Maybe you haven’t noticed, but very slowly and gradually a big part of your day-to-day meetings have turned into remote meetings. Since a lot of businesses nowadays are global, teams work together on projects even when they are located in different parts of the world and consequently in different time zones. We’ve gone from face-to-face meetings to videoconference stand-ups, from crowded office buildings to home offices, from local and in-room meeting participants to flexible, remote international teams.
Why would businesses prefer remote over face-to-face?
There are actually quite a number of valid reasons why enterprises make the shift to remote work and virtual or hybrid meeting. It has to do with cost-saving for one. Saving on travel and on hours lost with travel, thus gaining on efficiency and productivity on the work floor in the end. So why not lower costs and facilitate home officing? There is also the trend towards making more conscious, environmental and sustainable choices in business. Reduce travel and the carbon footprint in one go: enterprises today want to be green on all levels. And in addition, HR departments are also very concerned of the well-being of their employees. They set up solutions to prevent burn-out that include reducing stress levels of employees related to commuting, or facilitating a better work-life balance with flexible work hours & locations.
Sometimes the question arises on the engagement of remote workers in meetings. It seems, they are not always relevant, as results from our recent research on the “Future of meetings” show. The vast majority agree that the presence of technology actually makes meetings more engaging. In fact, our findings reveal that large displays, coupled with screen sharing and video, lead to more highly engaged meeting participants. It’s clear that technology has already established a central role in meetings. And this role will increase in importance as younger tech-savvy generations become more prevalent in the workplace and as remote meetings take over the workspace even more.
The future is remote, and filled with video calls
Half of all meetings (53%) today already include remote participants. And this number is more than likely to increase. Over three quarters (77%) state that video will be standard in meetings within the next three years, with India (94%) and China (91%) leading the charge.
Even when having meetings in ‘huddle spaces’ – non-bookable workspaces for small, impromptu meetings – audio conferencing is no longer an acceptable option. Nearly nine in ten (88%) prefer using video over audio in huddle spaces, rising to 93% of Gen Z. Technology is enabling the evolving nature of meetings. Employees are becoming more confident digitally, allowing them to work remotely and use video to collaborate. And the workforce isn’t ready to stop here. We want more.
As the popularity of remote meetings continues to grow, it becomes increasingly crucial for organizations to have a conferencing solution that everyone can work with: a solution that is conducive to enabling meetings that are both efficient and engaging. At the heart of a great conferencing solution is video. And almost everyone in a meeting room brings his or her own camera along with their personal devices – be it in phones, tablets, smart watches and even laptops.
It’s clear that remote meetings today often experience hiccups and that challenges for video conferencing are very real. It’s harder for remote meeting participants in a conference call to follow the meeting and contribute than for those attending in-room (55%). 45% feels less important when joining remotely. 43% feel frustrated or disengaged. Losing connection, difficulties in hearing all participants, waiting time, too much small talk, difficulties with screen sharing, poor video quality or background noise: there are plenty of issues. We’ve all experienced them!
And then the tech problems pop up as well. 44% often give up trying to use the meeting tech and use personal tech instead. Getting the room tech to work, firewalls preventing you to log in, getting peripherals like room cameras and speakers up and running, incompatible technologies and so on.
It's clear that scheduling meetings nowadays is far more complex than booking a room and deciding on a meeting leader, meeting agenda or talking points. Tech, video and meeting tools rule the virtual world. Still, opportunities and challenges to improve and facilitate truly engaging remote team meetings are out there.