The primary job of a management role in any organization is to communicate effectively. It doesn’t matter what department you are talking about: Sales, HR, Operations, R&D or any other. Every aspect of an organization requires management and coordination to come together.
In the United States, there is a business culture that values body language, eye contact, and face to face presence. However, there is always an imperative to increase productivity. In the modern age of globalization and the internet, there are going to be team members that are physically far from one another but nevertheless need to work as one functional remote team.
This means there needs to be a cultural shift that’s more compatible with remote work, where the face interaction that we’re used to happens in online conference rooms.
Video communication with modern video conference tools is efficient when compared to physical meetings. Physical meetings require a lot of investment to make work well – and even then, the video conferencing tools support things that physical meetings don’t do as well.
Try sharing a CAD file in person, or, more importantly, try showing multiple people a physical problem you are working on.
These are things that video conferencing can accomplish quickly and efficiently what physical meetings would take weeks to resolve.
Video conferencing is the superior method of delivering expert technical support and planning.
Corporate culture will shift at the same rate as technological adoption. When new tools and technologies become available, business culture accepts it. This is a process of adaptation, not a forced one. Though it can be planned.
Planning out how your organization will adopt a new revolutionary technology can take out a lot of the growing pains associated with having a shift take place.
Some of those ever-increasing pains include:
Your people are going to use a helter-skelter mashup of video conferencing solutions if you do not take pre-emptive action and make a standardized choice.
You want to avoid that happening for a number of reasons. Still, one key reason is exposing your company’s intellectual property. In some extreme cases, if a technician or engineer uses the wrong service to connect to someone else and talk about sensitive information, that could count as public disclosure.
There could be legal ramifications, and could also make your company liable to the Terms of Service agreements of these services that your people will almost inevitably use in order to get their jobs done.
It’s better to talk to a specialized software service representative and get your own purpose-built software to use uniformly.
With software that you can truly call your own, you are providing top-of-the-line tech solutions to problems you know your personnel will have. They can adopt at their individual rate as they naturally see fit.
You’re also not exposing yourself to the future headaches that would follow any inaction to not plan this inevitable cultural shift into the age of digital communication.
The short answer is: yes and no.
While there is inherent value in being physically present for essential communications, there are always pros and cons associated with any comparison.
High-quality online meetings are surprisingly really good at retaining people’s attention in meeting rooms. People are more or less trained to look at screens more than they are to look at faces these days. Chances are the last time you’ve been in a physical meeting room, at least one person was distracted by a screen. Maybe it was even you.
You can’t blame people for that. So much more information comes from screens that we’ve all adapted to pay extra attention to them. So when your meeting attendees are on display, there’s a good chance that people may actually pay more attention to them than the other people physically in the room.
That being said, a con that comes with telepresence is that it doesn’t seem as sincere as an actual physical presence. Most managers are much more hesitant to shift their high-level salespeople to video calling clients as opposed to scheduling face to face meetings – and maybe they’re not wrong for doing that in some situations.
But for internal reasons of efficiency, video communication wins out almost every time. There’s just more digital freedom with video calls than there is with awkwardly having to draw out your ideas on scrap paper or whiteboards.
HR functions and training benefit hugely from video and media tools to help them learn. The cost of having a manager physically show you a procedure is significant, and the reality is that it often takes many times for employees to entirely grasp how to do their work.
Live streaming tools enable you to almost trivially distribute training content to your entire team, and that easily converts into video media that even future employees can refer to as many times as they want.
One of the main markets for video conferencing and online collaboration software is the higher learning and university market. So these same tools fit right in beautifully with internal training for organizations.
While video conferencing may not be a total replacement for face to face communications, it is another vital tool in your organization’s tool-belt that helps you thrive and will significantly increase your productivity in the 21st century.
The cultural reality is that there will be a shift to incorporate these kinds of tools in your communications, and it’s better to have a plan to adapt to this than to not take any action about it.