Why are we so scared to move towards video conferencing in the workplace?Video conferencing, like any relatively new and quickly spreading technology, is meeting some resistance from companies still opting for older forms of communication. Some of the resistance is entirely understandable, coming from thought out concerns that must be addressed prior to making the switch. Most of the pushback, though, is rooted in anxieties that are either inaccurate or inflated. Companies held back by those anxieties are passing up on cost savings and better meeting productivity, so it’s time to dispel some of the perceived obstacles and explore the options. As communication is an intricate affair, it is always going to be fraught with insecurities and uncertainties. Cost of setup, training and user experience concerns are frequently mentioned by businesses holding out, so it’s a multipronged situation.
What’s holding companies back from embracing modern technology?With every new technology, there are always going to be early adopters, and people who fight it all the way. Sometimes, the fight is warranted, as the past is littered with technologies that seem silly in hindsight. Video conferencing, though, is not a doomed-to-fizzle-out trend. It is already a proven piece of tech that is providing major benefits to companies around the world. So, why are some businesses still putting up a fight?
1. It costs money – Yes, video conferencing solutions do come with a significant upfront cost. This is mostly due to equipment purchasing and installation costs, so any bottom line defender might view such investments with skepticism.
However, few businesses have succeeded on saving money alone. Judicious expenditures are what provide growth opportunities for the business, and this is the lens through which video conferencing solutions should be viewed.
Video conferencing solutions are, when properly implemented by a reputable A/V integrator, money saving machines. For one, they are designed to push meetings along quicker, so people remain productive for more time during the day. Video conferencing also allows for clearer communication, so less time is spent asking people to repeat themselves.
The major cost saver, though, is reduction in travel costs. Even with older teleconferencing systems in place, companies are still compelled to send employees out for client or partner meetings. These may take place thousands of miles away, or on another continent altogether. Travel costs add up extremely quickly, but businesses are forced to pay them, because the alternative is no face to face conversation.
That is, unless video conferencing solutions are in place. Video conferencing is a viable alternative to being there in person, and can therefore eliminate much of the travel, and its associated expenses, that businesses face. In short, that initial investment is quickly balanced out with expected savings on the travel end, as well as reduced meeting length.
2. It can be finicky without proper training – Because video conferencing involves the transfer of greater amounts of data, it is more prone to network instability than simple audio calls. Some companies are also worried about configuring the technology and ensuring it plays nice with the rest of the company’s workflow.
This is a legitimate concern, and the main reason it is essential to bring in an experienced A/V integrator to steer the equipment selection and installation processes. The integrator will ensure the equipment is properly integrated into what the business does and configure the video conferencing system so that it doesn’t overwhelm the typical user, while preserving control options for the company’s IT personnel.
Training is an important part of what A/V integrators do. Integrators know that every piece of technology comes with its own pitfalls, especially if it’s not leveraged properly. With this in mind, integrators work with people before the technology is implemented, ensuring they get hands-on time with the equipment to feel it out. By the time an integrator has set the system up, everyone who will use the technology will know how to use it properly and to its fullest potential.
3. It reveals our tightly held vanities – Although no one wants to admit it, plain old vanity is a big reason why people don’t want to appear on camera. Research has conclusively shown that people are less comfortable on camera than they are when addressing people in person, as the feeling of being watched can unsettle some people.
Industry surveys with companies that haven’t adopted video conferencing demonstrate an important bit of psychology. It seems like the biggest hang-up of all is that many people lack confidence in how they look on camera. Of course, these fears are largely irrational, as we’re all our toughest critics. However, there’s no reason to be concerned with appearance.
Those same surveys elicited a comforting piece of information – people don’t care how others look during video conferencing. In fact, the most cited annoyances were universally behavioral. Things like chewing gum, eating on camera or sitting in a position too close or too far away were far more impactful than appearance. Dispense with the stage fright and realize that everyone is there in a professional setting for the greater good of getting the job done.
And there is a positive, even crucial side to appearing on camera. Video conferencing allows meeting members to readily discern the body language of others, and body language is a valuable piece of the communication puzzle. If you’ve ever wondered why people accidentally interrupt each other constantly over the phone, it’s because they can’t see the other person’s body language.
Video conferencing, then, ensures conversation is more organic, more natural and flows smoothly. That not only reduces the time spent talking over each other, it speeds up the conversation, enhances conversation clarity and recall, and helps people build better connections with each other.Video conferencing may pose some challenges to a business, but there’s no reason to fear its arrival. Thousands of companies around the world are already making impressive use of video conferencing, and with an integrator piecing the solution together, any problems can be forecasted and eliminated well in advance.