C L A R I T I

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Digital workplace tools

Due to the pandemic, the business communications landscape has changed drastically over the last few years. Ever since the lockdown forced the entire world into remote working, online meeting usage has soared.

A report from TrustRadius shows that buyer activity in web and video conferencing services increased by 500% since the pandemic began. The demand for virtual meeting tools accelerated throughout 2020 and it is expected to continue into 2022. The video conferencing market is expected to hit $13.8 billion by 2023.

Most of the virtual meeting room platforms are easy to host and all they needed is an internet connection. Anyone within the same city or across the globe can access online meeting tools through a browser. Most online meeting tools have a video and audio component, making them a perfect and cheaper alternative for face-to-face meetings.

Free online meeting platforms help hybrid and remote teams communicate and collaborate in real-time, fostering productivity, team collaboration, and morale. Online meeting software has benefits other than just communicating in real-time. This includes file sharing, screen sharing, and calendaring.

This provides an overall better experience to those looking to collaborate from anywhere and anytime. Apart from these, most online meeting tools integrate seamlessly with other productivity apps, bringing additional time saving and ease of use.

Different ways to save money

The main reason companies are using online meetings is that they are budget-friendly. Research shows that even if a company allows its employees to work from home just half the time, it could save on average $11,000 per year. Besides, employees would personally save between $2,000 and $7,000 a year on work-related and transportation costs. Let’s see how much companies can save money by embracing online meeting platforms.

1. Saving on real estate

With effective online meetings, no one misses out on the proximity and productivity of in-person meetings. Online virtual conferences provide accessibility for all employees to engage with clients and colleagues from any location. In virtual discussions, since the attendees can join from anywhere, distance is not an obstacle. Besides, the participants don’t need a physical office space.

Many established businesses have already enjoyed savings due to telecommuting. If most of the team is working from home, there is no need to pay expensive rent for office premises. IBM saved $50 million in real estate costs by allowing employees to work remotely.

According to Capgemini Research Institute, 88% of organizations have realized real-estate cost savings with remote working in the last three to four months and 92% expect savings in the next two to three years.

2. Save on travel & hotel expenses.

When employees travel for meetings, training and other business events, companies incur huge expenses on hotel accommodation, flight tickets, car rentals, food etc. This cost may grow exponentially when more executives travel to different countries. Businesses can hold meetings with both internal and external stakeholders through virtual meeting room platforms by just clicking a meeting link without requiring all of them to be in the same room. Online meetings can help companies to control and decrease meeting costs by bringing everyone together virtually, eliminating the need to travel.

A study shows that video conferencing can reduce travel costs by up to 30% and the need for business travel by 47%. Another study points out that full-time remote working saves 2-3 weeks a year, taking into account travel and commuting times. Less travel means more savings on flights, accommodation, food, and catering; whatever money that is saved can be reinvested back into the business.

3. Save on operational costs

Besides executives’ travel, companies incur money on daily operational costs like utilities, materials, office supplies etc. For multi-national companies, the cost of interoffice calling, faxing, email and other data transport between offices may account for half of annual communication costs. But when the team starts using an online meeting tool all their voice, video, data, and other communications will be on the network and the company will be able to eliminate all additional costs.

4. Phone bill reduction

International phone calls are exorbitantly costly. But when the team uses online meeting tools, they can make unlimited audio/video calls with a browser and a good internet connection.

5. Reduced hardware costs

With an online meeting tool, there is no need to spend on hardware like meetings rooms, projectors, monitors, VoIP PBX phone systems, cameras etc. With a cloud-based online meeting application, you simply connect the laptop to an internet connection. Once done, you’re ready to go.

6. Built-in advanced features

There is no need to spend more on video conferencing, group calls, call recording, screen sharing, missed call notification, call notes and other productivity features. All these are already part of the online meeting tools.

7. No IT staff requirements

Online meeting tools are cloud-based and the software vendor maintains the technology. There is no need for in house IT staff for upgrades and other support needs.

Other benefits of online meeting tools

Online meeting tools change the way teams work such as telecommuting hybrid and remote working. This positively impacts the bottom lines of companies using them.

a. Higher productivity

When companies allow their employees to telecommute, it increases employee satisfaction and productivity and reduce turnover. A study revealed that employees authorized to work from home worked for longer hours and increased productivity. According to Connect Solutions, 23% of those who telecommute are willing to work longer hours and 52% less likely to take time off when working remotely. When companies allow employees to telecommute, it results in higher productivity. All this means more money for the companies.

b. Higher employee retention

Many studies have demonstrated that working from home gives employee’s flexibility and work-life balance, resulting in better employee retention. Having a flexible working environment helps companies to retain and attract the best talent. When companies can keep their best talent, they can reduce the need for new recruitment, which is costly and time-consuming.

c. Save on payroll costs

A recent survey reveals that most employees are willing to take a pay cut in exchange for work from home option. Companies can offer work from home option as a reward instead of a pay raise for their best performers. This way, companies can save money and increase productivity simultaneously without increasing the payroll cost.

d. Less absenteeism

Flexible scheduling allows teammates to take care of their obligations that would otherwise have resulted in taking time off from work. Numerous studies have shown that a flexible work schedule allows employees to exercise and take care of their health so that there are fewer chances for absenteeism due to illness or sickness. Less absenteeism means more working days and more productivity and revenue for the company.

e. Eliminate unnecessary meetings

Most face-to-face meetings require venue selection, meeting preparation, sending meeting invites, planning, meeting minutes circulation, etc. All these take up everybody’s time. Face-to-face meetings can become unproductive since it is easy to get off track. Online meetings are better structured with documented agendas. Besides, some participants can skip meetings and listen to recorded sessions if they were going to attend for information purposes only. Online meetings free up time that can be used for other productive work.

Conclusion

Though face-to-face meetings have their own merits, they are not necessary all the time. Online meeting tools are now ubiquitous. They have all the security protocols in place and are designed to be intuitive, ensuring safety, security and convenience for all the team’s day-to-day communications.

With online meetings there is no to wait for days or weeks to get all the participants together. In these days of remote and hybrid work, online meetings allow teams to communicate and collaborate in real-time, fostering productivity, employee participation, and morale in the most cost-effective manner.

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