As more and more companies go remote first, video conferencing is becoming the norm. Using video to simulate an office makes it easier to engage with your teammates, build trust, and create a sense of camaraderie. While it may come with many perks, there are also some challenges to overcome. Having the right tools and knowledge, however, can make the process more seamless.
Disadvantages of video conferencing
Poor Internet connection
- Nothing’s more frustrating than your Internet connection going in and out, especially in an online meeting. In order to simulate the office, it is vital that you have plenty of bandwidth; otherwise, you’ll waste too much time just trying to connect to the call. Many people use Skype or Link, which require a lot of bandwidth. Other tools like Zoom and BlueJeans require less and the video quality is better.
Chaos in the background
- Lighting is something that many people don’t take into account. Science shows that if you’re backlit, the level of engagement decreases. If people only see your silhouette, they’re likely to lose interest in what you’re saying.
- Background noise is a distraction. If you’re out and about in public, if there are children screaming in the other room, or if a dog is barking it can be disruptive and annoying, especially if there’s more than one person on the line with bad background noise.
- A bed in the background, disarray, and people walking around behind you are all things that can also be off-putting and not very professional is some situations. If your room is your office, get a room divider and make sure you’ve tidied before hopping on that call.
- Nothing’s more irritating than someone fumbling around trying to figure things out. Be sure you know how to use the technology – headset, webcam, extra monitor and applications — well before the time of the meeting.
- Some people just don’t like to be on camera. While this may be challenging to overcome, it is important that you find ways to make it easier for you. Not engaging in the call might come across as disinterest and people may say you’re not a team player.
Limited amount of people
- When we’re video conferencing we can’t look around the room to connect with people the way we can if we’re in a conference room. Because of this, we have to limit the number of people on the call, usually to no more than 15, in order to make it interactive.
No etiquette on how to behave
- From eating to moving around, what’s acceptable to one might be offensive to another. There’s also the problem of people not knowing how to interject, which could cause interruptions. Creating a list of “do’s and don’ts” for your team is a great way to keep things running smoothly.
- Having too many virtual meetings and sitting in one place for too long can be exhausting. Unlike being in an in-person meeting, being online doesn’t allow you to look around and see different perspectives; you only have the view in front of you. It’s important to take breaks, walk around, and go out for some fresh air in between meetings.
- If you’re in an organization and you need to have everyone on a video conferencing system plus conferencing rooms equipped with these systems, the cost can start to creep up. This needs to be taken into considerations when you’re thinking about switching to online meetings.
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Graphic design by Alfred Boland