Conversations about the benefits of video conferencing for businesses often focus around travel — or more specifically, how using video conferencing technology reduces the need for most business travel. Instead of spending thousands of dollars on airfare, hotels, and meals to send employees to meet with clients and vendors, video conferencing allows for “face to face” meetings without the expense and downtime.
However, not all businesses spend a lot on travel, and don’t consider video conferencing technology a worthwhile investment. What they don’t realize is that video conferencing can help even those businesses that operate on an almost exclusively local basis as much as those that have employees jetting off to far-flung locales every week.
In fact, it’s easy to argue that the benefits of video conferencing extend well beyond reduced travel — and when you consider the potential for reduced costs and increased profits, almost every organization can benefit from embracing the technology.
Benefit #1: Faster, More Efficient Hiring
One of the biggest barriers to hiring for many companies are geographical limitations. While urban talent pools tend to be deep, companies in small and midsize markets may have a harder time attracting the best talent. Video conferencing allows companies to expand their reach and removes many of the barriers to building the best team possible. Not only can video open doors to telecommuting, but human resources can conduct video interviews with candidates, removing travel and scheduling logistics. The process moves faster, without sacrificing hiring standards.
Benefit #2: Improved Compliance
If your business is bound to compliance standards such as HIPAA, Sarbanes-Oxley, and others, you are bound to specific employee training and education requirements. Video conferencing not only makes it easier to deliver the necessary education through live conferences, but when you invest in an advanced video conferencing system via your Cisco distributor, you can also implement video on demand for training and encode data that allows you to document training sessions more easily and accurately.
Benefit #3: Faster Decision Making
When you have a team that is spread among different locations, making quick decisions can be difficult. Something that could be solved with a quick conversation can take days when the discussion takes place over email or instant message. Even attempting to have a phone conversation can be a challenge, as stakeholders play phone tag and leave endless voice mails for each other. With videoconferencing, teams can schedule a conversation to make decisions, saving time and frustration.
Benefit #4: Reducing Carbon Footprint
As consumers become more concerned about the environmental impact of their decisions, many seek to do business with companies that make a concerted effort to reduce their carbon footprint and “go green.” Using video conferencing instead of traveling is an important part of such initiatives. And with advanced systems allowing for more efficient sharing of information, on-demand materials, and electronic documentation, video conferencing can go a long way toward reducing the use of resources — and costs.
Benefit #5: A More Professional and Connected Team
According to the Society for Human Resources Management, more than half of all companies allow employees to telecommute at least part time, with many working on almost entirely virtual teams where employees are located around the world. One of the most common images of the telecommuter is the rumpled, unshaven, worker in bunny slippers — and in many cases, it’s not far from the truth. Because many companies rely on old fashioned conference calls, instant messaging, and emails, remote workers aren’t always concerned with their appearance.
Implementing video conferencing all but forces your employees to maintain, to some extent, a professional appearance. No one wants to show up on screen looking like they just rolled out of bed. More importantly, by implementing video into team meetings, workers who might not otherwise put a face to a name or have anything other than cursory interactions build stronger relationships. Something about seeing a real person on the screen, just as you would in an office, helps to support team development and create a more connected staff.
Video conferencing gives your company the benefits of face-to-face communication without the hassles and expense of traveling. However, when you consider the benefits to team building, productivity, compliance, and social capital, it’s clear that video conferencing can do a lot more for your company than keep your best people from having to hang out in airports.