Video conferencing is no longer something only corporations can afford. With tech costs dropping, almost any company has the opportunity to leverage this collaboration tool.
The question here is — is it worth it? Should you choose video conferencing over in-person meetings in your particular case? What are the advantages and disadvantages of video conferencing?
Table of contents
- Why Use Video Conferencing?
- Benefits of Video Conferencing
- Drawbacks of Video Conferencing
- Advantages of Video Conferencing
- Disadvantages of Video Conferencing
Why Use Video Conferencing?
First, you can check the difference between online meeting types by reading our articles: Difference Between Online Meeting Types. And after you get an idea about the main types, we can review the video conferencing advantages and disadvantages in this article.
Benefits of Video Conferencing
- Quicker decisions and timely intervention
- Collaborative work and document sharing
- Happier employees and higher job retention
- Lower costs and higher savings
- Unique contacts and opportunities
Drawbacks of Video Conferencing
- Less personal contact and understanding
- Network instability and time lag
- Technical issues and employee training
- More stress and less organization
Let’s discuss the pros and cons of video conferencing so that you can make a more informed decision. First, we shall review the advantages.
Advantages of Video Conferencing
Quicker Decisions and Timely Intervention
The enterprise video market, including video conferencing, is expected to grow to $19.8 billion by 2023. This is not surprising when you consider how much video conferencing benefits businesses.
Businesses can now lead time-sensitive projects more efficiently since they no longer need to wait to make changes and inform others about updates. All employees can communicate with each other on an ongoing basis via video conferencing tools.
Video conferencing also benefits the company’s reputation, allowing executives to control damage in real-time instead of letting the conflict brew until the next meeting.
Collaborative Work and Document Sharing
Many businesses nowadays have offices all across the world working together on projects. Video conferencing tools such as whiteboard commenting, screen sharing, and remote control can definitely facilitate collaboration on such projects.
Working on the same file simultaneously is much faster than letting everyone make their corrections separately. Video conferencing allows just that: your employees can modify and update files in real-time without having to wait for the previous person to be done.
This tool is also incredibly useful for students because they often work together on a lab report or a project summary.
Happier Employees and Higher Job Retention
Thanks to video conferencing, companies can now let their employees work from home without sacrificing communication.
Studies report 56% lower turnover rates among telecommuters. Overall job satisfaction increases when people don’t have to go to the office every day. Frankly, most employees now prefer to work from home, which enables them to save precious time and costs commuting to and from the office. With remote work, the focus is on productivity and deliverables rather than the daily hours spent at the office.
Students can also get sufficient sleep and be on time for their online lectures or seminars.
Lower Costs and Higher Savings
Even the most expensive microphone set, webcam, and speakers won’t cost as much as organizing a full on-site meeting. Travel, hotel, venue, meals — all those little things add to quite a chunky sum. Considering these meetings may be regular and not once-off, the costs of hosting on-site meetings can pile up quicker than expected. Hence, video conferencing has become a lifesaver for many companies.
Of course, with online meetings, there are still costs involved. For one, you may need to update the tech tools used for your meetings. Things do get broken, and a microphone that is considered high-end now may be outdated in just a year.
However, flights get canceled, and hotels get overbooked. At least the new tech purchased, unlike a new plane ticket, can be reused multiple times after the upgrade.
For example, if you are an online instructor doing numerous courses throughout the year, investing in video conferencing equipment is very beneficial. Imagine holding physical classes throughout the year as an instructor and all the costs going into that – you probably won’t be smiling to the bank.
Unique Contacts and Opportunities
Video conferencing allows companies to cooperate with businesses all over the globe. There is no need to spend weeks of valuable time traveling to a specific location for negotiations. All you need is a reliable video conferencing platform and some basic equipment.
Students don’t need to leave their whole life behind to study at their dream university. They can now do it online, thanks to video conferencing platforms. It is possible to learn unique skills and get exposed to diverse cultures and opinions without spending anything on travel.
It is especially important for students from locations with limited access to education. In this regard, video conferencing fulfills the necessary humanitarian function. The possibilities are indeed endless.
Disadvantages of Video Conferencing
Despite all the numerous pros, video conferencing is not without its drawbacks. Let’s discuss some of them:
Less Personal Contact and Understanding
About 55% of our understanding comes from body language. Even though video conferencing allows people to see each other, it cannot always recreate real live communication. The truth is various signs, gestures, and indications are difficult to detect via a screen. It is possible to misinterpret the gestures of the person you are video conferencing with because all you can see is a limited box with their face and a bit of their background.
Some of these drawbacks can be offset by simple tricks such as looking directly into the camera or making occasional hand gestures to show interest and excitement.
However, nothing can substitute a hearty handshake or an exchange of smiles. It is better to hold a traditional in-person meeting for important negotiations. Thus, your company can employ a mix of methods depending on the level of importance and sensitivity – online meetings for regular collaborations and in-person meetings for critical negotiations.
Network Instability and Time Lag
This is a common problem with video conferencing.
The connection may not always be perfect, which sometimes leads to blurry image transmissions and the loss of important visual cues. Sometimes you may not even hear other attendees, which is annoying at best and deal-breaking at worst. For instance, if you are holding an important meeting with a potential client or partner, the last thing you want is to be cut off halfway through your pitch or in the middle of a heated negotiation. It can result in frustration on the client’s part, which is never the best condition for having a meaningful discussion.
Furthermore, even with a perfect connection, a time lag is inevitable. That is why it is important to set the rules of video conferencing in advance. For example, only one person should speak simultaneously to avoid interruptions from other participants.
Technical Issues and Employee Training
Not everyone will be comfortable using a video conferencing platform from the get-go. Companies and universities must allocate time, money, and human resources to train their employees. However, even after thorough training, people will need days or even weeks to get used to the new mode of communication.
Training others on what to do and who to refer to when technical issues occur is necessary since these issues can disrupt important negotiations, exams, and quizzes. Usually, assistance can be obtained from the tech support of your chosen video conferencing platform.
More Stress and Less Organization
The ability to contact anyone anywhere at any time has an often-overlooked dark side.
When people know they can set up a video conference whenever they want, they are prone to being less prepared for it than for an in-person meeting.
As a result, employees might be forced to sit in conferences outside their working hours, trying to clean the mess that could have been prevented with more organization.
To avoid this scenario, managers need to monitor their subordinates and treat video conferences as seriously as regular meetings.
Companies must also set boundaries regarding when employees can be contacted outside their working hours.
Now that we’ve reviewed the pros and cons of video conferencing, you can make the right decision about using it in your education, career, or other areas. Many of these disadvantages can be reduced if you choose a video conferencing platform that is reliable, easy to use and incorporates quality features for better collaboration.
Video conferencing is a way to communicate with two or more people on the internet. Therefore, it would be best if you had a computer, camera, microphone, and browser to participate in a video conference on our platform.
There are many advantages of video conferencing, but the main ones are the ability to hold online meetings with your employees or business partners anytime from anywhere in the world. In addition, you do not need to rent conference halls and spend time on the road. Instead, conduct video conferences here and now with us with a few clicks!
The disadvantages include frequent technical problems associated with the Internet connection speed and quality or people’s device performance, especially on older hardware. Also, employees are less organized during video conferences due to the lack of live communication and occasional misunderstanding of the issues discussed.
Simplified online meeting and webinar software platform MyOwnConference — perfect for a work-wherever world. Life hacks, reviews, and tips for scheduling and preparing to hold and promote webinars and virtual conferences.