There’s no doubt the pandemic changed the way the typical American business office operates, and in no way is that more clear than the prolific presence of video conferencing. If it seems as if video conferencing is here to stay, you have good instincts — even as pandemic restrictions relax and people go back to working the ways they did before lockdowns and quarantine measures forced them to go remote, video conferencing will continue to be a staple of office life.
Why? Well, the better question might be why not. After all, video conferencing might not be as rewarding as in-person meetings, and for people who feel stressed whenever they have to learn new technology, they can feel a little inconvenient. But in these situations, adapting to new technology is a must for anybody who wants to keep up while running a modern business. After all, if somebody had rejected Alexander Graham Bell’s invention of the telephone just because it was new and difficult to understand, they would have found themselves in a few difficult situations.
Why Is Video Conferencing Here To Stay?
Even if people are working in an office together instead of working remotely, video conferencing options can still be beneficial. Think about these scenarios:
- You have a team member who is out of town but is available to join an important meeting.
- You have a major client on the other side of the country whom you’re trying to serve.
- Everyone on your team has complicated schedules, and it’s hard to find a time when everyone is not out for off-site meetings or appointments.
- An emergency such as a power outage or weather event has forced you to temporarily close your office and send everyone to work remotely.
In all of these situations, a video conference allows you to meet with people who can’t be there in person. Although a phone call might suffice, video conferencing allows you to have much more personal interaction with someone — you’re able to see them face to face, read their expressions, and actually have deeper communication than if you were just hearing their disembodied voice (and they were just hearing yours).
Which leads to probably the most important point that somebody running a business has to ask themselves if a video conference is going to be added to the mix of communication methods: When is a video conference appropriate, and when should you opt for a phone call or an in-person meeting instead?
That’s a question we’ve probably already answered for you. If people are unavailable to meet in person, or if the meeting in person would require inconvenience on the part of anyone involved in the meeting, then do it via video. If back-and-forth discussion is involved on more than two or three talking points, then it’s important to do a video conference instead of a phone call.
Think of a phone call as a quick method for you to simply tell somebody something, not a means of having an extended conversation. In a modern era when video conferencing is so easy to access on your phone or on your laptop, an audio call is quickly becoming outdated.
However, just because a video conference is easy and convenient, that doesn’t mean that it should be abused. Many people put effort into video conferences the same way they do for in-person meetings. You’ve probably heard many people complain about meetings that could have simply been emails — it’s the same with video conferences. They will not be happy if they are invited to a video conference that isn’t productive.
Also, remember that video conferences need to be scheduled — don’t simply pick up your phone and try to FaceTime a colleague. This is just as inconvenient as dropping by their office unannounced.
Here are a few other important points to consider as video conferencing becomes more mainstream:
- Most video conferencing apps are comparable in terms of their quality and their capabilities but bear in mind that more obscure platforms may require meeting invitees to download a new app — something they won’t be too keen to do. At this point, most people have Zoom and many have Microsoft Teams. Webex Meetings can be accessed straight from your internet browser and doesn’t require anything to be downloaded.
- Video conferencing is much more secure than other websites and apps, so you don’t have to worry about anyone hacking into your meeting or listening in when they shouldn’t be. You have the protection of encryption to block them.
- In most situations, the camera and microphone on your computer are sufficient for the needs of an everyday meeting. However, if you do frequent meetings and you want to up the level of professionalism, make the investment in headphones, microphone, a lens attachment, and a ring light to improve the quality of your meeting.