Business continues to reinvent itself, changing and morphing under the pressures of external influences, the differing of best practices, the successes of leading figures and the shortcomings of older methods.
Under this constant state of flux, it is no surprise that new technologies rise to fill the spaces left by traditional operations; a change accelerated when needs must.
Rise of video conferences
It is these needs, or external factors, that have so heavily influenced the rise of video conferences. In no small part thanks to the Coronavirus pandemic, user numbers of video conferencing software Zoom ballooned. From around 50,000 global downloads per day in January, on March 23, 2020, Zoom was downloaded 2.13 million times.
While circumstances dictated that an augmentation in the use of video conferencing occurred, there were also a number of other factors. The main ones being the benefits attached to remote working, holding conferences online and revolutionizing business in this innovative way.
Environmentally, holding conferences via video rather than in person is a step in the right direction. With companies having employees and management spread across multiple offices – often in different cities or even different countries – video conferences remove the necessity for heavy and lengthy travel.
Reducing how much fuel companies use and how much pollution they emit should be a primary goal of the future of business. While it is clear that less airplane usage is better for the environment, even the smaller savings of one- or two-hour drives will make a huge difference.
What’s more, with documents being sent online so that individual members of the conference can reference them, printing and therefore paper usage is reduced.
A study in 2018 suggested that the average US commute time was around 26 minutes, equating to over 200 hours (almost nine days) per year if you work five days a week. Using video calling software for attending meetings not only saves on travel time between offices but can also reduce how much employees must travel to work. If working from home is possible – the chances of which are greater if meetings and conferences are carried out online – then productivity could grow and wasted time be reduced.
Convenience does not end with travel time, as it also includes comfort. Many important meetings contain a number of individuals who are not expected to speak or contribute – just listen. Rather than being forced to join a video conference from the main office, these members can take in all the necessary information from the comfort and safety of their own home. Using a quality VOIP phone system can aid conference calling by allowing additional members of the team to listen to the call and provides the additional benefits of call management, text messaging and voicemail transcription.
Finally, there are a number of health benefits. With reduced time in traffic or on public transport, the transmission of viruses and illnesses such as COVID-19 are reduced, along with exposure to pollution. Some may also find the bright lights and stresses of conference rooms bring them anxiety or eye strain, so as long as employees remember to rest their eyes when using computers, video calling for conferences also reduces these pressures.