In just a few short years, video collaboration has changed the way that employees connect and collaborate. Smaller, open office spaces with more collaboration and ‘huddle’ spaces are on the rise as businesses look to support the changing, increasingly mobile workforce. The latest video collaboration technologies are enabling remote working and mobility across all business units. This is helping SMEs to reduce their cost base, taking on smaller office spaces complimented by remote workers and freelancers.
Companies across every industry are seeing the demand for ‘huddle’ rooms explode – smaller dedicated collaboration spaces where employees can meet and collaborate with local and remote team workers ‘on-the-fly.’ It’s these new types of meeting spaces which will be increasingly video-enabled. Video conferencing is no longer restricted to the boardroom with expensive, dedicated in-room systems. As Wainhouse Research notes in its latest blog post, video conferencing is increasingly becoming accessible to all knowledge workers with more manageable deployments and affordable, lower cost hardware, so that it can be deployed in large numbers economically. Below are three tips that will ensure your team reap the full benefits of video deployment:
Choose high quality, user-friendly video calling equipment
We are used to high-definition (HD) experiences our living rooms and employees expect this quality in the workplace. User adoption of video is still a challenge so it’s important to give workers easy-to-use technology which feels intuitive and enjoyable. When video communication is used it can increase an SME’s efficiency by bringing together staff in distant locations so that they can innovate faster, reducing travel costs from otherwise face-to-face meetings, and positively impacting the bottom line. SMEs are faced with managing a small pool of resources and scaling up rapidly while often competing with larger enterprises on a global stage. Sourcing talent from multiple locations might offer a solution, operating a distributed workforce model, while simultaneously keeping office rent liabilities to a minimum.
Businesses rely on making the right decisions quickly, and for this, video can offer a return on ROI. Anecdotal evidence has found that by using video calls, decisions are made 30% to 40% more often than on a voice call as you feel more comfortable when you can see your colleagues and can reach consensus. As an example, this could help design teams to work more closely with manufacturers, or software developers in different locations to collaborate on coding; helping to reduce the time for product feedback, enabling a faster turnaround.
Empower employees to choose the software that best suits them
A few years back, video conferencing was limited to closed, proprietary systems, locking in companies to one software application. Nowadays, there is a wide range of quality and cost-effective choice of software available, from Skype to Zoom to subscription-based cloud solutions like Cisco Jabber and Lifesize. When looking to purchase products make sure that you choose a piece of hardware that is broadly compatible with any UC platform so that employees can connect easily.
Consider the delivery stage
For many companies, the cost savings can be tremendous yet adoption can still be challenging. With a significant deployment of video conferencing equipment, it’s important to ensure training is in place so that you can achieve the ROI on the hardware purchase. A clear communication strategy should be in place so that users fully understand the benefits that their devices can bring to their work.
The changing demographics of the workforce will play an important part in this delivery stage. Millennials will form 50% of the workforce in just a couple of short years; while businesses today are distributed across multiple sites with remote workers forming part of the team, and 60% of meetings are now virtual.
Working in a video-enabled world
SMEs want to have seamless communication experiences with their employees, customers, suppliers and partners. It’s not far off to think of a world where as a consumer, you will be able to connect with a business over an instant message, voice call, or… dare to dream, video. Equally start-ups can quickly mobilise using video conferencing - for instance a marketing consultancy could scale up and down their resource, working with a host of freelancers as and when needed facilitated by video communication. At the same time video conferencing could be used to communicate flexibly with their clients – getting the right balance of face-to-face and virtual meetings and cutting down on their operating costs.
The Wainhouse research paper on the collaborative enterprise confirms this, noting that: “The way users get their work done is undergoing a dramatic, historic change. This new work environment is embraced by work-life harmony-seeking millennials and driven by highly collaborative interaction. Technology has transcended the ability to simply enable virtual collaboration, making it effective and desirable – with few barriers, anyone and everyone can instantly become engaged and help with the task at hand.”