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When I ask people in a remote team what they miss most compared to being in the same office with their co-workers, they always tell me: ‘the face-to-face contact.’

Remote team members have to work together from a distance. They miss sitting next to their colleagues and asking them a casual business question. Or running into each other at the water cooler and having a non-work related chat.

“Most teams still mainly use email and phone as means of communication”

If you work together from a distance, you have several different media available for communication. However, most teams still mainly use e-mail and phone as their go-to tools. As if nothing has changed compared to the old days.

Let me inspire you with four reasons to start using video chat as often as possible in your online collaboration.

1.Using video chat 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 I 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.

2. 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 remote workHow do you spend your morning: traffic jam or toast with jam?

3. 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.

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, 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 stronger 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.

Would you like some more tips on how to engage your remote team members? Get the free guide ‘3 fun & easy ways to build relationships in a remote team’.

Image source traffic jam: Life of Pix,

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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