Video-First Culture: Critical to Better Remote Communications and Meeting Success

In May, NPR reported that about one-third of Americans were working from home because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Chances are the arrangement isn’t changing anytime soon, and that means committing to remote meetings with co-workers, clients and other colleagues for the long haul.

As many newly remote workers can attest, this adjustment has come with significant challenges. Communication in the form of body language and facial expressions can be lost when people aren’t face to face with each other. When communication is lost, productivity is likely to go down as well. The same goes for trust.

However, video conferencing solutions provide the next best thing to being in person. And by adopting a video-first culture, you can enable your employees to better communicate remotely and give them the tools (and culture) needed to have productive meetings ‒ regardless where they’re being held.

The benefits of video-first

I can see you grimacing – if I have to work from home, I don’t want to get on camera! I want to wear my PJs! Can’t you just send an email?

Unfortunately, non-video forms of communication just aren’t as productive. Fifty-five percent of communication takes place through body language. Although emails are a great way to communicate, they can be misinterpreted. Phone calls, too, are an effective communication tool but lack body language and facial expressions that employees get through video calls.

Video calls are interactive and engaging. Think how a supervisor’s smiling face, verbal “great job” and a video high-five can have a more positive impact than a “great job” in an email. Or how having a quick cup of coffee with co-workers on video might not be the same as sharing a mug in the break room – but it comes close.

Improved productivity and sense of community are both key reasons why video-first is the right policy. But one other note: adopting a video-first culture now will also help your employees adjust to a new reality that won’t just end after we have a vaccine. A Gartner survey found that even after the pandemic is behind us, almost three-fourths of CFOs plan to permanently utilize remote work for some employees.

Three tips for video success

So you’ve decided to adopt a video-first culture. Fantastic! Now you have to master it. Although many companies are much more familiar and comfortable with video conferencing tools than they were five months ago, here are three tips to consider for video success:

  • Remind employees to look straight at the camera – if you’re working from a tablet, the other person is likely peering up your nose as your head is higher than the camera. However, if you prop your computer up on a pile of books, you can forget about comfortable typing. Investing in a Bluetooth keyboard or a camera that can go on top of the monitor allows you to look straight at the person you’re speaking with.
  • Practice what you preach – employees are much more likely to adopt and use video conferencing tools if their supervisors do. So, when possible, lead meetings through video and show empathy if a toddler or pet wanders into view on the other end. Also, start meetings off on the right foot by sharing something positive and asking employees to do the same.
  • Check in with staff often – Keeping employees engaged during this unprecedented work-from-home period is critical. Take the time to schedule a quick video chat with employees weekly, if possible, to see what challenges they’re facing and accomplishments they’ve made.

Video improves working from anywhere

By moving to a video-first culture, you can help your remote team stay connected, high-spirited and productive. Video enables communications – including body language and facial expressions – to continue as if your entire team was meeting in the office like it once did.

Even when the pandemic is in the rear-view mirror, working in-office is not always practical or possible. Since much of our staff is geographically dispersed, RoomReady grew up organically using remote tools and adopting a video-first mindset. With more than half of our staff spread out across the states, we know without a doubt that remote meetings – and remote work in general – can be successful with the right technology.

For more information, watch a replay of our Remote Working: Optimizing a Video-First Culture webinar here.

Phillip McArdle

Chief Heart Officer