Look for video to move beyond conferencing in 2017. That forecast comes from West Unified Communications Services, a global provider of conferencing and collaboration solutions. In “5 predictions for unified communications and collaboration tools in 2017,” Rob Bellmar, EVP of Business Operations for the company, predicts that “video will be huge for UC next year.” (With UC, you can experience collaboration tools such as video conferencing through the convenience of one interface.) He says that companies will continue to push for the adoption of video conferencing, which is not yet a true workplace staple, and even beyond that will be employing video to accelerate digital transformation relative to training, on-boarding and even town meetings.
Underscoring the growing adoption of workplace video is a survey also conducted last year by West Unified Communications of 230 full-time U.S. employees about their conferencing habits and even what contributes to “video anxiety.” The survey found that 54% of employees regularly participate in video conferencing, many of them using free, consumer-grade technology. Only 23% reported using paid, enterprise services, while 70% use Skype, FaceTime or other free tools.
Also, feedback indicates that most organizations use video conferencing more for internal than external communications. Top uses include:
- 58% internal communications with employees
- 50% meetings with supervisor
- 34% sales calls
- 21% employee interviews (see “Video conferencing interviews can save your small business time and money”)
It also turns out that 73% of workers are more engaged in video conference calls than audio-only calls and 82% make an effort to prepare more for video calls.
Employees suffer from video anxiety
However more engaged employees may be in video versus audio calls, some suffer from video anxiety. Of those who express discomfort during video calls, the West Unified Communications survey found that 86% attribute their jitters to being on camera and public speaking. Minor but common issues such as poor Internet connections (reported by 58% of workers) and how lighting affects appearance (42%) add to employees’ unease.
The meetings that cause the most anxiety include job interviews, meetings with clients or supervisors, and sales calls.
Train teams on video etiquette
It turns out that only 23% of employees report getting video training, which could help calm nerves and ensure the meetings are more productive. Here are video etiquette tips that can help small business team feel more in charge of video conferencing meetings.
- Clear the clutter: Don’t distract the participants with a cluttered work or other distractions or movement in the background.
- Check lighting: Be sure the area is well lit and the camera angle is good on you or whatever else you are demonstrating or sharing.
- Stay focused: You are on camera; wait till the call ends to check emails on your smartphone.
- Dress appropriately: How you look is a focal point of your meeting. Dress as if you were meeting in person.
Users, especially those working in open-space work environments or on the go, can’t control the noise in their environment; yet good sound quality is paramount to a video conferencing meeting wherever it occurs. Noise-canceling headsets can enable audio clarity. Poor acoustics in a conference room also can be offset by noise-canceling speakerphones.
The old adage “seeing is believing” seems to taking hold among companies based on the growing use of video for conferencing as well as content.