Digital transformation

What are the advantages and disadvantages of videoconferencing?

What are the advantages and disadvantages of videoconferencing

Videoconferencing is a great communication tool that has really taken off since lockdown. It is used by the wider public such as by professionals, this tool enables you to see and exchange with people located at a distance thanks to the telecommunication system. One can also easily organize meetings with colleagues who are remote working to family reunions with family members living abroad.

Today, there are multiple applications specializing in videoconferencing such as Skype, Google Hangouts or even Zoom, not to mention collaborative platforms and other types of project management software which offer their own videoconferencing tool such as Wimi.

In the professional world, videoconferencing is highly appreciated by; big international groups, teams that are delocalized and companies taking part in remote work. Discover the advantages and disadvantages of this very practical means of communication.

The advantages 

Save money on travel

One of the main advantages of videoconferencing, is the money saved from travel costs. If your company owns offices all over France and/or abroad, the organisation of weekly or monthly meetings with those responsible for each regional subsidiary can quickly constitute a significant item of expenditure.

Thanks to videoconferencing, it is no longer essential to travel. Not only are you saving money from the transport costs, but what’s more, organizing a videoconference call costs (almost) nothing. In fact, the dedicated applications are often free, and you are generally already equipped with the necessary material (computer, webcam and microphone).

Hence, you can organise your weekly meetings at a low cost because each participant can attend without leaving the comfort of his or her office. This doesn’t prevent you from continuing to reunite your teams in the flesh in order to maintain team cohesion and a sense of belonging. However, you can do it less frequently (once per quarter or by semester which takes place once a week or month).

Become more eco-responsible

Since, as we have mentioned in the previous point, by using videoconferencing you no longer have to systematically travel to attend meetings, which has a favorable impact on the environment. In fact, you reduce CO2 emissions and greenhouse gases generated by traveling. Thus, you decrease your carbon footprint and you do your part for the planet.

Ease of organisation

While there is always a need to find a time slot which suits everybody, it becomes easier to organize a meeting where participants do not need to travel. Hence, you eliminate all the late arrivals and absences caused by transport hazards (Strikes, traffic jam, accidents etc.).

The participants are also ready quicker. It is simply enough to launch the application and the meeting starts instantaneously.

Improve collaboration and communication

Videoconferencing makes the geographical barriers disappear. This communication system therefore represents a real asset for the remote work employees as well as for the teams dispersed all over the world.

The communication and collaboration between employees are encouraged as not only can you discuss on video, but also you can exchange documents, note down your ideas on a white board, share your screen, record your meetings to enable writing meeting minutes, etc. Lastly, the options are unlimited and certain tools, notably the collaborative platforms, combine several functionalities for you to simplify tasks. What more could you ask for?

The disadvantages

Lack of personal interaction

This is one of the main disadvantages of videoconferencing: the lack of human contact. Rather than having your collaborators sat around a table, we are alone, faced at our computer screens. No coffee breaks before, during or after, no on-the-side glances or smiles exchanged when a colleague slips up, and it’s difficult to analyze the body language of participants to know what they are really thinking of a new idea.

Technical problems

Like for a number of tools, videoconferencing is not spared from technical problems. Between the network failures, bad internet connection, pixelized images, dreadful sound quality or the technical problems caused by the software, it can be difficult to organize a meeting under good conditions.

If you work with international employees, the connection quality will depend on the debit of the country of whom you are exchanging. If you do not have an IT or technical department to help you out, it can quickly become problematic.

Confidentiality of exchanges

During certain videoconferences, it’s not uncommon for sensitive and confidential information to be exchanged. In order to guarantee the protection and confidentiality of discussions, it is essential to use a high-performing and reliable solution. Read attentively the general conditions of use and assure yourself that your conversations are not recorded or kept without your knowledge because if the application is a victim of cyberattack, your information could be vulnerable.

Installation costs

For the small companies, installation of a videoconferencing room can represent a significant cost. You should equip a big enough TV screen, a performing audio system (microphone and loudspeakers) and an adaptable software. If you only use the basic features, the videoconferencing application may be free or have a reduced cost. However, if you will to benefit from more elaborate functionalities, the subscription cost can quickly increase.

Conclusion

Videoconferencing is a very practical communication tool which has become more and more popular and tends to become standardized in a number of growing companies. Even if it presents some disadvantages, the benefits will by far outweigh them because it allows people far away to easily communicate with one another. However, be careful not to overuse them, and continue to hold real meetings as soon as possible.

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