Gone are the days when only large corporations could use videoconferencing. Today, even small businesses can use it to communicate and collaborate. Basically, in video conferencing, people from different geographical areas with a strong internet connection can be a part of online meetings. The audio and video are connected, and they can communicate with each other. It has quite a simple setup. All you need is a stable internet connection, device, and video conferencing software. Also, it is further classified into two types: point-to-point and multipoint video conferencing. Point-to-point video conferencing is concerned with two participants, whereas multipoint video conferencing involves three or more. The example of point-to-point is job interviews, and multipoint is team meetings. This was the overview. Now let’s jump right into the advantages and disadvantages of video conferencing.
Advantages of video conferencing
In few clicks, we can connect to anyone globally for personal as well as professional purpose. Here are some other advantages of video conferencing.
1. Enhances communication
Video conferencing is a communication and collaboration tool, so it’s a no-brainer that it enhances communication. You might have experienced this yourself. People are more likely to remember instances of meetings conducted via video over text or audio. The reason being we can retain more information and understand what’s being said in video meetings over audio. Also, you can see participants’ body language and facial expressions, which improves the overall communication experience.
2. Increases productivity
You don’t have to be available at any specific location for video conferences. You can be a part of the meeting from the comfort of your home. This gives you flexibility, allowing you to become more productive. Higher flexibility is equivalent to higher retention, eventually leading to increased job satisfaction. The current pandemic situation has forced people to explore video conferencing options, and now businesses are loving the results it yields.
3. Digital workforce
Today, most companies worldwide are forming a digital workforce, and it has become possible only because of advanced communication tools such as software for video conferences. The physical barrier is no longer seen as a hurdle and despite geographical boundaries, we are adept at collaborating globally. In fact, the results of surveys suggest that there has been improvement in meetings by adding video conferencing technology. Since barriers such as travel dependencies are eliminated, participants have more time in hand to invest in the project.
4. Time and cost-efficient
Now that we began using video conferencing technology more often, we come to realize that conducting traditional meetings is a costly affair. Not that we weren’t aware of it, but now we know video conferencing is a feasible option. In traditional meetings, there were chances that participants would arrive late, which lead to ineffective meetings. The video conferencing has given participants flexibility, allowing them to join the meeting on time, thus making it a cost and time-efficient option.
5. Build good relationships
Employees are more likely to give their best at work if they are satisfied with it. This means the happier the employees are, the more productive they become, eventually allowing businesses to generate more profits. In video conferencing, participants interact with each other in a way that helps them to build strong connections. Here, participants can see each other face to face, allowing them to build trust, and increasing their overall job satisfaction. There are also options such as screen sharing and real-time document sharing in video conferencing that keep the meeting engaging.
Disadvantages of video conferencing
We explored the good side of video conferences. Now, let’s look at what lies on the opposite side; here are some of the drawbacks of video conferencing.
1. Internet dependent
We cannot start our discussion of the disadvantages of video conferencing without highlighting its dependence on technology, which is the case with most types of technology. You need to have a solid internet connection to be a part of video meetings. Suppose you arrange for a quality internet connection. But what if there are network issues? The transmission is affected, leading to blurry videos and inaudible voices. This can be a nightmare when you are part of an important meeting.
2. Lack of personal connection
No matter how far technology progresses, there will still be certain points in our lives where we would miss personal connections. The same is with the workplace. Some projects and meetings can have more positive outcomes with more intimate connections between clients or employees. Unfortunately, video conferencing can feel impersonal sometimes because we communicate through screens instead of in person.
3. Health concerns
An increasing number of employees is working from home from 2020 onward. And while this is the result of the COVID-19 pandemic that technology helps with, the benefits come at a cost. Most employees spend almost half of their day on video calls. This has taken a toll on their health, making them feel exhausted. At least in traditional meetings, you could look around when you needed to relax. Doing the same on video calls will give a wrong impression of being disinterested.
4. Leads to misunderstanding
We used to rely on non-verbal signals to improve our communication in traditional meetings. But in video conferencing, all we have is a screen through which we try to interpret these signs. Clearly, we lack social cues here, which can lead to misinterpretation. The intentions behind the message could be misunderstood, leading to conflicts. Also, in video conferencing participants end up speaking together at once unintentionally, which can create chaos.
5. Not for everyone
Video conferencing is not everyone’s cup of tea. Some people are camera shy and prefer to express themselves through written over verbal communication. It is not an ideal choice for these people, as they would rather invest their time in reflecting on what they have to say, over being forced to respond immediately. Just the thought of video conferencing can give them nightmares, making them more anxious. However, they are learning to get comfortable in front of the camera, as video conferencing is becoming an essential part of communication.