Replacing face-to-face meetings with virtual meetings could save one in six businesses more than £30,000 a year, new research shows.
The independent survey of 300 UK companies with 500 employees or more commissioned by Claranet found that almost nine in ten organisations are currently communicating and collaborating online in some way. Of these, 97 per cent reported business benefits from their use and almost two-thirds of organisations polled said they would like to use virtual meetings more than they do currently.
Some 16 per cent of the businesses polled estimate they could save a minimum of £30,000 per year, or £2,500 a month, by replacing all face-to-face meetings with virtual ones. Half of businesses estimate they could save between £500 and £1,000 each month if they were to replace all face-to-face meetings with virtual meetings.
More flexible communication was the most commonly cited benefit of using virtual meetings (60 per cent), followed by a reduction in overheads (44 per cent) and an increase in employee satisfaction due to flexible working (39 per cent). When asked which functions they currently use virtual meetings for or would consider using them for, training sessions came out top (58 per cent), followed by senior management meetings (54 per cent) and team meetings (44 per cent).
Lack of understanding of the technology was the most commonly cited barrier to using virtual meetings (51 per cent), however 29 per cent also expressed concerns about virtual meetings being less personal than face-to-face meetings.
Neil Thomas, Product Director at Claranet, said: “As technology has advanced, virtual meetings have become an essential part of business life and the results of this survey clearly show organisations are reaping the rewards.
“Significant cost savings are just one of the advantages of the technology, but there are also wider non-financial benefits for both organisations and their employees. The growing emphasis on flexible working means the importance of virtual meetings technology will only increase. Employees are given more control over their working schedules, with increased satisfaction and productivity a clear result.”
Thomas continued: “At Claranet, we’re increasingly aware of the demand for technology to suit remote collaboration. Our Hosted Voice solution provides a complete telephony system that easily integrates with any range of devices for flexible working, and improved collaboration. Without the need to install dedicated hardware, Claranet’s service enables straight-forward virtual meetings and communications, no matter the location or device.”