Insights

Video conferencing for better collaboration within a hybrid workforce

Video conferencing is here to stay. It enjoyed an impressive upsurge in popularity through the global pandemic, and in fact it’s still a growth market. A Reportlinker report released in March this year put the 2021 value of the global video conferencing market at $6.03bn, with a predicted rise to $9.43bn by 2026. But why is this the case, when in-person meetings are now viable?

Businesses around the world discovered the value of video conferencing – with its time and travel-budget saving potential, not to mention improved sustainability credentials – when much of the world was locked down. These benefits are still valid for attendees who live or work in geographically distant locations (or those for whom even cutting out a short return journey makes a difference to the productivity of their day). This effect has been heightened by the increase in dispersed workforces since COVID-19 rewrote the conventions around where work gets done.

Video conferencing for the hybrid workforce

According to data from the Office of National Statistics, only around 5% of the pre-pandemic workforce worked from home. This figure rose to almost half during lockdowns, but by May 2022 the proportion had settled down to 14% working exclusively from home, and 24% on a hybrid working schedule. This still translates to a lot of collaborative working via digital means, and that’s before you’ve factored in the number of virtual meetings held between businesses, their partners, and their clients – which has certainly risen since video conferencing was normalised during the COVID-19 pandemic.

It's now become quite the norm for meetings to be hybrid, with in-person and virtual attendance combined, but without the right technology this sort of get-together can leave remote participants at a disadvantage. With no physical presence in the room it can be easier for their contributions to be dismissed, they might not be able to hear what’s going on as clearly as they need to in order to participate fully, and if they disengage because it’s just too tricky to contribute to what’s being discussed, then not only is their valuable input lost but there could be a subsequent impact on employee satisfaction and even on staff retention levels.

So what’s the solution?

Bespoke video conferencing solutions support business objectives

Naturally, there isn’t just one – the right set-up will need to be tailored to the organisation in question in order to properly support its business objectives (and that’s where we come in with our consultative service and brand-agnostic approach). But broadly speaking there are some common aspects that should be considered.

One big consideration is interoperability. For a frictionless virtual meeting experience it’s important that every attendee is able to dial in from wherever they are, with whatever device they have, on whatever operating system, without having to download specific apps. It’s also important that those ‘in the room’ can simply sign in and go, rather than spend time looking for the right cable or adding software.

Giving remote participants equal status

The gold standard of video conferencing is known as telepresence, where each remote participant has a ‘seat at the table’ through a screen set-up that places them on as much of an equal footing to in-person participants as possible, enabling them to interact face-to-face fairly naturally. There are specific variations on this theme which cater for specialist use, such as by educational institutions for lectures and tutorials, as well as for business meetings. The audio and video technology, as well as the screens and furnishings, are chosen according to the physical space in question, budgetary considerations, and any specific functionality that is required.

Video conferencing technology for remote workers

Remote-working employees also benefit from access to the right technology, and this attention to detail also helps ensure they feel valued and keeps them engaged – it also ensures they are able to contribute to the best of their ability when collaborating with colleagues and meeting with clients. We not only offer a service that reimagines meeting rooms to fulfil the needs of the 21st century hybrid meeting, but also to supply the right technology – including devices, AV, lighting, furniture and software – to enable the dispersed workforce to maintain the highest levels of productivity and collaborative working practices.

Of course, while it is possible to treat video conferencing facilities as a discrete project, there are numerous cost and functionality benefits to designing and specifying them as part of a wider hybrid workspace strategy. This is why it is best to engage a specialist with a wide breadth of offering, to ensure that each element of the workspace technology solution dovetails seamlessly and effectively with the rest.

To find out more about our bespoke workspace solutions, and how they can be tailored to support business objectives with the ultimate aim of better resilience, agility, and profitability, talk to our friendly team. Call 020 7240 0800 or use our contact form to get in touch.

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