Technology has revolutionized the way we communicate, both at home and at work. But where does video fit into this communication transformation? For business, the answer is simple: its at the heart of the conversation. Video calls used to be the stuff of science fiction along with teleportation and time travel. But meeting on video has now become an everyday feature of many workplaces.
And whilst videoconferencing used to be expensive, hard-to-use technology, restricted to the boardroom and huge corporations, innovations in cloud and video technology mean video is helping to transform whole organizations’ working culture as they discover the power of video.
Everybody can work together, from anywhere in the world
Today, armed with nothing more than a smartphone and an internet connection, anybody can join a professional video meeting in just a couple of clicks. Teams can talk face-to-face, as if working in the same room saving time, money and the hassle of complicated logistical planning.
Virtual meetings open up the stage to new, exciting stakeholders, from international clients to talented job applicants on the other side of the country. And whilst the internet promised the dream of the remote worker, working from anywhere, video meetings and calling through the cloud is actually helping to make it a reality. Now, multiple people in multiple locations can collaborate as it they’re in the same room.
It’s made us go back to the future
Emails made talking to people old fashioned. They had us replacing actual conversations with talking to screens for most of our work day. It was technology that helped us stay in touch, but helped us talk less. Talking to people face-to-face helps boost trust and build personal relationships. Videoconferencing is the face-to-face conversation for the increasingly globalized modern workspace, as it means that even when we want to work with someone on the other side of the world, we can do it with a conversation, not an email thread.
It’s helped increase productivity
Employees have gone truly mobile. According to globalworkplaceanalytics.com, workers at Fortune 1000 companies are not at their desk a huge 50 - 60% of the time, and around 25% of the total US workforce works from home with some kind of frequency, with almost 90% of the workforce expressing a desire to work from home at least some of the time. Of course, this would not have possible on such a large scale before, as email and telephone calls can only get you so far. But video has helped to change that, meaning we can maintain productivity even as people become more distributed.
A whopping 94% of businesses who invest in videoconferencing say it increases their productivity levels as an organization (Wainhouse research). And the effect on productivity is not just about more efficient workflows for staying in touch, it’s also the increased flexibility it offers employees in providing a better work-life and balance, such as being able to skip the rush hour commute sometimes, or reducing the need to travel to meetings.
Indeed some companies have gone the whole way, Automattic, the company behind internet behemoth Wordpress, have recently shut their head office as hardly anyone ever showed up to work. Their team was choosing to work remotely instead, so the company have made the arrangement permanent, with teams relying on chat tools for and video to stay in touch instead.