10 Benefits of Virtual Meetings Over In-Person Meetings

2 min read

May 22, 2024

With the majority of workers now back in offices on at least a hybrid work basis, conventional wisdom says there is nothing better for team collaboration than a face-to-face setting. That means everyone is in the same place at the same time, where the familiar presence of those you trust as teammates and the nuances of body language can be fully embraced. Remote work still lingers with concerns of social isolation, lack of engagement, and doubts and challenges regarding direct supervision and measuring effort and performance.

If you already work on a globally distributed team, you likely find virtual meetings using collaboration tools with remote teammates the norm. Even working locally, with the on-demand gig economy, many professionals find themselves on teams with people they have never met. But still, it works—often very well.

Before lamenting the loss of the personal touch of ‘being there,’ take stock of the possibilities virtual teams bring us and the collaborative technology solutions enabling remote teamwork. With today’s cloud-based tools, we can easily create a rich team communication experience via high-definition video, audio conferencing, content sharing, and web collaboration—virtually anywhere, on any network or device.

So, here are 10 ways virtual meetings may produce better experiences and results than conventional in-person meetings.

1. More Focus on Business Content

In a virtual setting, the focus is on the business content at hand—what is being discussed and shown—not on the physical presence, appearance, and distracting behaviors of those sitting around us or the environment surrounding or passing by the meeting room.

2. Higher Participation Rates

Your results may vary, but some team members may feel more apt to contribute to the virtual conversation (via voice, text, or content sharing) than a physical meeting. This helps mitigate the focus of ‘all eyes,’ which can be intimidating and yield silence among those less than extroverted.

3. Fewer Logistical Challenges

Virtual meetings require less planning for location and travel logistics, can be set up more quickly, and can take place anywhere without travel costs (not to mention being a greener option).

4. Less Disruption

People can be added and dropped as needed quickly; participants can arrive late or leave early with minimal, if any, disruption to the group. In contrast, it is relatively complex (if not impossible) to physically bring in ad-hoc participants on the fly.

5. Increased Diversity

With modern collaboration tools, you have more ready access to collective knowledge, specialized skills, and creativity regardless of where your people are located—even if they are mobile or traveling. Meanwhile, co-located team members may have a more common experience, culture, knowledge, or background, which may seriously limit the diversity of input.

6. Reduced Stress

When your team members don’t have to endure daily commuting to and from the office, their moods may be lighter, and stress levels may be lower. This may lead to happier people coming together to accomplish common goals rather than thinking about traffic jams and crowded transit systems.

7. Fluid Content Sharing

Traditionally, face-to-face meetings are often limited to predefined content immediately at hand, whereas in a virtual setting, anyone can instantly share relevant content. This fluidity of dynamically sharing digital content is hard to replicate in a face-to-face team setting.

8. Minimal Side Conversations

The inevitable virtual side conversations via the text chat backchannel are far less disruptive than the physical passing of notes or distracting whispered conversations in a meeting room. How often in face-to-face meetings have we heard someone call out, “People, let’s have one meeting in the room, please!”. With virtual meetings, that problem is largely alleviated.

9. Fewer Germs

Given the cold and flu season, no one has ever caught a bug from attending a virtual meeting. Your workforce may remain healthier and more productive with fewer sick days.

10. No Fighting over Conference Rooms

And… being virtual means you don’t have to find and book that scarce meeting room and ensure enough chairs!

Embracing Virtual Collaboration for Improved Team Performance

For those who have used them, today’s collaboration tools can re-create a face-to-face scenario's richness, immediacy, and immersive nature—and potentially deliver a lot more on other less apparent dimensions but still have a real impact. We can now break through the limitations of the conventional “walled” meeting room by fluidly including those who are mobile, off-site, in other countries, or even on different continents—tapping the collective skills, diversity, expertise, and authority of the greater community. Plus, teams thrive on relevant content and information that can be shared seamlessly in a virtual setting to enable easier information sharing, faster decision-making, and real-time content collaboration that is difficult to replicate in a traditional meeting room scenario.

Given the reality of today’s flexible work lifestyles and distributed teams, it is time to set aside conventional wisdom that face-to-face teams are always the ideal situation for team performance.

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