I’ve said on many occasions that video conferencing can prove beneficial for the teamwork and productivity of virtual teams. But if my vague explanations of “better collaboration” and “improved communication” aren’t enough to convince you, research conducted by the Fraunhofer (News - Alert) institute has found some statistics that show just how many people are benefiting from video conferencing.
Research from Fraunhofer studied teams taking on similar tasks at different locations, then polled them on their experiences.
The result was clear: videoconferencing made a big difference in productivity, communication and teamwork.
Out of the participants, 70 percent of them found themselves more willing to join in group conversations when video conferencing, while 60 percent also felt that the discussions were more open as a result of being able to see the other participants, rather than just hear their voices or see messages from them.
As a result, team spirit also improved. While participants communicating via phone and e-mail might feel like someone separated from the group, with several assignments tossed at them, those communicating through video much more commonly felt like they were really a part of a team and truly collaborating.
Not only that, but around 75 percent of them felt the decisions they reached through videoconferencing really felt like agreements and joint decisions, rather than those reached over phone and e-mail.
Of course, there’s also the clearness of communication that video provides. Nearly 80 percent of the participants said being able to see with whom they’re communicating made the communication easier and more effective, allowing them to concentrate for longer.
After all, it’s harder to get distracted by a game of “Angry Birds” when everyone can see you, and vice-versa.
“Our study found that video collaboration enables effective teamwork - as a genuine group process,” said Dr. Josephine Hofman of the Fraunhofer Institute. "A majority of participants said they were able to concentrate for longer - whereas telephone conferences are stressful and make them switch off. This will have a positive impact on things like motivation, acceptance of the decision and willingness to contribute."
Thus, we can clearly see the benefits that video conferencing has provided the groups in this study. They could work together better, for a longer amount of time, and had improved meetings and teamwork as a result.
There are those still questioning if videoconferencing is really that necessary, but for virtual teams, the benefits are clear.
Edited by Braden Becker