Synchronous video conferencing became a thing in the market nearly 15 years ago, companies were delighted for all the right reasons. They could save themselves and their clients a lot of time and money. For example, a company with a head office in New York and multiple offices worldwide would find a video meeting very convenient. All the offices would be linked up for virtual meetings. Managers would save money on car rentals, air tickets, accommodation, and time spent away from work. It actually was an excellent idea.
Then came remote work, and virtual meetings became the norm. Technology advanced, and with video conferencing apps available on smart devices, everything became instant. People loved it, and they praised all the benefits that came with saving time and money.
Now, things seem to have changed. The pandemic showed us the other side of video conferencing that many people had never experienced before.
Below are the five reasons why video meeting is slowly fading away and why people are embracing asynchronous communication instead.
Zoom Fatigue is Real
With nearly 10 years in the market, Zoom has had a huge impact, connecting people in different geographical locations with synchronous video conferencing and enhancing clear and coherent communication among remote teams.
However, everyone who used Zoom and other live video conferencing tools during the pandemic had one thing in common – fatigue. The fact that video calls are draining kept many employees in distress. Always hoping that the next zoom call would be postponed, or maybe canceled.
Some of the reasons behind the fatigue and so much negativity towards video conferencing, such as Zoom, have long been studied. A 2011 study found that a one-second delay during video chats made people feel very frustrated. Another 2014 study found that people perceived their colleagues on a conference call as less friendly and attentive if there was a 1.2-second delay.
The cause of fatigue can be attributed to several other factors such as eye strain, too much focus, and a lack of spontaneous reaction present in face-to-face interaction. People are now seeing video meetings as a poor substitute for real and more humane interaction.
Solution: Switch to Asynchronous Video communication
It’s obvious that video messaging is key to keeping remote teams connected and ensuring productivity among employees. But when video meetings are causing more problems than they are solving, asynchronous videos are quickly rising to the occasion.
With asynchronous videos, there’s no pressure always to be “on” since communication doesn’t happen in real-time. Zoom calls are also notorious for work overload. With asynchronous communication, you have enough time to organize yourself before responding to a critical text or video. This boosts productivity, and employees get a better sense of job satisfaction.
Employees Mind Their Flexibility
A flexible working schedule is a huge advantage of working remotely. Employees value their time, and synchronous video conferencing would reap them off their remote work benefits.
The flexibility to work from anywhere anytime gives employees the freedom to be in charge of their time. Remote employees have been shown to be happier and organized than their in-office counterparts. Enough time to spend with family, exercise, build quality relationships, and work on hobbies is perhaps the reason for high productivity and reduced stress.
What video meetings do is put a strain on these flexible working schedules.
Your boss will be attending a zoom video conference from a different time-zone, which is 8 hours behind your local time. And since he will be busy in the morning hours, they have scheduled the meeting in the afternoon, i.e., from 2 to 5 P.M. on a Monday. On your end, you’ll have to stay late till 10 P.M., then stretch another 3 hours till 1 A.M. the next day.
This is pure strain, and most remote employees are not ready to give up their flexible working schedules.Video meeting is proving inflexible, and several companies are switching to asynchronous communication, or partly introducing it to foster better communication and collaboration – which brings us to the third point:
Companies Want to Keep Their Top Talent
Remote-friendly companies are attracting top talent compared to their traditional counterparts, thanks to a better work-life balance. Today’s generation workers pay keen attention to how flexible the job is; for example, a fully remote company will attract more job applications than one with a hybrid work arrangement.
Flexjobs statistics report that 27% of employees say working from home is important to them and are willing to take up to a 20% pay cut provided they can work from home. And 81% admit they would be more loyal to their current employer if they had flexible work schedules.
But remote work alone isn’t the determining factor in retaining the top talent. A Gallup survey shows that 21% of millennial workers have switched jobs within the past year. And the turnover cost is steadily rising, with the estimated cost of hiring and training new employees amounting to 20% of a mid-level employee’s salary.
From these statistics, it’s evident that retaining top talents is on top of most companies’ priority list. And asynchronous communication, not synchronous video conferencing, is going to help with these efforts.
Productivity is sinking
Synchronous video conferencing is not only eating into the employees’ personal time, but also draining the teams’ productivity. Every time you receive a link to a video conference meeting, you need to sign up with the provider. This usually requires that you create a free account: either a zoom meeting free account, a Microsoft team free account, or a Google meet free account. You’ll often have to follow a specific link and go to webinar free of charge, and there’s no issue with that. The problem is having to do these repetitive tasks two or more times a day.
Wundamail 2020 report shows that 56% of remote workers wanted to spend lesser time on video calls, and 42% said they are not contributing anything after joining the video meeting session. The other factors hurting productivity during a video meeting include:
- Technical issues during a video meeting
- Interruptions and people talking over one another
- Difficulty in commanding attention and lack of focus during the live session
A solution to this problem is cutting back on frequent zoom calls and instead, switching to other communication types. Email works, but critical information and attachments can easily get lost within the threads when dealing with huge groups of people.
This is where modern and advanced asynchronous collaboration tools come in. For example, Weet allows employees to share files, videos, screen recordings, and texts quickly and effectively. Using links instead of uploading heavy files makes the communication a bit more minimalist, which is key in fighting fatigue and productivity issues.
People want their privacy and freedom Back
When you think of privacy, the first thing that comes to mind is “Zoom Bombing.” This is true, but there is a less-technical meaning behind the “privacy” phrase.
Synchronous video conferencing has these strict rules where people have to turn on their cameras, smile even when they don’t feel like it, and face the camera to ensure eye contact. These rules break the human code and introduce a “robot” whose work for the next 2 or 3 hours is to keep up and comply with the “conferencing best practices.”
Not many people are comfortable maintaining eye contact for hours, especially without having a chance to communicate back. Frequent video calls at inappropriate times, such as early in the morning or late in the night, send the wrong signals to employees. It makes them feel less respected, and they would do anything to get their privacy and freedom back.
Fortunately, organizations are already turning to asynchronous communication channels to solve these problems. What asynchronous tools do differently is that it gives employees the freedom to be themselves. To reply to messages, videos and even update their projects at their own convenient time and when they feel most productive.
Maintaining eye contact with your boss during synchronous video conferencing isn’t what comes to mind when you think of remote work. Unfortunately, that’s what you get with live video conferencing.
Frequent calls that require you to dress like you’re showing up for an interview is not something most people would keep up with. And what is worse is having to join a live video conference from a different time zone. All these scenarios hit differently when you’re in the middle of the pandemic.
Privacy and freedom are no longer a concern for introverts alone. The wider population is feeling the pressure, and it’s now time to act on what presses us the most.