Remote working is on the rise and, according to figures from the TUC1, there are already 1.6 million people in the UK working from locations other than a fixed company office. This is driven partly by advances in technology and improvements in broadband internet connectivity2, and partly by benefits such as boosts to productivity3 and generally happier staff.
However, one concern that businesses and managers have with remote workers is that the lack of face-to-face communication and interaction may affect their employee’s ability to do their job. Such apprehensions are reasonable, but they are also easily dealt with by the implementation of video conferencing technology. This has proven advantages over voice communication alone, in addition to supporting the benefits of remote working in general.
Let your body talk
A key advantage of video conferencing is that it allows for participants to see and use body language to help convey meaning. There have been many studies into the importance of non-verbal communication, including one oft-misquoted ‘rule’ that only 7%4 of communication is down to the actual words spoken. There is also data that suggests video conferencing performs 30%5 better than voice-only communication in terms of the ability to hear and be heard and to participate effectively.
However you interpret the research, most would agree that body language is an important element of communication and one that allows staff to glean greater understanding from meeting participants, in addition to feeling more connected to them.
Quicker and easier
Another benefit of video conferencing is that it’s much more immediate. Rather than trying to arrange for everyone to be in the same location at the same time, you can simply schedule meetings based on availability, no matter where in the world people are. This reduces delays and the potential of cancelled meetings owing to travel issues.
And talking of travel, video conferencing is a great way to save money, reducing expenses claims for mileage and even air travel. There are added benefits of reduced travel too, such as supporting a Corporate Social Responsibility policy for responsible travel, and it can even help to reduce stress. In a report on the health impacts of commuting by the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH)6, 55% said they felt more stressed as a result of their commute.