The RingCentral research shows that two-thirds of the senior decision makers surveyed (66%) believe that one of the biggest disadvantages of face-to-face meetings is the time it takes to travel to and from meetings, while half (50%) believe another big disadvantage is the cost. Six in ten (62%) admitted they had lost the most time when travelling to face-to-face meetings, while a third (32%) admitted most time was lost when face-to-face meetings overran due to distractions such as small talk, making teas and coffees, and office tours.
As a result, businesses tend to favour conference calls over face-to-face meetings. Six in ten (60%) respondents said they prefer conference calls over face-to-face meetings as they are more time-and cost-efficient, while a third (34%) said they use conference calls because they work in a multi-dispersed/ multi-geographic team. A third (33%) admitted that conference calls were more viable for the business, enabling them to make connections abroad that might otherwise have been too costly or economically unfeasible. A downside to audio conferencing is that participants may not always be fully engaged. In fact, a fifth (19%) of us have admitted to conducting a conference call in our pyjamas or from an unusual location, such as the bathroom or outdoors.
When it comes to conference calls, the majority of businesses (71%) prefer video over audio conferencing as it’s more engaging, inclusive and interactive. Despite this, the research, conducted by YouGov and commissioned by RingCentral – a cloud business communications company – found that many companies still conduct business in the traditional way, with just under half (46%) of companies saying that face-to-face meetings still make the most sense for their business. Over a third (35%) of businesses admitted that poor image quality and sound have put them off using video conferencing in the past, while over a quarter (28%) blamed the complexity of setting up the technology for putting them off using it.
“Many companies still prefer traditional face-to-face meetings as they are considered more personable and engaging than audio conference calls, but travelling to and from meetings is costly and time-consuming. Businesses are already beginning to see that video conferencing is the answer to bridge this gap,” said Lars Nordhild Rønning, General Manager, EMEA, at RingCentral UK. “Over two thirds (71%) of businesses would use video conferencing over audio conferencing, so businesses must look to new technologies such as High-Definition (HD) video conferencing that flawlessly meet business expectations to help them maintain relationships, achieve their business goals and remain as efficient as possible.”
The research found that it is the younger generations of workers who are leading the adoption of video conferencing. Over a quarter (27%) of respondents aged 18-34 say they use video conferencing for business at least once a week, compared to just 13% of those aged over 45.
It is also the younger generation of workers who are much more open to embracing and investing in new technologies in the workplace. Nearly two-fifths (39%) of 18-34 year olds said they are likely to spend more time on video conferencing calls in the next 12 months, and nearly a quarter (24%) are likely to invest more money in the technology in the next 12 months. In contrast, just 26% of those aged 45+ are likely to spend more time on video conferencing calls over the next 12 months, with only 16% likely to invest in the technology.
“The benefits of HD video conferencing shouldn’t be underestimated. Research that RingCentral commissioned last year found that allowing employees to work flexibly is important for employee productivity levels. With video conferencing, businesses have the ability to remain personable and engaging with staff and clients,” said Nordhild Rønning.