Thanks to the rise of the internet and high speed reliable broadband connections, web-conferencing, once the preserve of big business, is now available to small and medium firms. Working from home has become more common in recent years and the recession has seen a large number of individuals forced to rely on their own skills, setting up small businesses or working remotely. The costs involved with video conferencing have come down in recent years, making it a simple, feasible option for businesses to utilise. Apart from the obvious benefits of web conferencing in terms of cutting costs, it’s also an excellent way in which to connect teams working in different locations and allow for collaborative working whatever the location of your employees.
Staying in touch with colleagues – be that remote workers or those in different branches around the country – is made much simpler with group video conferencing. Travel costs are on the increase almost faster than utility bills and online conferencing is a great way to cut those costs. For small firms they offer financial benefits but for medium and larger firms, the savings can be significant. Getting a team together for project meetings from around the country – or even from different parts of the world – in the past involved travel costs and, potentially, accommodation costs. With this type of conferencing however, all of these are cut to zero. With increasing focus on corporate responsibility and a willingness on the part of many firms to cut their carbon footprint, video conferencing offers an ideal and socially responsible way to meet these aims. Web conferencing can also be used to conduct meetings with clients with all the cost saving advantages previously mentioned. While some meetings may be necessary on a face-to-face basis the number can be cut to significant, high profile ones.
The Right Person, The Wrong Place?
Finding the best employees and retaining the best you already have is a constant struggle for some firms. Family commitments can take employees away from the workplace for long periods of time, while the need to relocate can lose them permanently. Many firms invest heavily in training their staff and retaining these individuals can be an important part of your success. Web conferencing and video conferencing open several attractive options on this front. You can offer more employees the flexibility to be based at home; useful for those who need to balance work and family commitments. This can make all the difference, in some cases, between losing that highly skilled worker or keeping them. In addition, geographical restrictions to finding the best person for the job can be overcome. If the hottest talent in your field is at the opposite side of the globe and intends to stay there, the possibility for them to join your team can be real.
Communication is not all about words; while a conference call can be a cost-effective solution for many firms, humans communicate on both a visual and verbal level. Body language can often say a lot more than the words we speak, and video conferencing offers a more genuine, transparent way of communicating with colleagues and clients. It can create trust and help to cement working relationships in a way that an email, phone call or conference call simply cannot.
Time and Energy Saving
For small business owners web conferencing can offer a number of specific advantages. The cost savings are the obvious ones but in addition the time savings are incredibly important. Most small, or solo, business owners will be well aware of the ‘jack of all trades’ approach that is required to owning and managing your own firm. Using web conferencing allows you to connect with clients without having to find the time, the money, or spend hours on the road. The most important point here is that burning out can be easy when you are in charge of your own firm, the time saving and efficiency of web conferencing can be a useful tool to ensure that this doesn’t happen.
Cost Effective Online Tools
Finding the right conferencing software is also easier than in the past. Web based software offers by far the most cost effective solution for most firms. Easy to use – requiring little or no experience – many providers offer an online solution that also means no software downloads are required. You, and your employees, can have instant access to all the benefits that conferencing can offer, without the need for expensive travel or accommodation.