Nobody likes traveling for business. Airports can be a headache, with all that business of removing your shoes, shelling out extra to stow bags, plus the regular delays and cancellations. We tend to overeat on bad fast food or at hotel buffets, as well, when we’re traveling for business. Plus there is the lack of sleep. It’s little wonder that so many business people are longing for improvements in videoconferencing technology. After all, if this technology improves enough – the logic goes – maybe off-site business meetings, and the business travel that goes with this, might be a thing of the past.
The End of Business Travel?
But is this really what business people and their employers should want? Perhaps not. Videoconferencing may never take the place of face-to-face meetings in the business world as the best ideas usually pop up during these in-person meetings. Evaluate the difference between how videoconferencing and in-person meetings usually work.
Fluid discussion tends to be less common when videoconferencing. It’s hard to pin point precisely why. It may be due, partly, to office disruptions, as well as any lag that the videoconference has. These issues could be resolved with technological advancements. But in general, when people are videoconferencing they tend to stick to the primary task of the meeting instead of allow conversation to flow naturally, which can result in creative ideas.
The Benefits of Face-to-Face Time
At in-person meetings, however, agendas have a way of falling by the wayside, and that’s a good thing. Meetings may start only after a few minutes of personal chatter and they may end with participants swapping office stories. Again, this can be good. Often, the most effective business ideas arise from these moments of off-topic discussion.
Business Travel is Here to Stay
Yes, business travel is an inconvenience and videoconferencing is a convenience. However, there are times when meeting face-to-face is the best option for generating the most imaginative business solutions. Because of this, don’t expect savvy business executives to ever entirely replace business travel with videoconferencing.