In business, companies are always looking for ways to drive down operational costs. So why aren’t more businesses adopting video conferencing solutions as a part of their communications infrastructure?
The Video Conferencing Advantage
According to eWeek, results of a Polycom survey showed that more than 90 percent of companies that use video conferencing in order to improve communication and enhance collaboration between and among their teams enjoy a number of benefits. These benefits commonly include higher levels of productivity, stronger professional bonds that lead to better teamwork and cost-savings in travel and travel-related expenses, to name just a few. All these have a positive impact on the company’s bottom line in a major way.
Aside from this, survey results also demonstrated that 80 percent of the participants believe that the savings they incurred were primarily because the technology accelerated their business-decision process and made greater employee work/life balance possible.
Productivity Results of the Ctrip Experiment
In Harvard Business Review’s “To Raise Productivity, Let More Employees Work from Home,” founders of Ctrip, a Chinese travel site, allowed a number of its call center agents to work from home for a nine month stretch. Half of the staff ended up telecommuting while the rest stayed on for their 9 to 5 schedules to make sure a control group was in place.
When the ninth month mark came along, results and survey information pointed to the fact that at-home employees displayed higher job satisfaction levels. Attrition was at half the rate compared to office employees. What founders found surprising about the results was the leap in productivity: at-home employees were pulling off calls by more than 13.5 percent than their office counterparts. Also, as a result of the nine month experiment, the company was able to save as much as $1900 for every at home employee they had.
- According to the HBR article, the productivity gain could be attributed to 2 things:
Environment with fewer distractions. This meant that employees had fewer distractions to deal with. The quieter environment made it possible for them to work and process calls faster.
- Longer work hours. Since at-home staff didn’t have to commute or run outside to grab a meal come lunch time, they were able to focus more on their tasks, enjoyed shorter breaks and worked from sun-up to sun-down.
Based on the results of the Ctrip experiment, telecommuting opportunities seem to offer both employees and companies a significant number of benefits. In line with that, the ZDNET study also revealed that more than 79 percent of current employees want to be given the chance to be able to work from home a day or two a week.
The Telecommuting Workforce
In “6 Ways HR Can Benefit from Video Conferencing” from the Cisco Blog, the article discusses ways through which companies and employees resolve telecommuting hurdles through video conferencing solutions. These include:
- Attract talent. 78 percent of Millennial staff say they want to work for a company that has an innovative approach towards its employees, meaning those who use nontraditional perks, like work-from-home opportunities to hire talent.
- Shorter hiring times. Use of video conferencing has allowed HR teams to process applications faster through online web interviews.
- Cost per hire savings. The shorter the process, the less time wasted and the more dollars the company saves.
- Higher employee engagement. Remote employees feel more connected through the face-to-face interaction possible through video conferencing systems.
Slow Adoption of the Technology
Given the almost quantum leap in productivity possible and the obvious benefits that businesses and their employees could enjoy, it’s a surprise that adoption of the technology remains slow. Here are a few possible reasons for that, based on eWeek’s “Video Conferencing Still Underused by Businesses:”
- Complicated to use. There’s an enduring perception, one that video conferencing is tough to use and hard to understand, or implement. This tends to sway companies away from the technology, preferring to use traditional methods to communicate and collaborate.
- Limited availability. Few companies are rolling out the technology. So while familiarity might induce a lot of management teams out there to give it a shot, the lack of consistent, hands-on experience with the technology prevents long-term adoption.
Easy and Simple to Use
Fortunately, a lot of companies are changing the game. Service providers are becoming more adept at knowing and delivering what the market wants. More features, sharp video resolution and a better user experience, all available through a low-cost solution.
For instance, for an online web conference, Blue Jeans is one of the most popular brands out there. By offering online web conferencing with face-to-face interaction, the service has succeeded in boosting collaboration and communication in meetings. With simple and easy-to-use services like this, users are more likely to sit up and notice. That and as more and more of the world’s businesses become globally competitive, the idea of being able to use every possible advantage out there to get ahead should drive businesses to start exploring the use of video conferencing technologies to boost growth and achieve long-term success.