Virtual Meetings Advantages And Disadvantages

by Emily on December 29, 2014

in Articles

businessman-workplace-office-computer-laptop-suitOver the years there has been a growing number of self-employed individuals. Outsourcing work and telecommuting has saved companies money and time, and virtual meetings and video conferencing have played a significant role in making this possible. However, the systems can be complex and there are a number of businesses offering these services, such as [tp lang=”en” only=”y”]Bluejeans Virtual Meetings[/tp][tp not_in=”en”]Bluejeans Virtual Meetings[/tp]. How do you know if holding virtual meetings is a right fit for your team? How do you know if the costs will be within budget?

Business costs are also on the rise and it is becoming more and more difficult for companies to fly out employees from different locations just to have face-to-face meetings. It all comes down to whether or not the costs of airfare and hotel bookings outweigh the human interaction element of meetings for a company. Thankfully, video conferencing allows for all of this to happen virtually. Other than the fact that participants will not be able to have physical interaction with others, there is essentially no difference. The stream is real-time, you can make eye contact face-to-face, and it has been said to improve the productivity of employees as well.

Like other forms of technological communication, virtual meetings have their own advantages and disadvantages. Here are some advantages and disadvantages you should take into consideration before investing in a virtual meeting system for your personal use or for business:

The Advantages

* Virtual meetings are more convenient for all parties involved. Telecommuting for a virtual meeting from anywhere in the world manages to save a lot of time and money this way.

* Participants of the meeting can share files and information instant that they would not normally be able to because of the hassle of printing and physically leaving to obtain more copies of material.

* If virtual meetings are a part of the organizational structure and the company is aiming to reduce their carbon footprint, what better way than to become more environmental than letting the community know you are going green?

* Businesses will be able to significantly reduce the travelling expenses for their employees as a result of  virtual meetings. Even better, [tp lang=”en” only=”y”]there is essentially no cost to the alternative of video conferencing[/tp][tp not_in=”en”]there is essentially no cost to the alternative of video conferencing[/tp].

* Perfect for small groups of 5 or less to interact efficiently but much more difficult when the group size increases. This is made even easier when everyone uses a cross-platform service like Blue Jeans to host the meeting.

* It is easier to ensure attendance at virtual meetings as there is a lesser excuse of not being able to be present at all times due to the reduced travel time.

* Makes scheduling meetings much easier as it is possible to meet more often but in shorter timeframes.

The Disadvantages

* Not all participants will be familiar with the operations of virtual meeting technology and as a result, there may be some resistance in having virtual meetings.

* Virtual meetings may not be as secure as in-person meetings when it comes to the exchange of information between participants.  Sometimes business meetings can involve the exchange of confidential information and the last thing you want is for that information to leak because someone was not careful enough to connect to the virtual meeting through an unsecure network.

* Technical problems can hinder the [tp lang=”en” only=”y”]progress of the virtual meeting[/tp][tp not_in=”en”]progress of the virtual meeting[/tp]. There is no saying there will not be an IT problem when it comes to using a system for video conferencing. If one person is having a bad connection or video quality is poor on one end, this could mean the virtual meeting getting delayed or discomfort on both ends.

* High quality video conferencing systems can often be quite pricey. So while you will be saving on travelling expenses, there will also be expenses to purchasing and maintaining the system.

* Virtual meetings are also lacking on the physical presence element. While the body language and gestures are often still present during a virtual meeting, there are also a lot of non-verbal cues that signify respect and agreement in person. For example, handshakes before and after a meeting can meet a lot in some cultures.

* While large meetings can be well managed in a physical setting, virtual meetings are not quite as optimal for large groups of participants. There is no physical cue as to who is speaking first and when someone will stop.

Virtual meetings are often proposed to different groups in businesses when it comes to collaboration between individuals who work and live a distance away from each other. It is recommended that to ensure the flow of the meeting goes smoothly, a meeting agenda should be made and sent out beforehand so that there are no conflicts as to who gets to speak and when. A good way to transition from face-to-face meetings to virtual meetings is to alternate between the two methods to test how they work in different teams and justify decisions based on the evidence.

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Devinder January 5, 2015 at 10:04

That’s really a well explained post. I have been working with freelancers from various parts of the world and It’s really better to discuss the things on video conferencing rather than email. It’s convenient, productive and time saving.

Thanks for this wonderful post.

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