By Dr. Dave Aiken, Senior Director, Business Development, Advito
Companies, especially large companies, are cutting back on travel, increasing the number of phone and video meetings using conference calls and collaboration tools like Skype, WebEx, GoToMeeting, and many others. Companies use scheduling programs like Microsoft Office 365/Outlook and Google Calendar, which by default schedule meetings for either 30 minutes or an hour. Companies are acquiring, merging, reorganizing and resizing/downsizing, especially the large multinationals, so more people are attending meetings to justify their positions. These factors all accumulate in too many meetings with too many attendees where most of them never say anything and are multitasking.
When cameras are turned on, everyone sees your video, more prominently in most applications if you are speaking. Regardless, people can see if you are paying attention or not. The positive collaboration feature of seeing someone’s facial expressions is considered a negative.
Current research suggests that trained employees are more willing to adopt new technology. At one company, the IT Department replaced an existing audio/slides interface with a more robust collaboration tool that included personal video. That was in 2007, and to this day, people at that company still do not turn on their cameras unless they are specifically required. It was never part of the company culture to share video, plus the attendees are BIG multitaskers. Executives at this company and most other large companies invest in life-size video screens and cameras for their senior leadership, which are easy to start and used frequently. To realize the benefits of video throughout the organization, especially in multinational corporations, use of video should be highly encouraged. Previous studies over the last ten years indicated 55-70% of communication in a meeting is visual. Think of the information people are leaving on the table by not using cameras!
With the advent of hackers accessing our notebooks and phones (and cameras) via public networks, people are even buying little clips and devices to turn off or block their cameras, much less try to use them more! I’ve been known to use a piece of tape or a Post-it note on occasion. This blocking action is related to the fear of identity theft and general privacy issues. Even Apple is experiencing some initial consumer backlash for its integrated video facial identification system on their new iPhone X. The use of video may vary by culture, but this is an area that warrants further study. One study recommended developing an automated ROI program for use with collaboration rollouts, highlighting the returns from increased communication and reduced travel and employee stress. Collaboration remains a technology that everyone needs, some want, and the rest tolerate! Imagine the return on investment if these companies realized the promise of collaboration through successful technology rollouts and employee adoption training.
Learn more about how you can improve your travel program with virtual technology through our Total Collaboration Management services.