Over the last two years, the entire world was pushed into the virtual world by the pandemic. This meant that companies worldwide had to look for alternatives to replace their physical locations and face-to-face meetings. This brought about a huge shift to virtual meetings.
Of course, though the pandemic didn’t create virtual meetings, it drove its popularity in a short time. Due to travel restrictions business travel fell to an all-time low during this period. But many experts are predicting that this change might become permanent due to the convenience and cost savings from virtual meetings. A recent report on hybrid workplace trends revealed that only a third of business travelers expect to return to the same level of air travel as before the coronavirus pandemic.
Now with things edging back to normalcy, the big question to ask is: Will the virtual meetings slowly wane away or diminish in number over time? Well, the answer is ‘NO’. The entire world has seen the real benefits of virtual meetings. They offer a host of advantages that face-to-face meetings simply cannot offer. Online virtual meeting etiquette ideas are indispensable in the virtual world. Please read on to find out what makes virtual meetings indispensable.
In online meetings, you don’t have to travel or visit new venues. There is no commute, no planning, no lost hours of work. You don’t have to compete with your colleagues to book meetings slots. Attendees can be added at a moment’s notice and once the meeting is over, you and your colleagues can effortlessly return to work.
When you have something to be discussed with your team you can communicate right away. Online meetings can be scheduled very quickly and there is no need for participants to travel to join a meeting. There’s no need to gather all participants in one place.
Physical presence creates dependency, and you may have to reschedule your meetings multiple times if somebody is unavailable. Therefore, online meetings enjoy better attendance than an in-person meeting. Online meetings are linked to calendars which makes it easy for attendees to remember and join the meeting on the said date and time.
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 the equivalent of 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.
The best part of virtual meetings is the attendees can join from anywhere and distance is not an obstacle. The participants do not need to travel to attend the online meeting. Online meetings always have better attendance due to the flexibility they provide to the meeting attendees.
Virtual meetings increase participation among remote team members and those who experience travel restrictions. For companies with a globalized workforce, virtual meetings align and integrate communication between teams. Online virtual meetings provide accessibility for all employees to engage with clients and colleagues from any location. With online virtual meetings, you won’t miss out on the proximity and productivity of in-person meetings.
Online meetings will help you to share the ideas with a wider audience, increasing participation and contribution. Your typical boardroom may not be able to accommodate more than 15 members, but a regular Zoom meeting can accommodate up to 300 participants at the same time. This can be increased to 500 participants upon request. For bigger teams working from different locations, online meetings are more convenient and easier.
Online meetings are shorter, to the point, efficient and this helps save time. Meeting hosts need not spend time on meeting preparations and setting up meeting rooms. The time spent on these activities could be used for other productive work. It has been observed that online meetings speed up decision making. In a recent survey, 94% of businesses agreed that virtual meetings increase productivity.
Screen share, webcams and video visuals add to ‘in-person’ feel to virtual meetings. Since all the participants are visible to others, it allows a more personal connection between the attendees.
Everything is visible in a virtual meeting including the facial expressions, just like a face-to-face meeting. Online meetings also provide other features like whiteboards, polls, chat functions, and more to deal with complex situations where more collaboration is needed.
Sharing files and slides is easy in a virtual meeting. Most applications come with a ‘share screen’ or ‘share files’ option which makes it easy and effective to share visuals and documentation with the attendees. There is no need to provide logins, flash drives or connect the laptop to the projector.
In online meetings, there is no need to prepare the minutes of the meeting. The entire meeting can be recorded and played back. Even if a person is not able to attend the meeting, he or she can still go through the recorded meeting.
Additionally, recorded meetings can be paused, slowed down, or replayed. This ensures that participants can go back to the recorded meetings and get whatever details they want. By simply pressing a button, the entire meeting can be recorded, documented and used for future reference.
In these days of the pandemic, it is better to be safe than sorry. Virtual meetings help the team members to keep a safe distance from each other, and prevent spreading germs and transmitting infectious diseases.
Less travel means less fuel consumption and less burden on our environment. Air travel contributes significantly to global CO2 emissions. When a company changes an in-person presentation to an online presentation and saves just one employee’s trip across the Atlantic Ocean, a business can prevent more than 2000 pounds of carbon dioxide being released to the environment.
By hosting virtual meetings, companies can do their bit for the environment by saving tons of carbon emissions. Holding a virtual meeting instead of traveling is a great way to reduce carbon footprint. So many planes, cars, and trains aren’t needed, and a better environment translates to better mental and physical health for everyone.
Happy employees are productive employees. People who travel to work daily during peak hours suffer from stress, poor-quality sleep, and a lack of exercise. They also don’t have time to eat a healthy diet. Virtual meetings come with none of these side effects. Eliminating frequent travel brings emotional and physical relief, better health, higher job satisfaction and lower employee turnover which in turn boosts performance and productivity.
Employees like to work for companies that give them the freedom to work from wherever they want. Virtual meetings enable teams to deliver projects remotely creating a culture that supports work-life balance. With more and more employees looking for remote work options, the online meeting option provides flexible work options, which translate to higher employee satisfaction and better work-life balance.
Companies that are leveraging best practices for virtual team meetings are more efficient. Online virtual meetings are a top collaboration choice for companies that are growing at a record rate. It also helps companies to improve their competitive edge through positive environmental impact, higher employee satisfaction, improved communication, better business relationships, greater meeting efficiency, reduced travel expenses, increased productivity, etc.
Fortunately, today there are many free virtual meeting platforms like Clariti, Zoom, Slack, Microsoft Teams, and Skype that help employees interact from any location.