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I’ve been living and working in Austria for over three years now. I have a colleague in the Netherlands. Together we still support people over there in their change to remote work and flexible work. 

Being based in Linz and Amsterdam, we’re now the living proof of our remote teamwork practice. One of the main reasons we manage to make it work is our weekly mid-morning meeting through video conferencing.

Without fail, we sit down once a week for a chat through Skype or Google Hangout. We always check in with each other on a personal level first and only move on to discussing our goals after that. Finally, we decided on our actions for the following week. This way, it’s just like sitting at the same table, which is why it works so well for us.

Because we reap the benefits of video conferencing every week, we’re happy to share the most important benefits with for your remote team:

1. Video meetings save you commuting time

As long as you can find a hotspot to log onto, you’re free to take your video conference anywhere. Whether you’re at home or somewhere else quiet; there is no need to travel to the office to attend a meeting. So, skip those traffic jams and use your time and travel fare much better. If you work within an international team, regular video meets keep you connected and can even eliminate the need for frequent flights.

traffic jam video conferencing
How do you spend your morning: traffic jam or toast with jam?

2. Video conferencing increases the productivity of your team

Traditional meetings often start late, with the first ten minutes taken up by late arrivals, coffee orders and catch-ups. This is detrimental to a video meeting: if people walk in and out, focus plummets. Preparation and concentration are vital – which means video meetings end up being more effective than their physical equivalents*. It enables a focused discussion with a clear beginning and end.

Research from 2013 shows that 94% of people who attend video meetings on a regular basis feel it improves productivity.

3. Using video more often contributes to teamwork

Most teams don’t utilize the power of video meetings. They feel the system is “impersonal” because all attendees are not in the same room at the same time. And we wouldn’t disagree. However, compared to a phone conversation or email exchange, video conferencing is actually the more personal option. Because of the setting of a video conference, participants are more alert and involved in the conversation. Unlike phone and email, video allows us to register facial expressions and non-verbal communication. Teams that are involved in video conferencing feel decisions made during these meetings are more inclusive, and the system contributes to a true sense of teamwork.

4. Face-to-face anytime, anywhere

Wherever you are, whenever you need some face time – video conferencing can make all the difference. Involve your colleague who works from home, bridge that gap with your international remote team team, or create a better connection with your suppliers and clients. A video chat is just as quick as an email, but a lot more personal.

Recently, when looking at a specific course to attend, the course leader suggested I contact them through Skype directly. Within minutes, we spoke face-to-face. They didn’t just answer my questions, but immediately created a great first impression of the training – and the start of a strong personal bond.

But what about that con?

Of course, it’s not all plain sailing: sometimes it’s the tech that puts the ‘con’ in video conferencing. Although it can be frustrating, we find practice makes perfect and having a shared technological enemy can create an instant connection. So, if something goes wrong, remember that the benefits far outweigh any (initial) struggle. Soon you’ll find you’re gaining time and working better together.

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Categories: Online collaboration

Saskia Langenberg

Saskia Langenberg is the founder of Mindshake. With consulting and coaching she helps managers to build great remote teams. And remote workers to have a happy and productive work-life.

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