To compete in the global marketplace, businesses must constantly look for ways to streamline operations, reduce costs and boost productivity. This is particularly important in an economic or industry downturn when they often have to perform at their best simply to survive. A growing number of companies are discovering that web conferencing can save them time and money, improve internal and external communications and stimulate their business. If you’re not already using web conferencing, you may be missing out on a technology that can make a real impact on your bottom line.
Web conferencing has many advantages over in-person meetings. These are some of the ways web conferencing can benefit your business:
Meetings take a lot of time – to arrange, to get there and back and to sit through. Web conferencing can save time in all of these areas.
Some web conferencing solutions allow you to manage meeting notification and registration on-line. Many of the tasks of arranging a meeting are automated, including sending out meeting reminders and collecting feedback from the meeting. For large meetings, the timesavings can be significant.
Obviously, web conferencing saves time by eliminating travel because you attend meetings where you are. This can save hours or days if the meeting is in another town. Even if the meeting is just in the building next door or up two floors and down the hall, getting there and back takes time that could otherwise be spent doing something useful.
Also, web conferencing tends to make meetings more efficient and productive, and that can lead to fewer and shorter meetings.
Everyone knows how expensive travel can be, and in an economic downturn, it’s one of the first costs companies cut. Even in good times, most companies are careful with their travel expenses.
Comparing the cost of travel versus the cost of web conferencing is difficult because travel costs vary so much. There’s no real comparison in any case; it’s safe to assume that travel costs are at least one or two orders of magnitude higher than web conferencing costs, and the difference grows quickly for large meetings. One thing is certain: travel costs continue going up while competition is driving the cost of web conferencing down
This isn’t to say that travel and face-to-face meetings aren’t necessary. They’re great for establishing personal rapport and building relationships. Sometimes, you have to go on-site to fix a problem. Some people like to travel and see it as a job perk that contributes to job satisfaction. For most companies, however, a large portion of travel can be eliminated by web conferencing, saving many thousands of dollars annually.
A worldwide 2005 Microsoft Office online survey2 found that workers spent an average of 5.6 hours each week in meetings. In that same survey, 69% said meetings aren’t productive. Given that 25 million meetings take place daily in the U.S. alone3 , a lot of productivity is lost.
Web conferences provide a structure that encourages good meeting practices such as starting and ending on time and sticking to the subject. You have complete control over the content and execution of the meeting. The result is that web conferences accomplish more in less time.
Perhaps the biggest productivity improvement from web conferencing is the meetings that wouldn’t have been held otherwise. Ad-hoc and collaborative meetings can be called nearly instantaneously, bringing key players together from a variety of locations to address critical issues, solve immediate problems, or discuss unexpected opportunities.
Expand Your Reach
With web conferencing, you can meet with anyone, anytime, anywhere. This means you can work from home or any other remote location and still attend meetings you would otherwise miss. And if you have prospects, customers, or operations in other parts of the world, you can meet with them whenever you want, without the time and expense of travel.
Best of all, the convenience of web conferencing can attract an audience that you might not otherwise reach due to travel restrictions, time constraints, or work priorities. Logging into a web seminar is much easier than attending an actual seminar, for example.
According to the International Civil Aviation Organization, a passenger traveling roundtrip between San Francisco and Chicago generates 550.76 kg of CO2 emissions4 . Getting to and from the airport in both cities can easily generate another 44 kg or more5 . Multiply this by the number of people traveling in your company and the number of trips they take each year, and the environmental impact of business travel becomes obvious – and a little scary.
While reducing your carbon emissions may not have a direct impact on your company’s bottom line, it does have an impact on the environment’s bottom line. If that’s important to you, using web conferencing is something you can feel good about.
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