Why Managers Should Embrace Videoconferencing
Among office workers, there’s a complaint so common that it borders on cliche:
“This meeting should have been an email.”
For all the different contexts it’s used in, what always drives this message is frustration over time management. It represents employees wanting to just do their job, not get pulled from their desks to hear information that could be given in a more streamlined way.
Or, as we frequently saw happen, they could also be handled over videoconferencing.
And as businesses operating in a world that’s increasingly dominated by smart work, the distinct benefits of this medium (particularly for all those employees who can’t stand sitting through in-person conferences) cannot afford to go overlooked.
The Merits of Remote (Video) Meetings
The fact that videoconferencing was put into use at all — rather than communicating solely over email — speaks to the importance managers see in meetings
Those considerations are reasonable, of course. Managers argue that emails often just get lost in the inbox; that hearing information spoken aloud will stick better; that bringing the whole team together builds unity; that it’s important to let employees ask questions or offer ideas.
Videoconferencing brings all these advantages to the table. In this medium, too, employees get that sense of presence and spoken communication. They still get to provide input.
And more amazing still, with web conferencing, workers experience those benefits entirely from the comfort of home.
In a sense, videoconferencing forms a middle ground between holding meetings and “just sending an email”; it gives employees a more convenient, less invasive way to attend a meeting, while giving managers all the usual impact of a conference.
A Smart Future
Taking all that into account, managers shouldn’t assume workers will simply give up that means of communication even though they’re increasingly heading back to the office.
Per an IBM survey, a whopping 75% of American smart workers want to continue working from home at least part of the time. Meanwhile, Gallup reports that 55% of managers plan to allow employees to continue working from home once quarantine restrictions are lifted.
Based on those two figures alone, it’s safe to say that smart work is here to stay. So as important as it is to use a work-from-home policy to attract talent, it’s also likely that not having one will mean falling behind in talent acquisition.
Of course, for videoconferencing to be a truly viable alternative to in-person meetings, the system it runs on has to be secure, highly connective and totally user-friendly. Even then, it’d be absurd to say that video should replace every in-person meeting from now until the end of time.
Rather, the point is simply that even as staff are eager to meet up with their coworkers again, they’re going to be less and less likely to feel they should be in the office every day of the work week — even for those meetings managers say must happen in person.
Because now, if employees are dragged into the office no matter what, we may very well hear them say, “This meeting should have been a videoconference.”
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