CASE STUDY: HOW VIDEO CONFERENCING IS HELPING BUSINESSES THRIVE IN THE COVID PANDEMIC
The coronavirus pandemic is fast restructuring the traditional perspective of how work is done. With an increased need for social distancing (necessitating remote working), video collaboration is helping businesses get their job done fluidly from remote work stations. With enhanced video conferencing, the typical handicaps that come with working out of the office are being speedily eroded.
Effective communication being the bedrock of running businesses with remote staff, digital video collaboration technologies make it possible for dispersed workforces to maintain peak productivity and output by staying massively engaged and closely connected.
Video conferencing brings that vital visual element to remote collaboration. This is one of the closest businesses can get to conventional face-to-face office meetings. Video collaboration has boomed as the global corporate space strives to come to grips with the pandemic, and the idea of full-capacity offices being highly discouraged.
This boom has been enormously reflected in the increased growth (and the consequent surge in customer volume) of video collaboration platforms like Zoom, Slack, and Microsoft Teams. These tools have made remote working a breeze for companies while consolidating the telecommuting culture among employees.
Research has shown that among American workers taking on typical white-collar jobs, 90% of them enjoy telecommuting – even in a part-time capacity. Another 36% state that they would choose the telecommuting option over an option of increased pay.
In this case study, we will explore in detail how digital video collaboration enables businesses to thrive through the pandemic.
Cutting down overhead
Video collaboration is helping businesses to reduce their overheads and keep their budget under control significantly. This is a massive gain for companies trying to heal from the financial wounds of the pandemic.
Businesses have been able to cut down their operational cost typically associated with physical meetings like physical office set-ups and logistic exertions like travel. Companies are better employing these saved overhead costs in more critical avenues like expansion, marketing and development, and capital acquisition.
These businesses have been able to sustain their operations from a distributed workforce running on video conferencing technologies, which can be as cheap as $13 per month (as to hosting).
The implication is that these businesses are spending an average of $150-$250 annually on video collaboration (depending on the volume of participants). This is remarkably cheaper than the costs of physical collaborations or audio conferencing.
Specifically, businesses leveraging video collaboration technologies stand to save as much as 20% of their corporate travel costs. This extends to the typical $2000/employee these businesses save by leveraging virtual communication for teams to work remotely.
Western Sydney University (WSU) has been able to solve such logistics inconveniences by resorting to video conferencing. This university has a capacity of 44,000 students spread across 7 campuses. Therefore, scheduling physical meetings could be quite troublesome due to the sapping need of participants to travel. This wasn't helped by the traffic Western Sydney, which is infamously exasperating.
Holding a meeting—because there's always one or more people needing to travel—and in Western Sydney, traffic can be diabolical." But in a recent instance, we had a person from the medical school who we needed for just five minutes. Driving an hour each way for five minutes wouldn't make much sense. But by video conference, it was like being in the same room.
Nonetheless, this doesn't suggest that video conferencing can entirely replace in-person conferencing. This is because video conferencing doesn't totally measure up to such physical meetings, especially for tangibility. Also, a number of employees enjoy the travel commitments associated with their jobs.
Increases collaboration and connection between teams
Effective collaboration is the lifeblood of any business, especially now in the pandemic era. Companies with robust collaboration infrastructure enjoy charged team morale and embellishing the team's individual strengths.
With the handicaps in logistics being foisted on businesses by the pandemic, it is getting harder to efficiently coordinate schedules for physical collaborations (in terms of in-person meetings). Enterprises are leveraging video collaboration in boosting cost-effective teamwork, without losing the output levels of in-person meetings.
These businesses have been able to replicate the connectivity (mentally and socially) levels that come with physical meetings, consolidating relationships between employees who are forced to work remotely due to the COVID pandemic.
With video conferencing, managers can better measure the engagement of participants by watching out for crucial social metrics like facial reactions in meetings and body language. With such increased engagements, businesses have been able to enjoy faster and more effective collaboration while solidifying trust across the team.
Employees working remotely have found video conferencing exponentially efficient due to enhanced documentation. They have the option of recording meetings for future analysis or sharing across teammates and departments.
Indeed, video collaboration has proven a blessing for these remote employees who would previously have to battle through piles of email threads and conversations (while being interrupted by other emerging responsibilities), losing valuable focus, time, and output.
Employees that need real-time guidance on critical emergencies can promptly request a short video interaction enhanced with real-time instant messaging and screen sharing with managers or teams, getting queries resolved and moving on to other tasks promptly.
This has enormously boosted the productivity of businesses leveraging remote video collaboration. Here is the reason why 90% of remote employees applaud video collaboration for boosting the connection and engagement they enjoy with colleagues.
Magellan Health is one company whose employee collaboration experience is being incredibly enhanced by video conferencing.
According to the CTO, Srini Koushik, CTO for Magellan:
Video conferencing is a real game-changer—and should be the default setting. The entire feel and etiquette of the meeting changes in a video call. Any sense of distance is removed. There's no longer any semblance of "out of sight, out of mind". Participants are less apt to "zone out" or multitask, as they might on an audio conference, and instead maintain "virtual eye contact." This results in superior levels of "of closeness and engagement."
Increased employee job satisfaction
By making the best of video collaboration, employees are enjoying more flexibility and improved work-life balance. This simultaneously amplifies the job satisfaction (employees derive from their roles) and productivity.
It has been found that remote workers who maximize virtual collaboration technologies (such as video conferencing) saw their productivity increase by 13%. This is not out of place as remote workers have higher chances of working 40+ hours working remotely. With the accountability video collaboration brings to remote work, employees are less likely to reduce their tempo or take days off.
Increases customer trust
Businesses are also enjoying consolidated customer relationships, thanks to video conferencing. Indeed, video conferencing introduces more "tangibility" and connectivity to the relationship between the company and its clientele or customers. Such a visual connection is essential at the start of a relationship where trust and credibility are fragile.
It is only natural for customers to trust the business more when they can see and connect with the company visually and consistently, which reasonably compensates for the absence of physical in-person meetings.
The staff of the business now have an improved environment (courtesy of this solidified credibility) to get things done and fewer frivolities on trying to reestablish acquaintance with the customer. This is particularly helpful for departments and customer support.
In sales, face-to-face is important at the beginning of a relationship. And once a client is on board, the goal becomes less "getting to know you" and more a matter of "getting things done.
With video conferencing, it's easy to just put together a call and get face-to-face, making sure customers get their questions and issues addressed. Video personalizes things: They get to know me; I get to know them. Overall, that drives better communication, creates trust and builds stronger relationships.
For all these benefits, businesses are seeing that video collaboration infrastructure is incredibly cheap to maintain. By replacing on-premise video collaboration equipment with cloud-based video conferencing software, the cost of maintenance and optimization on these businesses is enormously reduced as these expenditures are typically transferred to the vendor.
Contemporary video collaboration platforms are so easy to manage. The manager just needs to log into a web-based admin console and add participants, configuring preferences, and accessing usage analytics. This is far simpler when the business utilizes a video collaboration software with a neat and intuitive (centrally managed) UI. This enhances the fluidity of such meetings, cutting down on the burden of frequent troubleshooting.