Virtual teams are more productive when connected via videoconferencing than when they communicate using email or phone, a new study has found. And the timing is perfect today for many companies to act on this information.
And in an age where videoconferencing no longer demands dedicated systems or proprietary solutions, this should provide advocates with yet another reason to justify bolstering networks to support the technology. Especially for those organizations already investing in cloud and other solutions that demand reliable bandwidth for every employee.
Videoconferencing helped forge more productive meetings, since 70 percent of participants said they were more willing to engage in discussions when using this technology versus phone or email, according to the study, conducted by the Fraunhofer Institute for OmniJoin. In addition, 60 percent found discussions were more open, since they could see other people and share documents live.
The technology improved morale and boosted team spirit by engendering a sense of collaboration, compared with a feeling of divisiveness created by email and phone, reported 81 percent of those involved in the study. Likewise, 74 percent of respondents felt decisions were made jointly during videoconferences.
Finally, 79 percent of those surveyed found communication was clearer in a videoconferencing environment; they said being able to see speakers allowed them to concentrate longer, reported Fraunhofer.
Although the results are not unexpected -- after all, a videoconferencing developer did fund the survey -- they make sense. And they align with plenty of other studies, such as the March 2012 report from Frost & Sullivan. With the continued growth of mobile employees, the increasing number of home-based employees, and the ever-changing corporate landscape due to mergers and acquisitions, it's easier than ever for workers to feel isolated. It's also easier for them to wreak havoc on their employers' systems, databases, and networks.
As Melanie Turek, vice president of Enterprise Communications & Collaboration Research at Frost & Sullivan, said in a statement:
From our examination of the workplace, we found that companies adopting strategic collaboration tools now will be two to five years ahead of the competition. Forward thinking organizations are seeing measurable value in advanced communications solutions that allow for true collaboration, leading to enhanced thought leadership, customer support and productivity.
Using videoconferencing to create and maintain a sense of community seems a small technological investment, especially when so many organizations are already revisiting their networks to ensure they can handle cloud-based demand. Bolstering bandwidth to ensure they are videoconferencing-capable is forward-thinking, budget-smart, and management-savvy.
Reports keep telling us the same thing.
— Alison Diana , ThinkerNet Editor, Internet Evolution