July 15, 2018
Running short on time? Need to have that meeting but just can’t squeeze in that extra hour? Meetings can take a large bite out of your work day, especially if they take place offsite. Scheduling others to cover your work, making travel arrangements and planning for a space to accommodate attendees take time away from other commitments you could be handling. While some will argue that there’s nothing quite like a face-to-face meeting, virtual meetings can take some of the hassle out of the gatherings.
The largest benefit of a virtual meeting is that it negates the need to travel. Instead of taking three days out of the work week to travel abroad and present a report to another branch of your company, you can use virtual meeting software to speak on webcam with a microphone. It takes only moments to set up a virtual meeting, as opposed to hours or days of travel time required for meetings that are held away from your main office location. In most cases, virtual meetings are also considerably less expensive than out-of-office meetings because travel costs aren’t required.
Having virtual meetings saves money and helps reduce expenses in your small business. That’s one whopping reason for small businesses to give it a try. Gone is the need to fly in clients or senior staff, rent cars, or shell out for that pesky per diem during their stay. This is a huge savings for any business, but particularly for one that’s just getting off the ground.
In any business venture, like money, time is of the essence. Scheduling virtual meetings is a great time management tip to reduce the hours you’d otherwise spend coordinating travel. Virtual meetings can come together anytime and anywhere – even on the go, should the need arise. People can just stop wherever they are and find a quiet, web-connected place to talk. Once these become second nature, you’ll likely discover both you and your team are more efficient and productive.
Not every business has a room large enough to hold everyone you want involved in every meeting. If you’re planning a large seminar, for example, you may have to rent a space with room for 50 people. Inviting everyone to a virtual meeting instead will help you save on the cost of renting a large space or having to fit everyone into a room in your workspace.
Involves Your Entire Team
Nothing is worse than having a meeting where not everyone can attend. Someone’s out sick, someone else is traveling, and so on. Having critical sessions without key people can result in skewed information and maybe even hurt feelings. But a virtual meeting assures your whole team will be there, even those who telecommute or work from home. And you can ensure your message is consistent, knowing you’re all walking away with a collective understanding of goals and priorities. It’s a win-win.
Making travel arrangements cuts down on the productivity of every attendee. Since a person can attend a virtual meeting from his desk, it cuts down on both the time and the mental attention needed. That extra energy can be put back into work, including preparing presentations for the meeting. A Cisco study on virtual meetings points out that employees are available for other tasks and meetings when virtual meetings, rather than out-of-office meetings, take place.
Not everyone can take the time to travel to a meeting. If you’re hosting a meeting for potential clients, for example, more people are likely to attend if the event is simple and online instead of a more complicated traditional meeting. A virtual meeting gives everyone the opportunity to attend from their desks. You can stream video, share audio and view the webcams of many attendees at once with the right virtual meeting software. There are more opportunities for meetings, too, when virtual meetings are part of your work structure. You can ask employees in four different offices to meet the next day, online – it would be much more difficult to coordinate a quick meeting in person.
Though there are many benefits to virtual meetings, there are also times when you want to meet face-to-face. If you’re trying to close a high-stakes sale or attempting to land a lucrative client, you may want to invest the funds for a personal meeting. Virtual meetings are great for staff members and business partners – just don’t try to shave costs too much when big profits are on the line.
What other benefits of virtual meetings have you experienced firsthand in your business?
Sources: Chron, Collaborative Exchange