Meetings are a cornerstone of work, and that won’t change anytime soon. What has changed, however, in this year of unprecedented transformation, is how we meet.
Now that we’re mostly working at home, we’ve lost the ability to meet and connect face-to-face as we did in the office. What’s become the norm, instead, is conducting meetings over video.
This new normal introduces some interesting challenges. For example, how can we effectively communicate and collaborate when teams are so distributed? In the office, we simply met in a meeting room to hammer out ideas. That convenience simply isn’t available on video.
The new face of meetings
I have the pleasure of leading the product marketing team for RingCentral Video here at RingCentral. We’re experts on using unified communications tools to emulate the experience of working together in person. Those days of meetings in a conference room may seem like a long time ago, but that day will come again. Until then, business continues.
Video meetings today require a different approach. Here’s what that looks like:
1. Meetings must be secure for all types of interactions
Video meetings are being used for casual and formal business interactions. From chats by the proverbial water cooler to town hall meetings, video is our main form of intimate contact now that we work remotely.
Your meeting solution should be robust enough for board meetings, yet user friendly and fast enough for a “hallway chat”. This means super secure and immune to “bombing”, yet user friendly at the same time.
2. Meetings must be effortless to start
Hosting or joining a video meeting needs to be frictionless. This means it must be super simple to join a meeting and start conversations. Nothing to download, no long meeting codes, no buffering, no delays.
If starting a meeting takes too long, many people might get frustrated with the technology. This might inexplicably lead to people abandoning meetings altogether, or default to less collaborative forms of communication such as messaging or emails.
Frictionless means one click and you’re in, just as if you opened a conference room door and took a seat at the table. Everyone joins and is ready to go.
3. Meetings must have no time limits
Any artificial duration or feature that limits meeting durations is simply unacceptable. Imagine being in the middle of an important discussion when the video cuts off. Limiting meetings to arbitrary time limits can seriously hinder collaboration, and your teams deserve better.
Video meeting solutions should provide an unlimited duration for every call. Oftentimes, you just don’t know when you’ll need extra five minutes to wrap up and get that final point or action item across. No one wants to get cut off unexpectedly.
4. Meetings must be accessible from anywhere
Whether it’s from your home office, in your car, or even at the airport, meetings today can take place anywhere. Having access to the same features everywhere is now a key differentiator for any video solution.
For example, there were several times where I’ve had to leave my desk to grab a coffee in the middle of a meeting, which meant having to leave my headset and workstation behind. Luckily, RingCentral Video allows for switching devices with a single click so I’m able to take the meeting with me.
5. Meetings must have crystal-clear audio
While the ability to take meetings from anywhere is convenient, the ability to hear colleagues uninterrupted is critical. As we work remotely, we’re often surrounded by noises that get in the way of focused conversations.
That’s why audio has to be crystal clear— blocking unwanted sounds like home air conditioning systems or restless children in the background. It’s also important that meeting controls are super intuitive and easy to find. Users must be able to mute and unmute themselves with one click, while hosts must be able to mute participants.
6. Meetings must have the option of turning cameras on and off
Having a quick and simple button to turn video on and off is very important. Similarly, users should have the option of keeping video off from the start. You wouldn’t want teams to get distracted if a colleague’s cat keeps jumping on screen.
7. Meetings must be accessible via a mobile app
People don’t always work from home these days. Workers might take meetings while sending the kids to school or at an airport as they travel home for the holidays.
Video meetings should come with a powerful and feature-rich mobile app where teams can easily schedule and start meetings right from their phones. Ideally, the app offers all of the same functions as the desktop and web versions so employees have full access to context wherever they are.
Supporting the future of meetings
COVID-19 has redefined how we communicate and collaborate, and this new normal isn’t going anywhere.
In fact, video meetings will continue to be a significant aspect of our workdays, even after COVID-19. Fifty-five percent of employers expect to allow more flexible work in the future, where employees get to work remotely once or twice a week.
As video meetings continue to play a pivotal role in work and life, it’s important to pick the right video meeting solution. One that not only meets the needs of today’s unpredictable workplace, but also tomorrow’s collaborative needs.
Want to see how RingCentral Video prepares your organization for the future of work? Check out our website below.
Originally published Oct 28, 2020, updated Dec 30, 2022