THE BLOG
07/29/2016 02:06 pm ET Updated Jul 30, 2017

The Productivity Tool Your Employees Are Asking For (But Probably Don't Have Yet)

Rolling your eyes, nodding your head or giving a friendly smile can make a major difference in how your business partners perceive you. Body language, the expressions you make and how you present yourself can be the deciding factor in whether or not a meeting is successful and productive. Internal barriers are created when communication is limited to just a phone call. Not being able to see the facial expressions of the person on the other end of the dial tone can make you question how engaged they are in the conversation. Are they really disinterested, or are there things you're just not seeing? Would video communications make a difference in your meeting's productivity?

A recent survey found that 72 percent of employees believe that live video would positively change the way they communicate in the workplace, and 85 percent already use it in their everyday lives. Yet, the survey showed that only 28 percent of employers are encouraging this trend.

When examining the benefits that live video offers, as well as its prevalence in our personal lives through popular platforms like FaceTime, Skype, Facebook Live, etc., the latter number is quite surprising. Through regular use, productivity and cost efficiencies would naturally follow suit. Businesses are making a mistake by not taking advantage.

Your Employees Want It!

Despite the prevalent use of video in employees' personal lives, employers are failing to provide the same ease of communication in the workspace--only 28 percent of workers say their employers are proactively encouraging the use of video for work. Considering that 69 percent of workers believe using video for communication would improve employee retention, and 82 percent see live video playing a pivotal role in daily work flows, this is a huge missed opportunity.

Employee workplace satisfaction rapidly drops when several forms of communication are repeatedly required to get things done. This ultimately hinders efficiency. Employees don't have to settle for a phone call or a time-consuming series of emails when they can collaborate and foster better relationships with face-to-face communication. The time saved in reduced email and more effective communication alone pays organization-wide dividends, from the associate to the board member.

Foster Unbridled Efficiency

More than retaining talent and keeping employees satisfied, the adoption of live video introduces cost efficiencies and greater productivity--both keys to success. Consider that almost 80 percent of U.S. employees find that collaboration and sharing are among the most important ingredients of a successful company. And over one-third of those respondents felt that video conferencing is one of the top tools making this possible.

Not only does video make for simpler and direct communication, it also cuts out other expenses. For instance, traveling becomes less imperative if the same type of collaboration can occur over a video call while retaining the same personal experience. Training can be done at scale and meetings that require dispersed members' participation can be done as needed, instead of having to deal with long email threads and less-than-optimal phone calls. In fact, a recent Twitter study showed that increasing the efficiency of multi-city meetings by 10 percent could actually save about 5 weeks of aggregate work every day.

Additionally, in a study done across BlueJeans' customer base, a clear inverse correlation has been identified between the amount of video used by the organization and the length of meeting time. Meetings done over video are 36 percent shorter than meetings done over audio.

As video usage increases, so does the engagement and interactivity of the participants in the meeting. Rather than joining a call and going on mute through the conversation, people are more likely to engage and speak on video. The data clearly shows that engagement of all participants goes up significantly when participating over video instead of voice-only calls.

What's At Stake?

If employees can leverage tools that allow them to see who they are speaking to, eliminate 'disengaged' meetings and improve relationships, why not take advantage? Not harnessing the power of video could mean missed opportunities in efficacies, such as enabling HR teams to conduct interviews via live video instead of forcing commutes or having less-than-optimal phone calls. Furthermore, eliminating the overwhelming layers of communications can even relieve employees of stress and provide more time for more impactful work, rather than sifting through email or responding to online chats.

Being apprehensive about changing an existing communications setup doesn't need to be a big deterrent. Reducing equipment and services opens the potential for significant cost savings. By adopting an upcycling approach or simply leveraging existing technology to connect to new video services, businesses will not only benefit from the power of live communication, but do so in a seamless and cost-effective manner.

It's time for employers to tap into new video collaboration technology or fail to deliver what their employees prefer in a more ideal workplace. Making a commitment to technological change not only helps retain and attract workers, it also enhances your capabilities, your image, and your ability to do business.