As Video Conferencing Changes Working Habits, Cultural Norms Change Too

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video conferencing millenials

Would it surprise you to learn that 5% of your work colleagues are not wearing pants?

Well, it seems 54% of US employees use video conferencing regularly.

And, it’s also been claimed 11% of people who video conference do so while not wearing any pants.

So the math suggests that if there are 100 people in your office, five of them are video conferencing sans pants.

Right?

OK, maybe not. But those video conferencing statistics are still revealing.

Because video conferencing is not only the future of the modern office, it’s the present day for more than half of us. And what goes on outside that chat window or video screen during a meeting no longer matters.

Video Is the Change That Already Happened

To paraphrase Warren Buffett, if the internet had come along first, newspapers would never have existed.

If it were possible 50 years ago to speak face-to-face in real-time with clients, colleagues, and collaborators the world over without leaving your desk, would anyone have preferred to send a letter, hire a door-to-door salesman, or take an expensive cross-continental flight?

Video conferencing makes those global real-time meetings possible, so if you’re not using it you’re metaphorically pinning your hopes on an investment in a printing press.

And if embracing video conferencing for you means major changes to the way you operate, think of it more in Silicon Valley terms. On those fertile grounds changing strategy is referred to as a “pivot”, in that you take what you already have and merely apply it in a new, more effective manner.

In business or the office environment that means thinking primarily of what is core to your enterprise and then using whatever technical means are available to deliver it.

Let Video Do the Footwork

Assuming you can distil your venture down to one of those pithy marketing sentences, “we sell X to Y”, you’re ready to embrace video conferencing.

And remember, video communication isn’t just about reducing travel – although businesses using video conferencing cut their travel budget by 30%.

Through it you can explore new markets by projecting your expert self into the internet and onto the desktops and smartphones of anyone, anywhere who really needs what it is you can offer.

Once you have these new customers or collaborators, you can boost the level of personal service by letting them speak to you face-to-face. And you can make sure your shopfront is always open regardless of weather and other mobility factors that may hobble a purely bricks-and-mortar operation.

And, perhaps most importantly, you can attract the dominant generation of potential employees, the millennials. This generation has grown up with technology such as video conferencing and prefers to work in a video environment.

Video That Simplifies

The final important way video conference can benefit your business is in the way it improves internal communication.

Millennials are embracing workflow apps like the ever-rising Slack because it integrates every aspect of their job into one platform. And that includes communicating with colleagues.

Without leaving the screen, you can instantly message, share documents with, and speak via video link to anyone in the office–or anyone at all for that matter–who is involved with what you’re working on.

It may seem complex, but it actually removes a lot of the fuss that gets in the way of the daily workplace. There’s no need to physically attend meetings, and with instant chat for smaller queries there’s no need for email. Yet, everything can still be archived and accessed from the same source.

It’s cheap too, if that’s a concern.

And don’t be too concerned about whether or not your workflow system is the current cutting-edge technology, just find a way that lets technology improve your current way of working.

After all, today’s workplace generational divides don’t occur over decades, but over just a couple of years. It’s best to just get started as soon as possible.

Bridge the Digital Divide

It’s true that people in their mid-30s and younger are far more comfortable on camera than their older colleagues. But when you consider the younger of those two groups will make up 75% of the workforce within 15 years, it’s easy to see who needs to change.

And aversion to change is understandable. We live in a country where the majority of people simultaneously hold the beliefs that robots or computers will replace humans on most jobs within 50 years, but their own job will not be affected.

Your job will be affected. It has been affected already.

If you’re not among those who are placing the quality and efficiency of the work ahead of the existing mores of how the work is undertaken–do we really need to wear pants if we’re never getting up from our screens?–then you may not have to worry about work at all.

Image Source: Flickr CC User Scott Feldstein

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