Video conferencing software and apps, such as Zoom, Skype, and Microsoft Teams, have been increasingly used by many companies and organizations for a number of years now, as technology and communications have advanced to reduce the need for physical face-to-face meetings.
The current global pandemic has further led to a dramatic increase in the use of video conferencing as more and more companies are operating partially or fully on working from home models, either out of choice or due to government-mandated lockdown restriction measures. While video conferencing is just one aspect of a working from home model, it is a vital one for most organizations. This article will examine the advantages and the disadvantages of video conferencing.
Advantages of Video Conferencing
One of the main advantages of video conferencing over meeting people in real life is that it can often be arranged at much shorter notice. Sometimes, all that that you will need to do is call one or more people and you’ll be talking to them instantly – and this has proven to be extremely useful for many companies who are currently making use of remote-working models. With physical meetings, it can often take longer to arrange a time and place that suits every participant than it takes to actually hold the meeting!
Another advantage of video conferencing is that there is no need for participants to travel to a meeting, provided they have an adequate internet connection and internet-capable device such as a PC, laptop, tablet, or smartphone. Reducing the need for travel saves a significant amount of time and money for employers and employees alike, and it’s also a lot more environmentally friendly.
The elimination of the need to travel can have hugely positive effects on the work–life balance of every member of an organization. Not only do people not lose precious free time commuting, but they can also use breaks to do household tasks or talk to their families, rather than simply technology and communications have advanced in the break room.
Disadvantages of Video Conferencing
There are some disadvantages to video conferencing. If you are an employer or supervisor using video conferencing software for work, it can be more difficult to monitor your staff and keep them on task. It can also be more difficult to keep people motivated and keep morale high when you are not in the same room. For personal calls, video conferencing can also feel impersonal compared to being in the same room as your friends or family.
Video conferencing can also be difficult for people with hearing problems. In real life, it can be easier to understand and to lip read in person. However, there are closed captioning services that can be used to solve this issue.
There are some areas where the benefits and drawbacks of video conferencing are often less clear-cut. For example, when it comes to productivity, video conferencing can be a double-edged sword. While people can become easily distracted by household tasks, housemates, or opening other tabs while on video calls, it can be just as common for physical meetings to stray off task.