Traditionalists say there is nothing better for team collaboration than a face-to-face setting. However, if you have a widely distributed team, partners or gig workforce, you likely find virtual meetings using collaboration tools with remote teammates are commonplace. They work as part of a unified communications approach– often very well.
So, if it’s not possible or effective to meet in person, here are ten ways that ‘virtual’ meetings may produce better experiences and results than conventional in-person meetings:
1) In a virtual setting, the focus is centered on the business content at hand – what is being discussed and what is being shown – not on the physical presence, appearance and distracting behaviors of those sitting around us, or the environment surrounding or passing by the meeting room.
2) Your results may vary, but some team members report feeling more apt to contribute to the virtual conversation (via voice, text, content sharing), compared to a physical meeting where being the focus of ‘all eyes’ can be intimidating and yield silence among those who are less than extroverted.
3) Virtual meetings require less planning for location and travel logistics, can be setup more quickly and can take place anywhere with no travel costs (not to mention being a greener option).
4) People can be added and dropped as needed easily; participants can arrive late or leave early with minimal, if any, disruption to the group. In contrast, it is relatively difficult (if not impossible) to physically bring in ad-hoc participants on the fly.
5) With modern collaboration tools, you have more ready access to collective knowledge, specialised skills and creativity regardless of where your people are located in the world – even if they are mobile or traveling. Meanwhile, co-located team members may have a more common experience, culture, knowledge or background, which may seriously limit the diversity of input.
6) When your team members don’t have to endure daily commuting to and from the office, their mood may be lighter, and stress levels may be lower. This may lead to happier people coming together to accomplish common goals, rather than thinking about traffic jams and crowded transit systems.
7) Traditionally, ‘face-to-face’ meetings are often limited to predefined content that is immediately at hand, whereas in a virtual setting anyone can share any relevant content instantly. This fluidity of dynamically sharing digital content is hard to replicate in a face-to-face team setting.
8) The inevitable virtual side conversations via the text chat backchannel are far less disruptive than the physical passing of notes or distracting whispered conversations in a meeting room. How many times in face-to-face meetings have we heard someone call out “People, let’s have one meeting in the room, please!”. With virtual meetings that problem is largely alleviated.
9) Given the cold and flu season is upon us – no one has ever caught a bug from attending a virtual meeting. Your workforce may remain healthier and more productive, with fewer sick days.
10) And… being virtual means you don’t have to find and book that scarce meeting room and make sure there are enough chairs!
These tips have been provided by our partner for Unified Communications Unify.