In the not-so-distant past, videoconferencing and other remote collaboration tools were a bit of a novelty, deemed helpful but not altogether necessary in the world of enterprise communications.
Oh how times have changed. In 2016, as much as 43 percent of working Americans claimed to have spent at least part of their workdays engaging remotely1, meaning videoconferencing and other online collaboration solutions are not only must-haves but also potentially a competitive differentiator in uber-competitive, highly commoditized global markets. Today, everyone is looking for ways to work smarter, leaner, deliver better solutions faster and at lowest cost.
In addition to these drivers, another reason companies’ have been embracing online meeting solutions relates to the ability to retain top talent. Millennials and other employees under age 40 have been using social media and online video apps enough in their private lives that they've come to expect the same functionality from their “day jobs." One recent study noted that approximately 82 percent of Millennials surveyed said how technologically savvy a potential workplace was would impact their decision to accept a new opportunity2. In addition, it should come as no surprise that the easier you make remote collaboration, the shorter you make the route to significant boosts in efficiency and productivity.
So you know you need an effective meeting solution and other collaboration tools, but where do you begin?
When starting the information-gathering part of choosing online collaboration tools, you first have to understand the options available. A recent Gartner report identified four main types of meeting solutions 3:
Unfortunately, as these systems change and evolve, many organizations find themselves piecemealing together a solution and looking for ways to integrate already existing technology with newer, better systems. This method puts the burden on employees to learn and remember disparate scheduling tools, workflows and procedures for joining a meeting. This can lead to user frustration and ultimately, staff frustration as the IT department is then tasked with additional help desk requests and real-time assistance to help videoconferencing users join online meetings, for example.
When comparing meeting room solutions, you'll want to invest significant research time in assessing the types of meetings your organization needs and then exploring the systems available. Which staff members rely on informal online collaboration and ad hoc discussions? Which teams need access to a reliable content-sharing system with global dial-in numbers? Is there a need for remote classroom training sessions? Does your company conduct mass shareholder meetings online?
When remote work was first being touted as the next big thing, one of the more-often cited perks pertained to the amount of time and cost saved by not having to travel to meetings. And while that's inarguably a plus, today there are a number of other benefits that remote work and online collaboration tools make possible: Organizations that have reliable, intuitive online collaboration tools are more likely to attract top talent. There can be significant cost savings attributed to fewer “real estate" requirements for office space (which also reduces the company's environmental footprint). The rate of turnover for employees who can work remotely tends to be lower. And with the continued evolution of online meeting solutions, there's no longer a loss of functionality associated with a geographically dispersed workforce.
If you'd like more information on collaborative meeting room solutions, speak to a Ricoh specialist.
Remote work is here to stay and finally, the online meeting solutions are featuring information sharing and real-time editing capabilities required to fully support it.
Want to learn more? Look for the upcoming blog, in which we'll take a deeper dive into how to choose the right meeting solution for your organization.
Tom D'Arcy is the Workplace Innovation Specialist for Ricoh USA Enterprise Services. Tom joined Ricoh in January 2017 and has 25+ years of experience providing enterprise-class technology solutions to the Fortune 500. He is engaged in vital sales pursuits, as well as tasked with enhancing the Workplace Service portfolio. Tom is responsible for gathering the voice of the customer and assuring Ricoh's solutions align with customer business priorities.
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1. Niraj Chokshi. "Out of the Office: More People Are Working Remotely, Survey Finds." The New York Times. Feb. 15, 2017.
2. Daniel Newman. "Six Reasons Millennials Are Pushing for Smarter Workplaces." Forbes. March 23, 2018.
3. Mike Fasciani and Adam Preset. "How to Pick the Right Meeting Solution and Save Money." Gartner. April 10, 2018.