Recent articles got us thinking about how the future of video conferencing will impact business. No one would argue that the COVID-19 pandemic has left an indelible mark how business will be conducted in the future. There is a sense of fatigue when it comes to the barrage of video meetings – their constant and possible overuse. So, with that in mind, what can business leaders do to change up how we collectively use video conferencing technology moving forward.
In an article posted on NBC News, Citigroup CEO, Jane Fraser calls for video conference free Fridays. Her premise was that since employees have been working from home, the lines between work and personal life have become blurred. Pre-pandemic there was an adage that a conference call could have been an email. This also rings true for the overreliance on video conferencing in the pandemic era and possibly beyond. Just because the technology is there is does not mean that it needs to be used at every opportunity. Business leaders can help reduce the video conferencing fatigue by moving meetings back to traditional conference calls or use instant messaging technology or fall back on emails. Work video conferencing has an element of intrusiveness in our personal lives and employees will appreciate the break.
While there is an element of video conferencing fatigue in business, there is a benefit to the widespread adoption of video conferencing technology – guests. Video conferencing has increased the connection we feel between each other because there is something to be said for being able to see someone’s face while they speak. One idea to reduce the fatigue of video meetings is to invite guests or cohosts. For business leaders this could be bringing in someone from the supply or distribution chain. They could discuss how the business is impacting them or what successes they have seen within the business. There is also an opportunity to bring in someone to provide support for employees who may be facing challenges.
A professor at McGill University in Toronto has students co-create class sessions. This idea could be useful for a business’ regularly scheduled video conferencing meetings. Involving more employees in the production of a meeting could keep things fresh and prevent meetings from being stale. As the article states, listening to one person speak for an hour and a half gets boring.
While we cannot eliminate video conferencing all together, there are things we can do to keep it fresh and engaging. Picking spots to eliminate video calls can help ease burdens on employees and lessen the impact of working from home on the work-life balance. The opportunity to bring in guests or provide opportunities for employees to cohost a video meeting can change how meetings are perceived.