for teams to be able to collaborate face-to-face on occasion. Because despite all the tools available (messaging, online project management, file sharing), none of them can entirely replace the ability to see how people react, and to listen to their tone of voice. According to a Highfive ebook, a survey of virtual teams found that 66% felt a sense of isolation and 94% struggled with the inability to read nonverbal cues.
Technology, specifically videoconferencing, can help. In fact, the choices that are available now flatout kick butt, especially compared to the days of the teleconference. (You’ve probably seen this teleconferencing parody video.)
Did you know that the earliest computers capable of videoconferencing weighed 100 pounds? Well, the technology has come a long way since then. (Though we’re sure it’ll be getting even more advanced – virtual reality conferences, anyone?)
Modern platforms offer higher quality video, plug-and-play hardware and more intuitive user interfaces – and they’re often more affordable than legacy systems. The benefits range from better engagement on the part of meeting attendees to fewer distractions as people join the meeting.
As Zoom CEO Eric S. Yuan put it, “using video will not only engage the customers but can also unlock your employees’ inner innovation and productivity, which can only benefit employers.”
With all those benefits waiting to be claimed, why do almost half (41%) of businesses in a recent study still lack the technology to use videoconferencing effectively? There’s a significant gap between what organisations see as a useful tool and the number of businesses who physically have the right technology in place to make use of it.
Here are some of the hurdles:
BYOA (Bring Your Own App) – If employees are comfortable with the consumer video conferencing options they’ve been using at home to talk to friends and family, they might be inclined to use that same technology at work. But programs that aren’t meant for enterprise lack some key features, like the ability to include a large number of people in a conference, and poor or choppy video or audio quality.
Ease of use – The BlueJeans study showed that some of the biggest hurdles to implementing better videoconferencing technology are related to employees’ comfort in using it: 53% reported that they find their company’s video tech hard to use and 26% lack videoconferencing experience altogether.
Different systems don’t play nice together – According to an article by Zoom, the biggest problem with enterprise-level collaboration isn’t a lack of solutions. It’s that companies have too many solutions, none of which meet all their needs or work seamlessly together. (The Zoom article has a funny script outlining how the collaborative tools discussion often plays out.)
So although your company will need to invest some time into finding the right solution – or combination of systems – for your teams’ needs, it’s worth it. The BlueJeans study showed that 59% of those surveyed believe video conferencing has led to increased employee productivity in their business.