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Majority of today’s workforce prefer virtual meetings

Majority of today’s workforce prefer virtual meetings

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New research commissioned by Barco ClickShare on the future of meetings reveals that the majority of today’s workforce prefer attending tech-enabled remote meetings. With the nature of conferences continuing to evolve, Barco’s research delves into best-practices of meetings globally and highlights key trends.

Ramzi Itani, Vice President for Middle East and Africa at Barco

As virtual meeting rooms gain favour around the world with the integration of the latest technologies, a growing number of employees are choosing to save time and effort and join meetings remotely. The study indicates that 78 percent of the current workforce is happy to attend tech-enabled meetings, while 53 percent of all meetings today already involve attendees who join remotely.

The findings suggested the emergence of digital offices have led to changing workplace attitudes about where and how people should work. Employees surveyed admit to no longer preferring to attend traditional long-winded, formal and crowded meetings. Instead, they favour short, relatively informal and smaller meetings that they can join remotely as these enhance productivity. The study found that 74 percent of employees believe meetings with fewer participants are more efficient and would limit meetings to 30 – 35 minutes if only two to four people are attending.

Speaking on the study, Ramzi Itani, Vice President Middle East & Africa at Barco, said “Meetings are productive when they achieve specific goals. All too often, meetings consume significant amounts of time without solving problems or effectively sharing ideas. Over the last few decades, more and more companies – both multinational as well as regional – are modernising their meeting rooms to optimise efficiency. In a bid to become more agile, productive and efficient in the long run, business meetings have evolved from roundtable conferences to virtual meeting rooms that involve employees across the organisation spanning different time zones.”

He added “Through leveraging technology and adapting the Bring Your Own Device approach, businesses in the region are increasingly opting for solutions that improve flexibility, reduce costs and enhance connectivity for employees – making the transition into remote working a relatively easy one.”

While most employees enjoy the incentives that virtual and short meetings have to offer, some feel that it limits the potential to collaborate, thereby altering the overall meeting experience. 55 percent of remote participants find it difficult to contribute in and follow virtual meetings, while 45 per cent claim they feel disengaged and struggle to remain attentive when joining a meeting remotely.

Video conferencing, which was once a luxury restricted to bigger enterprises, has now become a necessity for businesses across the board. Unsurprisingly, 79 percent of millennials surveyed use audio-visual aids in meetings and over three-quarters agree that all meetings will involve video as standard practice in only three years’ time. Features such as screen sharing, large displays, whiteboards and touch screen panels have led 72 percent of employees to believe that meetings today are more effective and seamless than they were five years ago.

The survey respondents highlighted that they are happy to embrace and adopt new technologies, reflecting a change in the attitude of Baby Boomers, in particular. One in four employees (27 percent) said they ‘live in the digital world’, demonstrating high confidence in technology. Meanwhile, 47 percent claim to be comfortable using new technologies. As technology becomes more prevalent in today’s work places, employees have overcome their fears of security and now feel it is a convenient and safe option to help enhance their lives.

Barco Clickshare’s study also identified that within the next three years, 75 percent of typical meetings will use voice recognition technology. Meanwhile, 72 percent of meetings will leverage augmented reality or virtual reality to enhance collaboration among participants and 68 percent of all meetings are set to be coordinated by bots or avatars.

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