12/27/20 • COVID-19 Emphasizes Importance Of Virtual

As posted in the Gaston Gazette

Interpersonal, or one-on-one, interactions have long been touted as fundamental to communications. But recent months and COVID-19 have flipped the script on how interactions, business and day-to-day life are conducted.

As the pandemic continues to influence and alter the ways in which society operates, the virtual spectrum of options has grown in use and importance. Face-to-face conversations have taken a back seat in favor of health and safety; video meetings have emerged as critical to effective, efficient information sharing.

Here are several reasons to use video meetings for developing those crucial connections:

  • Improves communication. It’s easy to allow personal interactions to decline when separated, pandemic or not. Yet these connections remain as important as ever, if not more so. From working virtually to having a global, digital staff – to family living in faraway locations – video meetings allow individuals to connect in a face-to-face manner despite distance. They provide opportunities for reading visual cues that speak strongly to emotion and comprehension. Video meetings also increase communication reliability, offering opportunities to discuss items in further detail or decipher complicated language and all within a timely manner (versus lengthy email threads). Furthermore, with the immense progression of internet and provider services into the 21st century, video extends a reliable and safe option for fast communications. When true one-on-one communication isn’t possible, video meetings step in as a suitable and successful substitute.
  • Provides regular connection. Consistent connection can be essential when employees work remotely. Although this type of work is flexible and modern, it’s also often isolating with a decreased personal relationship with the company, other staff members and the materials being produced. But frequent connection via video meetings can boost emotional wellbeing, productivity and efficiency for a remote employee.
  • Fosters community. A true workforce community can be difficult to sustain or grow when employees work digitally. Video conferencing is changing that. Through regular meetings and increased personal connection in the face-to-face digital environment, a business culture can emerge among isolated employees. According to the Microsoft 365 Team, “video conferencing can help bridge the gap for all other meetings, while still helping you connect on a personal level” through verbal and nonverbal cues, which are essential to building trust. “In one study, 98 percent of respondents indicated that the technology has helped them build relationships inside and outside their companies.”
  • Cost effective. Travel expenses, mileage reimbursement, coordination of drive time – all of these factors weigh into face-to-face meetings. Distant locations typically equal heavy fees. Video conferencing delivers an affordable measure for conducting interpersonal meetings without the added time for travel. Additionally, the implementation of digital working environments and video meetings can allow a business to recruit the most talented individuals for job postings, regardless of where they may reside. And, suddenly, there’s even more savings without relocation expenses or costly bonuses to woo a desired employee to move to your company’s destination. It’s a cost-effective tool for connecting individuals no matter where they choose to live and work.
  • Create a valuable record. Have you ever walked out of a meeting and questioned what you heard just hours later? Record keeping during in-person meetings is usually relegated to handwritten notes that capture as much info as possible or digital soundtracks full of ambient noise. Video meetings, through many digital vendors, offer accurate transcriptions and video segments so you can review conferences as often as necessary. In a world that’s digitally moving faster and faster, these valuable records showcasing shared screens and in-meeting presentations can prove invaluable.

COVID-19 has certainly put an increased emphasis on virtual communications. But video meetings are unlikely to be a tool that will soon disappear, even as the pandemic starts to fade. Implement this cost and operational effective strategy now for increased long-term success.