Conference calls and conference call transcription are being increasingly adopted by businesses looking to cut down on travel while keeping productivity levels high. This working strategy is also an environment-friendly one because it contributes to reduced carbon emission. Conference calls and remote meetings have become a crucial part of everyday business activities. They become useful when decisions need to be made quickly or when a matter needs immediate attention. In fact, conference calls can be made at affordable rates, and this adds to their practical appeal.
Globalization, flexible working, and productivity improvement are all forces that have led to growth in the sector. A report from Wainhouse Research says that around 200 billion minutes are being spent on conference calls every year at present. Conference calls are being used in many organizations but some drawbacks exist such as poor quality of calls, misinterpretation of messages that can lead to poor decision making and so on. A survey conducted by Research Now on 1,000 UK and US conference callers revealed the following important facts regarding this form of communication:
- 81% of those surveyed said the productivity was negatively impacted by issues related to people joining the call, tracking down and waiting for missing guests, and dealing with various disruptions such as background noise and other issues.
- 75% of participants thought that these issues had a negative impact on their ability to focus on the meeting, and participating actively.
- 13 minutes are wasted on a typical conference call due to typical disruptions. It resulted in 66 billion minutes of wasted productivity every year. Billions of dollars are spent on wasted productivity each year in the UK and US alone.
Conference calls suggest an official remote working policy for the organization. How can employers implement such a policy and still ensure high productivity? How can they monitor workloads and progress of their remote workers?
- The first thing to ensure is clear communication among all participating team members. There should be a formal internal communications plan for the team during the remote working periods. This kind of communication should be clearly defined and include simple tools such as Slack group or WhatsApp; or the team’s mobile numbers should be made available. Messaging apps are much quicker and more effective than an email when it comes to quick questions and updates.
- Foster a great team culture: A remote team could feel isolated, which makes it all the more important to ensure team rapport. All members in the team must be involved as often as possible so that each of them feels that he/she is contributing to the overall success of the team. This can be achieved via progress updates, team highlights and quick roundup emails. A messaging channel can be opened to encourage dialogue that is not work related. This will breed a community feeling, which can be further enhanced with face-to-face team meetings.
- Create a culture of trust: Employers often feel that in a remote and flexible working style, employees may not be as productive. However, many employees believe that they would be more productive working remotely, avoiding the hassles of travel and time spent traveling to their offices. Employers can create trust by believing in their employees, and empowering them to manage their own time, working in a manner that best suits them. In such a culture of trust, everyone is motivated to do well and prove themselves. Clear targets and deadlines become more significant when employees are managing their own time.
- Utilize technology optimally. Instant messaging platforms, collaborative working tools, and free conference call technology are all important when it comes to a remote working strategy. Employers should make sure that their employees are efficient in technology. They should be trained in the ins and outs of the company software they will be using on a daily basis. This would help the calls to go smoothly without waiting time for those considering how to join, or delays involved when trying to add people to the conversation.
The Research Now survey mentioned earlier found that 99% of participants didn’t always know who were on their calls, with 60% considering this lack of security to be the norm. Breach in security can turn serious if there is intentional unauthorized access, or even if the access is accidental with people joining the wrong call at the right time or the right call at the wrong time. Such situations can be risky and embarrassing. This calls for more stringent security measures in place when holding conference calls.
Organizations must understand that the underlying cause of security issues is the “dialing in” to calls with numbers and codes. When a participant joins a conference in this manner, there is a lack of visibility as to who is on the call and also as to who is listening. This security issue can be addressed in a cloud-enhanced workplace. Attendees can click on a link in the invite, and enter their name and phone number. They can have the meeting “dial out” to them on demand. In such a procedure, the attendee is taken to a web page where they can see who the meeting participants areas well as the speaker. It ensures visibility, security, and control. Just as the “cloud” provides more security for conference call transcription, it can also ensure maximum security for business conference calls and more productivity.