Face-to-face meetings have always been the preferred communication method for businesses. Activities such as negotiating important deals, collaborating with colleagues, and meeting with staff are usually done in person because it’s productive, efficient, and easier to determine body language. But as companies slash costs for travel, and now that teams are spread across different locations, holding face-to-face meetings have become increasingly challenging.
Enter video conferencing. As one of the more prominent collaboration features offered by Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), video conferencing has many advantages to offer businesses.
With the introduction of VoIP technology, many companies quickly adopted video conferencing as a way to communicate and stay connected. Below are four major benefits that companies and self-employed individuals can reap by using video conferencing solutions.
One of the most obvious benefits of video conferencing (especially for small to mid-sized businesses) is the ability to cut travel costs. Businesses can save at least 30 percent in travel expenses when they use video conferencing instead of in-person meetings. And for small companies still struggling to juggle their cash flow, such cost savings lets them re-invest in their business in other areas.
With vast improvements in call and video quality, on top of its ease of use and availability, today’s video conferencing solutions offered by most VoIP service providers can create an experience that is as close to “being there” as possible (minus the unnecessary travel hassle and expenses).
Cut carbon footprint
Video conferencing is also an excellent solution for companies who want to be environmentally responsible and cut their carbon footprint. By communicating over video instead of traveling to and from the office (whether by car, plane or public transport), businesses can mitigate energy use and thereby reduce their impact on the environment.
Support a dispersed workforce
Having a geographically dispersed team presents many challenges to companies--the primary challenge being lost, slow, or non-existent communications. Although various communication methods (such as email, instant messaging, phone, etc.) are available, these methods are often prone to misunderstanding and confusion because online interactions are bereft of visual and nonverbal cues (which offer insights on what the person on the other end is actually trying to communicate).
When video is applied to conversations, team members can pay more attention to what’s going on. Plus, because they can be seen as well as heard, any misunderstanding or confusion can be addressed quickly. This can help resolve issues and speed up tasks more effectively than emails, voicemails or chats. The result: a better, more efficient and productive workforce.
Improve work-life balance
You might ask, “How can a communication tool like video conferencing help employees achieve that seemingly elusive work-life balance?” For starters, utilizing video conferencing can eliminate the burdensome daily commute which, according to a study, has been associated with employee burnout and an increased risk for various health problems.
Mitigating travel and the ability to work and communicate from virtually anywhere lets employees balance their career and personal priorities, which results in happier and more productive employees. This happiness eventually turns into gratitude towards the company, causing employees to repay the organization they work for by working harder. In fact, a survey by Chinese travel website Ctrip reveals that employees who are allowed to telecommute are more engaged in their jobs and less likely to quit than employees who came into the office.
Given these benefits, it’s clear that video conferencing isn’t just another "nice-to-have" feature for your VoIP phone system. It’s a valuable technology that improves your overall business operations by offering cost savings, reducing our carbon footprint, and increasing employee satisfaction.