Last year at this time, we issued a challenge through the headline of one of our posts: “Video Meetings Are on the Rise: Are You Rising to the Occasion?” The same question applies today more than ever.
“With millennials passing up texting for Snapchat and TV for streaming services like Hulu, video has become a pervasive part of everyday life,” writes Beth Stackpole in a recent article for Computerworld. “As video gains traction in people’s personal lives, they come to expect a comparable experience in their work environment – much like what happened with the BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) movement for smartphones and tablets…”
And small to mid-size businesses (SMBs) are no exception to this modern rule.
“The advent of professional-grade, user-friendly video products for the desktop, along with new SaaS-based video offerings, has been a game changer for small and mid-sized organizations,” Stackpole reports, adding that many SMBs shied away from video solutions in the past due to budgetary constraints or a lack of technical employees to handle the complex systems.
But in the age of digital transformation, those obstacles are falling by the wayside (and IT Managed Service Providers [MSPs] are accelerating the process.)
“As videoconferencing platforms become optimized or self-service, it’s bringing down the barriers related to the cost and difficulty of implementing the technology,” Forrester Research analyst Nick Barber told Stackpole. “It’s far easier to scale and deploy videoconferencing when you don’t need to buy, install and manage extra hardware.” So, now, the greater challenge is adopting an organizational culture that’s comfortable with “on-camera communications.” Stackpole talked to experts at several video-savvy companies. Here’s what they recommend:
- Start at the Top – Driving video-friendly culture is easiest from the top down. If SMB leaders use video communications, employees will follow suit.
- Establish Rules of Etiquette – List best practices for collaborating by video, such as keep backgrounds professional, dress appropriately (no pajamas), pay attention to lighting, use the mute button for courtesy, etc.
- Maintain One-on-One Connections – In addition to group meetings and project collaboration, encourage using video for colleague-to-colleague interaction. For example, remote workers making daily check-in calls should start connecting with supervisors by video link.
- Continually Refine Systems for Greater Engagement – There’s no secret formula for building a comfort level with video across an organization. So, the best course is continuing to experiment with new service elements that foster engagement. For example, one company mentioned in the Computerworld article allows employees to customize their video streams with content such as news items.
- Aim for Ubiquity – If widespread adoption is the objective, then a video solution should work whenever and wherever staff needs it. "If you only solve for the desktop, your users won't use it. … If video isn't a part of every conference room space, you users won't use it,” Lori Wright of Blue Jeans Network advised Stackpole. “If you believe in the power of video, then build for video to be available everywhere."