Business isn’t personal – or is it? After all, in-person meetings are where relationships are built and deals are struck. But as organizations deal with the threat of the Coronavirus, they’re limiting contact among employees, customers and vendors, even though these steps might hinder productivity and have a detrimental effect on business growth. Suddenly, keeping employees healthy and maintaining business operations have become conflicting priorities.
The good news is most operations can continue uninterrupted – and people can still meet face to face – simply by using a familiar tool more often: business videoconferencing. Almost 60 percent of employers have increased the flexibility for employees to work from home (WFH), and as people move to home offices, video makes it possible for them to meet and collaborate. With solutions like Mitel Teamwork, included with MiCloud Connect, organizations can keep the lines of communication open and employees safe and on the job – even if the office itself is nearly empty.
If you’re not already on the videoconferencing circuit, take a look at our top three reasons why this communications technology is smart preventative medicine, and the four steps you should take to ensure your business is ready to video its way through any epidemic or pandemic.
3 reasons business videoconferencing is the best medicine
1. Affected employees stay out of the office
It’s pretty simple – if you’re sick, stay home. In cases such as the Coronavirus when extra precautionary measures are in order, employees should stay out of the office at the first sign of illness. Videoconferencing technology is a great option for those are only a bit sick. After all, employees with a slight cough or who feel a little under the weather may still feel up to working. Likewise, it’s also a good option for anyone who needs to stay home to tend to a sick family member. Either way, video allows employees to be home and at work simultaneously. The ability to join a video call with the single click of a button makes it easy to check in with customers or partners, resolve urgent issues and keep business personal. Employees can be present, meet face to face with colleagues, and continue to work as part of the team.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is making the following recommendations for employees:
Community-based interventions such as . . . event cancellations, social distancing, and creating employee plans to work remotely can help slow the spread of COVID-19.
2. Healthy workers avoid contamination
Many companies are encouraging employees to work remotely, even if they’re not sick. It’s simply one of the most effective ways to make sure they stay well and to contain the coronavirus. Twitter recently announced it’s encouraging all employees to work from home if they have the capability, and the company is optimizing work so it can be performed remotely. A record number of company transcripts (at least 65) referenced “work from home” or “working from home” in February, demolishing the previous record of eleven.
Naturally, business videoconferencing plays a large role in remote work, allowing employees to communicate with each other from the safety of their homes. Features such as screen sharing makes it feel as though you’re sitting right next to co-workers without having to worry about catching their cold (or worse).
3. The need for travel and in-person meetings is reduced
Travel restrictions are a given, since planes and trains foster too much physical contact and create breeding grounds for contamination. That in-person client meeting just isn’t going to happen right now. Videoconferencing makes that face-to-face encounter possible without the travel, keeping your employees and customers well. Using video rather than just an audio conference call shows your customers how much you value their business. It keeps the meeting more personal and engaging, encouraging collaboration and communication. MiCloud Connect conferencing even includes an agenda tracker, so meetings stay on course and focused on the task at hand.
Companies are also using videoconferencing to replace large gatherings such as in-person conferences and workshops. For instance, Facebook just announced the cancellation of a developers’ conference. Instead, the social media giant plans to use video and streaming content to encourage the exchange of ideas and information among its developer community.
47 percent of employers said they would cancel planned conferences for North American employees in selected countries (Source: Harvard Business Review)
4 steps to videoconferencing health
1. Implement video technology before you need it
It’s too late to turn to video after employees are down for the count. Healthy organizations already have videoconferencing technology in place as part of a well-rounded pandemic action plan. If your company is still thinking about whether you need videoconferencing, time is of the essence. Look for a vendor who can set up your system quickly and seamlessly, such as Mitel. An intuitive system makes it easy for employees to jump right in and start having video meetings as soon as possible.
2. Invest in the right business videoconferencing technology
Not all videoconferencing technology is created equal, especially when you plan on relying on video during times of sickness. A reliable provider can support high demand when the majority of your workforce is working remotely. MiCloud Connect, for example, is built on Google Cloud, providing superior reliability, security and scalability. Rich features such as screensharing and single click-to-join keep employees engaged and increase efficiency. Mix-and-match pricing makes allows you to add features as needed and to adapt to changing demand.
3. Develop a culture of video calls
Some people need a little time to get used to being on a video call. If you’re working from home, you may be accustomed to staying in your PJs. Or it may seem unusual to conduct what is normally an in-person meeting via video. The best way around this is to make video a regular part of the meeting process, even when infection is not an issue. Perhaps your standing weekly meeting becomes a videoconference once a month, or your typical audio conference call gets upgraded to video. Regular usage helps everyone become more comfortable with how to use the technology and how to behave.
Speaking of usage and behavior, there are a few key points to keep in mind. First and foremost, videoconferencing should not be difficult. Even a powerful solution with advanced features and functionality should be simple to operate. It’s still important to train employees, but the right solution doesn’t come with a steep learning curve. In fact, you may have to spend more time on etiquette training than on product usage. Key principles to keep in mind include dressing appropriately, staying focused on the meeting, and not eating while on a video call. If everyone follows basic etiquette rules, video meetings will be productive and positive.
No one likes being sick, and the uncertainty of where and when the Coronavirus will strike next has us all on edge. A powerful and robust collaboration tool with business videoconferencing from Mitel keeps employees, customers and clients happy and healthy, making it easy to get work done from anywhere. See for yourself how MiCloud Connect keeps you connected, in sickness and in health.