Transitioning to Video Conferencing. Here are Handy Things to Know

tabletIn 2013, Scoop reported about the following results of a Polycom survey:

User Age:

90 percent of video conferencing users were between the ages of 20 to 30, which puts them squarely in the millennial age bracket or those born between the years 1982 to 2004, according to The Atlantic.

Weekly Use:

Among key decision-makers, about 76 percent already relied on video conferencing at work in a big way. 56 percent of video conferencing users also said they tend to use the tool at least once every week. That number climbs when you factor in respondents from Brazil, India, and Singapore. More than two-thirds of respondents from all three countries said they used the technology at least once a week, making it a part of their communication infrastructure.

Preferred Communication Tool:

About 52 percent of business leaders expected video conferencing to be the norm within the next three years, developing into their most widely preferred means of communication and collaboration within the given time frame.

Top 3 Advantages:

Respondents who were already using video conferencing, on the other hand, ranked the best advantages of video conferencing. Improved collaboration between geographically dispersed teams topped the list with 54 percent using the video conferencing to reach out to offsite teams. Communication clarity followed behind with 45 percent. With big names like Blue Jeans offering Polycom video conferencing features that include great acoustics and HD clarity, blurriness and a wobbly sound environment were out. Efficient meetings rounded up the top three with 44 percent saying the tool has improved the quality of their meetings.

What Makes Meetings Ideal:

69 percent of respondents believe clarity or the ability to hear everyone was the most desirable quality in a video meeting while 60 percent said ease of use was also important and 58 percent of respondents added that having clear eye contact with everyone in the meeting also made a video meeting ideal.

What Makes Meetings Fail:

We all know how distracting mobile phones can be. 58 percent said they were distracted by mobile phones going off in the middle of a meeting while 52 percent said they minded it a lot when people took the meetings in less than professional settings—store, in transit, bathrooms, etc. Multitasking was also on the list, with 51 percent of respondents saying people who were typing or doing something else while the video meeting was going on was pretty much another source of distraction while 50 percent cited inappropriate background noises as disruptive.

Transitioning to Video Conferencing

Video conferencing has made it possible for companies to provide flexible work environments to employees with telecommuting or work-from-home opportunities. If you’re already thinking about implementing this at work, take a look at these helpful reminders from Better Businesses on how to make the transition easy for you and your team:

  1. Build a strong rapport. Work on creating a strong professional relationship with your team. That’ll be an important element when you start managing offsite employees or staff. Excellent rapport improves employee commitment and engagement, which is crucial when you’ve got geographically dispersed teams on board.
  2. Provide the tools. Everyone on the team should have access to the same equipment, of the same quality. Check to make sure everyone has the necessary programs and platforms installed as well.
  3. Set a schedule. If you’ve got a lot of remote employees, the best practice is to set a common window. Three to four hours every day will do it. That will give you and the rest of the team time to tackle and resolve any issues, with everyone present and accounted for so you could move forward with faster and better decisions.
  4. Give clear guidelines. Talk to your team about what you expect from them. Want to keep the meetings professional? Remind them to present a professional appearance during the video meetings. Want to lessen disruptions? Tell your team to limit video calls to professional-looking spaces. And if you want to track their performance from home, require them to use log-in software or to send weekly progress reports to keep you in the loop.
  5. Talk about pets. In many cases, pets present a common distraction. However, it depends on what kind of video meetings you’ve got in your calendar. For colleagues using video conferencing to catch up or shoot the breeze, this isn’t an issue. However, if your video conferencing sessions include client meetings where you and your team are presenting to a potential investor or pitching a campaign to other departments, you might want to make sure everyone on your team shows only their best, professional side. And that includes keeping the pets well out of camera range.

By setting these guidelines, you’re telling your team what you expect from them in terms of behavior, conduct, and performance. With the transition coming, it’s a great way to ensure that, as a team, you’re all on the same page.

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