Meetings: All companies need them. But for some reason, no one seems to like them.

Of course, organizations have to hold meetings to get teams on the same page, gather input from employees, communicate important information from management and spark collaboration. But employees often view them as a waste of time. Even if a particular meeting is vitally important, previous experiences may have trained attendees to zone out.

This may be especially true for virtual meetings, where the temptation to multitask can be overwhelming. Think back to your last conference call. Can you honestly say you didn’t check your email, or maybe even text your spouse about who was picking up the kids from soccer practice?

The good news is that modern collaboration solutions are helping to eliminate unproductive meetings – providing experiences that drive engagement, connection and collaboration. Earlier this year, I attended the CDW Future of Work SummIT in Atlanta. Here’s what IT leaders at the event were saying about the modern meeting experience.

Workers Demand Greater Collaboration

While the mere mention of the word “meeting” may elicit eye rolls, employees really do want their companies to give them opportunities to collaborate with their colleagues. But voice-only conference calls aren’t enough. At the Future of Work SummIT, business and IT leaders told me that employees are increasingly demanding video collaboration tools, screen-sharing capabilities and small huddle spaces where they can remotely work with their peers in other parts of the country.

Video Has Gone From ‘Nope’ to Necessary

Only a few years ago, many employees reflexively resisted using video. For one thing, the tools at the time simply weren’t all that good, and people’s previous experiences with jittery, blurry video conferences may have convinced them that the technology would never catch on. Also, video calls can feel awkward for people who are accustomed to the cloak of invisibility afforded by a voice-only phone call. But employees’ experiences with consumer video applications such as FaceTime, combined with dramatic advances in enterprise video solutions and dramatic decreases in their cost, have changed the game. The same workers who previously shied away from video collaboration now demand it.

User Experience Is Critical

While most employees are now ready and willing to use video collaboration systems, they expect these tools to be seamless and intuitive. If someone can’t walk into a conference room and start a meeting by hitting a single button, the solution may be too complex. So much time is wasted when teams have to spend the first five or 10 minutes of a meeting getting the technology set up. Further, users can become wary of solutions after only a couple of bad experiences. When deployed effectively, video solutions should essentially “disappear” into the background, allowing participants to focus on their meetings instead of the technology.

Good Leads to Better

After employees have one good experience with video collaboration and see firsthand the benefits the technology has to offer, they’ll be motivated to try it again. Instead of being apprehensive, these workers will be excited to connect with their colleagues, trade ideas and get things done. At the same time, organizations see increased productivity when employees are able to go directly from one meeting to the next without even leaving their desks, and many companies are able to reduce travel costs by connecting people remotely. When remote meetings are done right, everybody wins.

Want to learn more about evolving workplace technologies? Read “The Modern Workforce Insight Report” from CDW.

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