Benefits of Virtual Meetings
A virtual meeting is one that takes place in cyberspace instead of taking place around a conference table. There are numerous benefits to using virtual meetings as opposed to traditional meetings.
Virtual meetings are budget friendly. As your company decides to shift from traditional meetings to virtual ones, you will notice an almost instant increase in your available funds. First, travel expenses are erased as the need to pay travel expenses for attendees becomes obsolete. Such expenses include those for hotels, transportation or meal allowances.
In fact, virtual meetings attendees usually don't leave their normal work space. After the meeting, they can return immediately to work, saving lost production time as well. It also saves the expense of hiring temporary help to cover for staff members attending the virtual meeting as these employees never have to leave their offices. Some companies may want to hire extra help to cover for those engaged in a series of virtual meetings. However, the cost will still be less than if your employees had to attend a traditional meeting because there is no travel time to consider.
Furthermore, an employee that is in route to a traditional meeting has a productivity level of zero. Of course, this negatively affects overall productivity for the company. Small to medium sized companies, where every employee is vital, experience this benefit from the virtual meetings. Again, productivity remains constant, because after the meeting, employees can go right back to work.
In addition to the payroll savings, companies can save office and a furniture expense as there is no need to rent a space or purchase conference furniture for a virtual meeting. Because virtual meetings can be held anywhere, the expense of an elaborate conference room is unnecessary. Instead, companies can set up extra workstations for employees.
When scheduling a traditional meeting, organizers must try to figure out the logistics involved in gathering the necessary participants for the meeting. This usually takes a considerable amount of time, especially when orchestrating an international or cross-country meeting. In addition, schedulers must consider the impact of inclement weather on a traditional meeting. If a participant is delayed, then the meeting is delayed as well. In some cases, the meeting must be cancelled and then rescheduled causing a loss on travel expenses for the employees who already made it to the meeting location, any fees spent on equipment and locations rentals. The lost productivity is as well, is much more of a loss in these situations, because of the time lost on the cancelled day and the future loss on the rescheduled date.
A virtual meeting, however, requires very little effort to schedule. The organizer simply sets up a meeting time. Then the other participants are informed. Scheduling conflicts are usually taken care of quickly, because, again, the meeting can be held anywhere there is a computer. For example, virtual meeting scheduled during an employee's vacation is not a problem. While interrupting vacation isn't ideal, it is a better alternative than to make the participant reschedule the vacation. Inclement weather and other issues, such as personal problems, don't have much of an impact on virtual meetings. Unless there is a catastrophe, such as a devastating hurricane or other disaster, the virtual meeting can continue uninterrupted.
Teamwork and Diversity
Virtual meetings enable teams to work together, regardless of each member's location. Contrary to traditional meetings, virtual meetings allow people to connect from numerous locations within the company, including employees that live in remote areas and those who telecommute. These people from diverse locations can come together, making their individual contribution to the project. As a result, companies encourage teamwork and a more diverse workforce as all employees can work on the same types of projects, communicating in real time.
It is easy to include last minute participants in virtual meetings. When hosting a traditional meeting, it is difficult to include a last minute participant. Additional seating, accommodations and handouts for the added participant must be found. In a virtual meeting, the person logs onto the meeting without worrying about accommodations, travel arrangements or any other logistical concerns. They can also join without interrupting a meeting already in progress. Because of this, virtual meetings are ideal tools for training new employees, especially for companies that have a high new hire rate or employees in varied locations.
The list of benefits from virtual meetings over those of traditional meetings is long. A virtual meeting is generally more relaxed than a traditional meeting. The participants are free to wear comfortable clothes and move about freely. This means that the participants are less likely to fall asleep or become disinterested in the presentation. Virtual meetings also inspire creativity, reflect positively on the organizing company, allow for greater collaboration and so on. Their benefits outweigh those of a traditional meeting, thus virtual meetings are taking over as the type of meeting more and more companies want to host.