The Internet has impacted the lives of most in the developed world. Many are now paying bills online, maintaining relationships with friends and family online and receive news and entertainment through online services. With ever-increasing Internet speeds and smaller, faster devices to access this information, the Internet is constantly becoming even more entrenched in society. Nowhere has this integration been more apparent than with business. Email and automated tools that help businesses have changed the nature of business substantially. One coming trend that many expect will become common in the future is virtual meetings.
What are Virtual Meetings?
Virtual meetings use webcams and screen sharing to run online meetings that replicate in-person meetings. Users can log on from any Internet-accessible location using a laptop, desktop or other device with a camera. These meetings replicate many of the advantages of in-person meetings while permitting additional flexibility for those involved. They can also allow businesses with multiple work sites to hold meetings without having to plan a time when all participants can converge at one location.
What are the Benefits of Virtual Meetings?
With the ubiquity of Wi-Fi and mobile data connections, participants can access these meetings from a growing number of locations. Particularly for businesses with staff that travels frequently, these features can increase meeting participation rates. Virtual meeting platforms often have ways for participants to share documents and presentation material that replicate the experience of charts and projections. Further, virtual meeting platforms are often integrated within larger business software suites, allowing users to make changes to collaborate documents while in the meeting itself.
Virtual Meetings and Green Business Practices
For businesses taking steps to make their businesses greener, virtual meetings can reduce the carbon production their meetings cause by reducing travel. As with many environmentally-friendly practices, reduced travel also reduces costs to the business. Virtual meetings can also cut back on paper usage by allowing documents to be shared on the screen and sent to the participants’ hard drives. Telecommuting is becoming popular for businesses as well; workers who telecommute most days can participate in these meetings without having to come to the office on a day that they would have otherwise spent working from home.
Virtual meetings are already being used by many forward-thinking businesses. As the Internet continues to boom, managers and other staff can expect these meetings to become standard for all businesses that operate outside of the nine-to-five, single work site paradigm of the past.