Enterprises are going all-in on technology. Businesses continue moving functions to the cloud to increase agility, improve data storage, and embrace the potential of big data analytics. And it doesn't stop there — mobile device use among employees is also on the rise thanks to the popularity of bring-your-own-device (BYOD) programs, the burgeoning Internet of Things (IoT), and the availability of business communication apps that transcribe voice to text, automate call responses, and link multiple devices. Already, consumers on average use at least three mobile devices, according to Smart Insights, with global averages expected to surpass four devices per person by 2020.
So, it's no surprise that staff and client meetings have become tech-driven and device-heavy. Those devices require precious meeting time to set up, while others can be distractions during meetings. After all, what if a client calls, or a friend spells a 50-point word in your "Words with Friends" match? Are you better off going tech-less to get everyone's attention? Here's a plan to take a more personal approach.
Fact or Fiction?
Employees spend a significant chunk of their time in meetings, but how effective are those meetings if everyone is using multiple devices? According to Campus Technology, studies conducted on college students in lectures with access to mobile devices found that 89 percent were distracted and "don't pay attention," while 80 percent reported that they "miss instruction" as a result. The primary reasons for mobile device use is that they wanted "to stay connected" and "fight boredom."
Change "lecture" to "meeting" and there's no difference: In both cases, participants spend most of their time listening, and feel compelled to check mobile devices or risk missing out. For students, this could be social engagements; for staff, it might be client phone calls or time-sensitive emails. And it doesn't stop there. Multitasking can be detrimental to overall productivity, since switching tasks can be difficult without loss of focus or understanding.
Technology-driven meetings may be more efficient, but they may not be as effective.
Transcribe Voice to Text to Go 'Tech-Less'
So how do you transition from tech-dependent to device-free? Start with something simple, such as a speech recorder to capture the meeting notes, then email the audio file to all participants so they can access it on-demand. Use call recording solutions to capture conference call notes. Next, speak to the staff issue of missing calls and emails.
If you've got a solid VoIP service, use it to forward any calls to another employee who can answer questions or ensure messages are received. Even better, leverage a voicemail transcription solution, which can automatically transcribe voice to text, format voicemails into email, and send them directly to corporate employee accounts. This reduces staff stress and ensures that all calls are properly documented and their voicemail messages easily accessible.
Also, consider unified communications as-a-service (UCaaS) technology to power single-screen meetings, which allow global offices to connect without the need for complicated tech setup and testing. This is a bone of contention at many tech-heavy meetings — devices and connections take so long to set up that most of the time is wasted on preparation. And if technology doesn't work as intended, the entire meeting may need to be rescheduled, resulting in even more time wasted.
You'll never get technology entirely out of your meetings, and that's okay. However, it's one thing to leverage voicemail-to-email solutions or single-screen UCaaS deployments as a way to engage participants, and another to allow free-range access to digital devices. Ultimately, it's a matter of walking the fine line between benefit and distraction: supporting collaboration through streamlined technology while removing the need to compulsively check devices for missed calls or unexpected emails.
Do you want better meetings? Contact a Vonage Business representative to learn more.