8 Reasons Videoconferencing Wins Over Face-to-Face Meetings

Marie Christine Umali

Aug 26 2020

The world is rapidly and drastically changing. Whether the change is because of natural disasters, unforeseen biological threats, or just a result of technological advancements, the way people are doing business and communicating with each other has evolved in more ways than we can imagine. Driven by the need to get more things done over a short period, people resort to different kinds of media and contextual forms of communication that bring more productivity and more profit. Gone are the days when conversations are reserved for face-to-face meetings and phone calls. People want the “here and now” approach that yields the best results.

With the pandemic still looming and pushing in a new normal that most of us weren’t prepared for, businesses, regardless of size, were forced to adopt instant, on-demand communications to stay competitive, grow and globalize. Global catastrophe or not, today’s workforce is embracing video conferencing. Companies have started standardizing work-from-home policies because decision-makers realized that online meetings are necessary rather than a “nice-to-have.” As cloud-based communications and collaboration applications providers like Grasshopper and Gotowebinar emerge, companies recognize that these tools are unlocking the same level of productivity, from remote teams vs. in-office employees, if not more.

According to Grand Review Research, such demand has brought video conferencing to its all-time high record of $3.85 billion in revenue in 2019. According to research conducted by Globe News Wire, the industry expects it to surpass 20B by 2024. With people unlocking more functionality and realizing effectiveness and efficiency than ever before, we are expecting the videoconferencing market to grow further with a rate of 9.9% compound annual group from 2020 to 2027. Not surprisingly, the global remote workforce has increased by 140% between the years 2005 and 2019, and with the COVID-19 phenomenon hitting the world, such number will undoubtedly grow further in leaps and bounds.

So what is this videoconferencing tool that almost every household with the internet is using these days? And what advantages does it have compared to in-person meetings? If you haven’t adopted video conferencing yet, here are some advantaged that might compel you to consider using videoconferencing tools.

1) Saving Money

One of the most significant benefits of online collaboration is the cost. It brings your remote team a simple way to meet face-to-face without the high costs associated with employee travel which covers, plane tickets, hotel lodging, per diem food allowances, taxes, representations, and other transportation fees. Unlike the Jurassic days wherein to have a dynamic and fully-functional videoconferencing session, you need to purchase new equipment, with today’s web conferencing providers such as GoToMeeting or Pexip, you can already use existing hardware, usually your laptop, desktop or mobile devices. Videoconferencing gives a collaborative “in-person” experience. This tool captures facial expressions, and since remote workers are more comfortable working in their domains, they can contribute to the discussion better. This power to meet virtually allows companies to hire the best talents regardless of where they live, cancels out expatriate fees and living expenses, usually coming at a hefty cost. With videoconferencing, people can join forces with just a tap of a button and with very little or no fees, saving companies as much as 30% on travel costs yearly. Now that’s huge!

2) Saving Time

Almost everyone would agree that meetings are not much fun, yet companies see them as necessary to manage a group and keep the company alive. But exactly how much time do we spend in meetings? It’s a scary picture. In the US alone, people spend around 15% of their time in meetings where middle managers spend 35% of their time, and upper executives as high as 50%. A whopping 11 million meeting happening daily on average and the funny part is that most in-person meetings are unproductive, with most people daydreaming on meetings with discussions usually dominated by one of two people. Such shows that time spent together does not always guarantee that work is getting done. Meetings carry a high degree of friction because it is very tedious and time-consuming to schedule and get all people in one place at the same time.

That does not even consider the amount of time spent prepping for a meeting or getting to one. On average, people need an hour to get from one place to another, and another hour and a half to get back. That’s three hours spent on the road doing absolutely NOTHING.

With videoconferencing, people can meet virtually anywhere, anytime, saving you travel time. Unlike face-to-face meetings, people are more conscious of how much time will be spent on conference calls, so meetings are leaner because they are timed and eliminates the need for chit-chats. They usually start and end on time because the social norms push people to get down to business. Face-to-face meetings are not the only thing online meetings has an advantage over. Instead of back and forth emails to resolve issues, a quick video call can get teams on the same page and complete tasks faster. As long as there are bandwidth and a mobile device, meetings can go on.

3) Flexibility and Productivity

People can get more jobs done because people eliminate travel time and other nuances associated with face-to-face meetings. Online meetings save time because people are less likely to run late or get sidetracked along the way. Attendees are more prompt because they have fewer excuses not to be on time. They need to log onto the web conferencing software, and that’s it. Going virtual allows conferences to start anytime, giving everyone time to go back to work. With videoconferencing, people can share their screens and presentations instantaneously, annotate, discuss issues and decide right then and there so people can finish pending tasks and move on to new ones.

4) More Ideas & In-Depth Discussion

Another benefit of videoconferencing over in-person meetings is that people receive undivided attention. It’s easier for moderators to see who’s inattentive because he has a linear and clear view of everyone. When people are on camera, they are more conscious, so they are less likely to get distracted by their phones or other work, which makes them more in tune with what’s happening during the meeting. And it also helps that they know that hosts customarily record sessions, so what the host might have missed during the conference will see when he reviews the call. Most employees will not risk being caught falling asleep or fidgeting on her phone.

Online meetings, especially if skillfully moderated, can more easily subvert status hierarchies than face-to-face gatherings. Videoconferencing is linear, so there is no head of the table. Everyone present has access to the chat features of the call. There is also less demonstration of authority. More people seem to feel more empowered to speak up because we eliminate physical intimidation.

Because of this, people are more engaged in the call. They are forced to get creative juices out and pitch into the discussion. When people are more “in the zone,” they contribute more ideas and insights, making the discussion more dynamic, perceptive, and fruitful. As a result, companies get more from employees – WIN!

5) Increased Work-Life Balance

With the demands of today’s competitive landscape, companies cannot afford to be complacent. However, most companies forget that people aren’t machines. The daily grind can cause a lot of physical, emotional, and mental strain on workers. But with online collaboration in place of in-person meetings, in a remote work setup, people can get to work at the comforts of home. They do not need to rush to get into the next train or wake up during the wee hours of the morning. Working in a relaxed environment makes people flourish, and videoconferencing allows that.

6) Safety (During COVID-19)

Videoconferencing breaks physical and distance barriers. It allows us to be productive, collaborative, and present even if we can’t make it on-premise. With COVID-19 still having no cure, companies can always do business as usual without risking safety. People can have meetings, do online training, inspect inventory, get on with quality control measures, and meet clients without needing to leave their homes. Video calls have this unique ability to virtually bring the perks of face-to-face communication without losing human connection, accuracy, precision, and personalization.

7) Streamlined Collaboration

One-on-one personal meetings are typically verbal, and in the case of a personal boardroom meeting, the host is usually the only one who has that power to share files and presentations. On the other hand, in an online meeting, everyone who is present in the call has that capability. The host can transfer the hosting to another person and allow him to share content. With in-person meetings, there is always a need for a second meeting or a third for companies to finalize vs. virtual meetings where you can use collaboration tools such as screen sharing and real-time document editing, among others, to be able to examine, review and edit files on the spot. Given the fast pace of conversations and our fallibility, its easier to lose details, but with videoconferencing software that lets us record, as well as transcribe meetings, we can preserve the details and access them when the need arises, keeping everyone on the same page.

8) Builds Relationships

They say the reason face-to-face communications are better than online is because of personal connections. But with online meetings, you get the same verbal and non-verbal cues as you would an in-person, which is key to establishing trust. It can bridge that gap absent in audio-conferencing. In one study, 98% of respondents affirmed that videoconferencing has helped them build business and personal relationships, making it a critical tool for success. Virtual meetings have become the foundation for enabling today’s digital workforce. It maintains human connections irrespective of geographical location, which speeds up decision-making and improves global collaboration capability.

In Conclusion

There you have it, our short-list of the many advantages of virtual meetings over its face-to-face counterpart. Since today’s workforce prioritizes flexibility, mobility, and productivity, and with COVID still very much in our midst, the tangible advantages of utilizing virtual meetings can no longer be denied. Overall, videoconferencing is a critical tool that businesses should use if they want to be on their A-game, pandemic, or without.

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