Among the many things that have turned on their heads in 2020, video conferencing takes the spotlight. Before COVID-19, video meetings were often seen as a last resort: whether it meant heading to a conference room for a group brainstorm or hopping on a plane to meet with clients, in-person meetings were still the gold standard.
That all changed with COVID-19, when everything from baby showers and weddings to performance reviews and AGMs went online. During just a single one-week period in March, at the beginning of lockdowns, global users downloaded a record 62 million video conferencing apps. And businesses are unlikely to ever go back.
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Sure, email may still be the preferred method of workplace communication across generations, and contact modes such as the telephone and team messaging may not require you to put on a clean shirt or brush your hair. Even so, the cold, hard data shows there’s nothing quite like video. Here are four stats that demonstrate why video conferencing is here to stay.
1. 93% of communication is non-verbal
There’s so much that words alone cannot express. Being able to hear tonal inflections and other vocal nuances may make the phone more effective than text-based communications, but there still tends to be a big piece missing from the picture—specifically body language.
Experts estimate that as much as 93% of the meaning imparted when we communicate comes from non-verbal cues. While vocal tone is indeed part of that, the greatest understanding is derived from body language, including both facial expressions, posture, and other visual information.
When we’re able to see the person we’re speaking with, psychologists say we subconsciously interpret signals such as agreement between a person’s voice, face, and body language more holistically. In combination, these sources of information make it easier to discern what’s really going on, helping us to respond appropriately or to probe for clarity when signals conflict.
2. 87% of people feel more connected to their teams on video
The need for social distance has made 2020 a lonely, isolating year for many individuals—and disconnected from the hub of office life, relationships with coworkers are one area that may suffer.
This lack of connectedness isn’t only a detriment to employee satisfaction and wellbeing (though it can take a big toll there too). When you consider that collaboration truly hinges on the interpersonal magic of teammates working together, it’s easy to see how the retreat to WFH could run the risk of eroding team productivity and innovation.
Though there are natural trust and rapport that comes from working in close personal contact on a regular basis, turning on the camera can be a critical way to overcome physical distance. In fact, 87% of workers report that they feel more connected to their teams when they use video.
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3. 66% of job candidates prefer an interviewing process that includes video
Video conferencing isn’t just for collaboration. The same things that make video an important tool for fostering connections between existing employees also make it a key part of the recruiting process.
Not only can video conferencing save travel costs associated with recruitment—according to research, two-thirds of job candidates actually prefer video interviews. Making a video interview an early part of the process is a way to leverage the nonverbal benefits of video over non-visual channels, helping both hiring managers and job candidates assess mutual fit early on in the process, before each side invests their time and other resources.
4. 55% of employers expect to offer remote work after COVID-19
If you’re thinking of remote work as an emergency stopgap for the pandemic, the previous stats might only be somewhat compelling. The good news is, both employers and employees have found remote work to be such a positive experience that 55% of businesses expect to make it a permanent option, whether on a full-time or hybrid basis.
This means that long after coronavirus, there will be a continued need for businesses to address some of the inherent challenges of distributed teams, and to find ways to enable better connections and collaboration between workers who may not be in the same location. Video will be critical to meeting this ongoing challenge.
A video-first workplace
In 2020, we discovered just how critical video is for helping relationships thrive. And with the rise of remote work, it’s safe to say video conferencing is also the must-have business tool of the future.
But there are some requirements for businesses to tap into the power of video. The top consideration? Video can’t be hard to use, and it can’t add more drag to workers’ days.
Many solutions are standalone, creating extra steps and work to find team members’ contact details, and to create and log into meetings. To enable better and more efficient connections, organizations need to find ways to reduce such barriers, making meetings on video as convenient as chatting by the watercooler used to be.
Employing an all-in-one unified communications solution can improve the ease of video conferencing and remove common pain points. With RingCentral, employees can communicate seamlessly across channels—and unlock the benefits of video conferencing with a single click.
Originally published Oct 27, 2020, updated Jan 18, 2023