Video conferencing has been part of the foundation of the remote revolution since the beginning. The ability to achieve a reliable and direct link to face-to-face communication between different teams, regardless of geographical locations, proved to be a huge step. That ability gave business owners and managers the world over the confidence to experiment with ever more distributed structures. But was this a perfect solution?
As with most fledgling technological shifts, there were a few teething problems here and there. One issue was that lengthy and unreliable setup periods ahead of each meeting made conferencing a hassle for many participants, while out-of-date hardware on a smaller scale made it difficult to instil a company-wide culture of collaboration.
It was clear that, while video conferencing was providing the support and the basis for countless distributed operations worldwide, there were still significant improvements to be made. More advanced solutions like those offered by Express Virtual Meetings are helping to support this move towards more dynamic and more broadly useful conferencing capabilities with the best video conferencing systems - hardware and software, but there is a more profound, conceptual change taking place - the video conferencing portal.
The way that video conferencing works at the moment is somewhat straightforward: a meeting is scheduled; the different participants set up their hardware and then log into their digital conferencing platform, then the meeting is held when everyone is online.
A video conferencing portal works in much the same way, except the intermediary steps are removed. This is because the portal is an 'always on' solution. The hardware is already in place, and the digital platforms are already logged in. The portal may be a television or a computer screen which sits in the corner of an office, a meeting room, or in any remote workspace. Users need only walk up to the screen, press a button, and they are connected. The result is a process which is significantly more streamlined and reliable than that which went before.
It is easy to see how this could provide a huge benefit to remote teams looking to increase their connection to a central hub, or with management looking to develop a more cohesive strategy across their entire organisation. In short, a ‘always on’ video conferencing solution could represent the future the ever-growing remote and distributed team movement.
Let's take a look at those benefits in a bit more detail.
Video conferencing supports both traditional, scheduled meetings, and more fluid, ad hoc connections which are not pre-planned. Working in Sydney and have a meeting with your Perth/Chicago/Bangkok/Durban offices at 9:45? No problem -- just call in when you are ready. Discussing something over email and need a quick huddle to clarify the details? Easy, just get everyone to gather for a quick video chat. With an 'always on' solution, targets can be hit much more easily.
The logistics getting different teams together at different times is difficult enough, but once differing hardware levels and internet connections are factored in, it can prove a serious headache. Video conferencing eliminates this problem, making it possible to begin the meeting with no delay whatsoever.
Sometimes just knowing that support is there - simply recognising that there is assistance and guidance readily available -- is enough. No one wants to feel that they have been abandoned or have been disconnected from the wider group, and ‘always on’ video conferencing can be highly effective in this regard. When support is required, for whatever reason and of whatever kind, the remote workforce needs simply to access the ‘always on’ video solution, and they will be connected to what they require.
An ongoing challenge of administering an effective remote workforce is bringing the remote components together in a meaningful way. This means not only giving these distributed teams the tools they need to complete their tasks, but also fostering the kind of organisation-wide culture required to really push a business to the next level. Having a direct connection to a central hub, or even just to other teams, is both a genuine and a symbolic point of contact, and will nurture an effective, an efficient, and, above all, a happy culture going forward.
Connection in the workplace is about more than just bringing teams together to collaborate on tasks. There is also a social element. The ‘always on’ video conferencing solution speaks directly to this, providing a space similar to a traditional break room in which personnel can interact, chat, and catch up over synchronised breaks. Of course, this makes teams far more contented within their own roles, but also serves a business function.
Research from MIT found that efficiency in a call centre increased considerably when the centre implemented synchronised breaks. The average time taken to resolve customer problems reduced by 20% among lower performing teams, and by an impressive 8% on average across the board. These metrics do not apply to all businesses, of course, but the increase in efficiency and efficacy on the job is plain to see and is universally applicable.
To learn more about video conferencing solutions for your own remote teams, or about the potential of ‘always on’ video conferencing, get in touch with the Express Virtual Meetings team today.
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