The COVID19 pandemic has changed a lot about the way we work, and it’s likely that some of the changes will stay with us even after the virus has passed. Virtual conferencing is probably one of them. Here’s how to make the most of it.
Social distancing has created conditions where high quality, reliable communications technologies are essential if businesses want to connect with their clients and customers and continue to compete with their competition. Are your communications technologies pulling their weight at this critical time?
Losing 29 minutes per week
According to a recent survey by EPOS, the average worker is losing up to 29 minutes of productivity per week due to poor sound quality on calls and conferencing. It’s something your employees are acutely aware of, and they’re trying to make up the difference. But there’s no way to avoid lost time when you have to repeat questions, ask for clarification, or send supplemental emails to ensure that information is communicated clearly. And this wasted time adds up quickly. Businesses with more than 50 employees risk losing more than $35,000 per year in lost revenue due to audio issues.
Outdated or low quality audio technology, background noise, a low quality internet connection, and a loud working environment are all cited as reasons for experiencing poor sound. The consequences can be considerable for a company’s bottom line, especially in any business where fine margins could make the difference between a company surviving or going under. One in three decision makers say technology issues are the reason they avoid using video for conference calls. These days, asking ‘What?’ is costing your business real dollars!
We’re all painfully familiar with the issues raised in the EPOS report: the embarrassment of having to ask your boss or coworkers to repeat themselves (or being too frightened not to); booming background noise that makes it difficult to hear in a meeting; and the anxiety and frustration caused by static and broken conversations. The more we work remotely, the more of a problem it becomes.
Luckily there are ways to mitigate these problems. Seventy-nine percent of company decision makers believe that quality audio equipment can be an effective antidote to poor-quality sound, and they’re absolutely right. It’s time to ditch the $10 ear buds everyone is complaining about and upgrade. Look for Unified Communications (UC) certified headsets and headphones – this means the product is optimized for use with computer hardware and software. Make sure it comes with noise cancelling technology, to reduce background noise and make speech clearer. Equally important is a high-quality microphone, so the listeners can understand you clearly.
Some useful tools
You’ll want your headsets to be compatible with UC conferencing platforms featuring HD video and audio, like Cisco Webex, Microsoft Teams, Zoom, GoTo Meeting, BlueJeans Meeting or Amazon Connect (to name a few). Make sure your conferencing software includes cloud services, capacity for dozens of on-screen participants and robust security features – which may include the use of a VPN. After that it’s really about which format best suits your business. Basically, the more video conferencing feels like an in-person meeting, the better.
A few other tips that can help with making video conferencing better for everyone include: Stick to company dress codes/standards, just as you would in person. Do what you can to ensure that your work place is clean, quiet, and uninterrupted during meetings. Position the camera so the focus is on you, without distracting/busy backgrounds. Provide adequate lighting, so everyone can see you clearly. And, last but not least, become a pro at using the “Mute” button. Use “mute” whenever you’re not speaking to avoid feedback and background noise that will affect everyone in the meeting. Just remember to unmute before making that critical point.