The benefits of telecommuting are obvious—increased employee productivity, reduced costs, and more flexibility are only a few. In fact, a recent study conducted by Stanford University found that people who work full time from home are 13 percent more efficient than those who don’t.
However, one of the major disadvantages of telecommuting is that remote workers miss out on daily interactions in the office, which often results in employees feeling isolated and disconnected from the team and the company as a whole. So how can companies help their remote workers feel empowered and fully part of the team and company even though they’re not physically present? Video conferencing is the answer, and here are some of the ways it can impact companies and their remote workers:
- Video conferencing capabilities can drive telecommuting initiatives by optimizing collaboration. This growing trend is unsurprising, considering that one of the key advantages to video conferencing is enhanced employee performance despite geographically dispersed teams. While most workers use phone, email, and messaging to interact, 80 percent of communication is based on visual cues. Video conferencing allows for the best-quality interactions available next to in-person meetings. Therefore, as employees become more geographically displaced, there is an increased possibility of misunderstanding or reduced flow in exchange of information. Employees capable of participating in meetings over video have a better read on coworker expressions and are far more engaged. This allows them to make more accurate decisions than with any other mode of remote communication.
- Video conferencing helps strengthen virtual teams by helping remote employees integrate more easily into the group. That makes more meetings more productive, shortening cycle times and decision-making for a host of business processes and interactions.
- Like most other lines of business, HR departments are on tight budgets, trying to do more with less. They have fewer people and resources, and yet the challenges they face are increasing, especially as they must support a growing number of remote and mobile workers. By using video conferencing to roll out information on new policies and procedures, train employees on new software or business processes, announce company-wide information, and strengthen corporate bonds, HR can reach all their employees anytime, anywhere. All this can be accomplished without giving up the value of visual communications and without the need for costly and time-consuming travel.
- HR can also use video conferencing to significantly improve their online training. As the marketplace becomes more global and competitive, employees and partners must be well-educated, both to do their jobs efficiently and to make the most of new technology. Organizations must continually train their employees, as quickly as possible and regardless of where they are located in relation to the company or its training staff.
- As companies ramp up hiring, video conferencing can make the recruiting and hiring process much more effective, without increasing costs. Remote applicants can interview with multiple managers and potential colleagues, giving everyone a better idea of one another and whether or not the candidate is a good fit for the organization. Once they’re hired, new employees can use video conferencing to get up to speed on company policies and procedures and train on applications and processes.
Remote workers and the companies they work for need the benefits of video conferencing to overcome geographical barriers for everything from collaboration to training. Value-added resellers (VARs) that have clients with remote workers can demonstrate the benefits of adding video conferencing equipment, which will provide the VAR with steady business, revenue from products and services, and contracts for professional services and maintenance agreements.
Does your team sell to companies with remote employees? What has been your best strategy to get your foot in the door? Please comment here.