I’m a hacker and I’m proud of it.
No, I’m not the kind that steals your identity or holds your personal information for ransom. The type of “hacker” badge that I proudly wear has been earned by finding ways to stay productive and tackle my never-ending to-do list. For a hack to be worth its weight to me, it must be a time-saver that frees me up to focus on truly pressing issues.
There are endless articles online with tips and tricks for tackling your daily grind. But my favorite productivity hack is one that often gets overlooked – video conferencing!
As we all know, more and more employees are now working remotely and some are even doing so exclusively. Despite business leaders’ fears that remote workers can’t be “watched” or that their productivity will slip, there are many studies that prove otherwise. And when you take a cumulative look at what video conferencing makes possible for remote teams, it’s almost a no-brainer.
There is a funny image I’ve seen floating around the Internet of a coffee mug with script that congratulates its owner on surviving yet another meeting that could have been an email. While I’m sure we’ve all felt that way at some point, the truth is that a lot can be lost in translation when email is the only form of communication. And even if email appears instantly in our inboxes, that doesn’t mean we’re able to respond to it in that moment.
For me, this is a prime example of how video conferencing is a huge time-saver and confusion cutter. A quick WebEx video conference has saved me from reading dozens of emails on whether we all agree on making a font color blue or gray on our next email marketing campaign, or trying to explain a change in concept for a tradeshow exhibition. In a quick 10-minute video team meeting, my team can go from “huh?” to “done!”
From real-time collaboration with local partners to highly-secure strategy meetings with executives overseas, I can gain a quick understanding of just how well an idea or concept is being received. Do I need to explain things more in depth? Are they excited? Is the new hire following along? With video conferencing, there’s no need to guess, because using it lets me see important facial expressions and body language cues – something that you can’t get over email or a phone call. And I know right away how my team feels about an idea, proposal, or new initiative – whatever we’re collaborating on.
Another pro to video conferencing? The ability to see if everyone is “tuned in” to the meeting.
We’re all busy and most people tend to multi-task during meetings. So it’s understandable why meeting leaders would be concerned about teams being 100% focused when it’s time to come together. But with video conferencing, you can have a bird’s eye view of who is paying attention and who isn’t. When I am leading a meeting, this lets me know if I need to engage my audience in a different way to keep the conversation moving, or follow up separately with attendees that seem checked out.
See – being a hacker is not a bad thing! The end result is increased productivity for me, and richer connections with my team members, partners and colleagues. And in fast-paced business environments where we’re all looking to get more done in the most efficient ways possible, those benefits are invaluable.