Enterprise

Manager’s guide: knowing when to have virtual meetings and when to travel

Photo of Holger Reisinger
Posted
November 22, 2019
Reading time
3 minutes

These days, you could travel every day and spend all your time in meetings, but in this time-poor world we need to work smartly, and reducing travel time is a part of that. Even if you are working in lounges and on flights, it is still incredibly taxing. While travel advances business to a certain degree, it negatively impacts your productivity as well.

Technology now allows us to be in many places in a single work day. Video collaboration is practical; you can virtually collaborate in the East in the morning, the West in the afternoon and Europe in between.

When to fly and when to go virtual

  • You need to put technology to play to understand the limitations in physical and time dimensions. The more you use virtual collaboration solutions, the more intelligently you can make decisions around business travel because you understand virtual limitations and what constitutes a travel need.
  • If you meet customers for the first time, I still think it’s important to begin with a physical meeting to establish trust, but thereafter it’s easier to have virtual meetings – the trust carries over into audio and video conferencing.
  • Often, all of your travel bandwidth needs to be for your most important meetings, but there are other meetings you need to take too. You can debate the most important matters face to face, and tackle other meetings virtually.

Virtual video meetings are more productive

  • There are no interruptions moving between virtual video meetings. Besides the flexibility that they offer if you’re working remotely, in-person team reporting can be very time consuming because it’s so easy to catch people in the corridor. While that offers vibrant and less formal opportunities, it also kills a lot of time.
  • There is greater productivity with virtual meetings because when a meeting is in your calendar that you attend, it’s more efficient and there are usually greater business outcomes from a set agenda.
  • Video also accelerates business communication and offers an in-person experience, making sure participants are present, switched on and pay attention to what is in the room.
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How video collaboration is changing the face of business

Better work life balance

  • Virtual meetings offer a better work life balance, because they make you more mindful about how long meetings are and what is urgent, which frees up time for you to be more present and available to colleagues or family.
  • You can work from home or remotely more easily and you have the flexibility to structure virtual meetings around other life events in your day.

Can we improve our carbon-emission-friendly business culture?

Today, climate change and other environmental issues take center stage, and international companies taking initiatives to reduce their carbon footprint will ultimately have to look at business travel as a major point of impact.

Business travel is still increasing, despite new collaboration tools, but this is more drastic because of population growth and the increasing global economy. As buildings become smarter and more energy efficient, the proportion of a company’s carbon footprint made up by business travel will increase and undergo further scrutiny.

We still need business travel to establish trust and experience certain things, but when collaboration is further augmented and virtualized, you will be able to see things with VR as though you were there, and tech will again counterbalance this need to travel.

New technology will enable that balance even in tricky tasks like site visits and inspections. Over time this will be reduced with further VR and AR tech which is helping to counteract this globalized business and the corresponding increase in travel.

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