Increasingly, professionals value flexibility and time just as much as pay and benefits – if not more. This trend occurs simultaneously with the development of technology that allows employees to work from home. One drives the other, to the extent that a new Virgin Business Media study found that as much as 60 percent of U.K. office employees will work from home within the next decade, according to The Next Web. The influx of Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) and video conferencing devices allows staff to correspond with other company members and their clients without leaving the comfort of their kitchen tables.
"There's a change coming to the way we work," Tony Grace, Chief Operating Officer of Virgin Media Business, said in the study. "Remote working isn't anything new, but with technology providing the right tools for the job, the acceptance that it will soon be the norm is." He continued, "The growth in video and social media across corporate networks is also supporting this migration away from the traditional office confines; the importance to underlying network infrastructure once more comes under the spotlight."
For some, the growth of remote communication means the decline of face-to-face client meetings. Seventy-two percent believe such interactions will soon be completely gone. But this raises the important question – will our communication grow less meaningful as it moves to remote protocols? Without face-to-face interaction, will client interactions grow stale?
Remote video conferencing opens a new channel for communication
Fortunately, some of those facial cues can be preserved by the growth of reliable video conferencing. Small businesses that implement video conferencing software can get the best of both worlds – employees who have the freedom to work from home but also the capability to have valuable interfacing with clients.
Remote video monitoring is not a new trend, but only recently has it become affordable and fast enough to warrant widespread use, according to IT Pro Portal. While video conferences do use more data, the amount is not enough to become a detriment. Companies could even afford several 4G video meetings per week without taking a major chunk out of their resource allocation.
The technology is only improving. The development of 4G was a huge step up from 3G and 5G could prove to be a similar leap. As the process networks move forward, video conferencing will become even easier.
More than just an office tool
A wide scope of small businesses can benefit from video conference integration – not just those located in an office building. Technical or vocational professionals like mechanics or plumbers can use video to discuss the nature of a problem with a client before arriving at the scene. That way, workers can pinpoint the issue without relying on the client's knowledge or description. This insight could save extra trips for the worker and make the visit more efficient and easier.
The technology also has benefits for hospitals and health centers that need specialists' opinions who may not be physically available. Rather than sending a patient hours away to a major hospital, video conferencing will allow those professionals to essentially come to the patient. For those in need of immediate care, or whose conditions are unsuitable for travel, this development could even be a lifesaver.
Telecom industry piece brought to you by Marlin Equipment Finance, leaders in telecommunications equipment financing. Marlin is a nationwide provider of equipment financing solutions supporting equipment suppliers and manufacturers in the security, food services, healthcare, information technology, office technology and telecommunications sectors.