When telepresence initially gained popularity in the early 2000s, commentators predicted that virtual conferencing would eventually replace most business travel. It’d save millions of dollars each year in travel costs.
Despite the steady rise in video conferencing usage over the last decade, business travel has never suffered the many predicted decline. Business travel spending in the United States rose from $262 billion in 2012 to $334.2 billion in 2019. What happened to the video conferencing prophecies?
As technology improved and costs fell, online web conferencing gained momentum during the past decade. At the same time, corporate travel grew at a similar rate. Face-to-face contacts were simply regarded more than virtual meetings. Companies claimed that in-person meetings facilitated greater cooperation and increased customer satisfaction.
Everything altered after the COVID-19 lockdowns.
When the COVID-19 lockdowns went into effect, business travel almost disappeared. Tools like video conferencing have become the most fabulous friends of any business. Employees who work from home may continue to collaborate and help run the company.
User downloads of business applications rose like never before. These applications allowed businesses to remain afloat when their offices were closed.
Returning to work in stages
Employers may be hesitant to undertake business travel soon when limitations ease. Employee safety is a top priority, and workers may be reluctant to board cabs, flights, or hotels. According to a poll conducted by the US Travel Association and MMGY Travel Intelligence, just 22% of employees would be willing to travel for business when COVID-19 is passed.
Employers, on the other hand, are seeking to reduce expenses for the foreseeable future. So, the most probable outcome is that businesses will only allow travel for important reasons. Organizations will have to decide if particular events are worth the risk.
When should employees use video conferencing instead of travelling for business? Consider the following scenarios:
#1. Employee collaboration.
Before COVID-19, travelling to off-sites may have been a great way for colleagues to network, but it’s just not worth it today. Face-to-face encounters help people connect. Video conferencing provides the same degree of presence without needing to travel across time zones or nations.
Teams may use web-based video conferencing to help build better employee connections through check-in meetings and virtual happy hours. When it comes to collaboration, video conferencing takes the place of texting and emails since it allows coworkers to see and hear each other.
#2. Increasing the quality of customer connections.
Meeting customers face to face is critical to building new solid connections. However, video conferencing may be used to hold relationship-building meetings and brainstorming sessions.
Screen sharing may be used in place of traditional meeting room presentations, and cloud collaboration platforms like Google Drive enable conference attendees to collaborate on files in real-time.
#3. Municipal buildings.
Flying leaders from all over the nation (or the globe) for quarterly business reviews or sales meetings may have been a good idea in the past. But in the post-COVID-19 era, packing whole departments into enormous conference rooms or town halls won’t make sense.
Large meetings may be held via video to save time and money. Speakers and attendees may participate from anywhere globally while being secure, and the time saved on travel, commuting, and informal hallway discussions can be used to cover more subjects during the meeting.
#4. Recruiting top talent.
Now that visiting offices may not be in a candidate’s best interests, it’s time for HR departments to completely embrace the potential of virtual meetings over in-person meetings. Organizations may utilize video conferencing to reach a larger talent pool outside of their geographical boundaries and get workers started.
With the proper tools, you can replace business travel.
Business travels will ultimately return, according to experts, since face-to-face meetings are still king. However, trips will be less common shortly for the sake of employee safety.
Cutting down on business travel doesn’t have to mean sacrificing productivity. Neomeet‘s in-built workflow system combines team messaging, video conferencing, and cloud phone functionality into one platform.