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More and more new hires are being employed based on their skills rather than their location, so we’re seeing many virtual workers joining small companies. In fact, I sometimes work remotely from Israel, but I learned early on not to forego invaluable face-to-face interaction with employees. Video conferencing is a great solution to help with this goal. Technology and bandwidth is cheap, so it’s easy to outfit practically any office with video conferencing equipment and phones. I believe this is important, because meetings are more productive and people tend to be more comfortable pausing and thinking about a question or challenge if they can be seen. Plus, it’s much easier to capture the informal interactions (where often the best ideas come out) when everyone can see everyone else.
Two key points to remember when trying to make video conferencing successful:
Technology should not be disruptive. Make it easy and comfortable to use. Set up the screen beforehand so that the virtual worker can greet on-site staff when they come in the room.
Life-sized appearance is important to capture nuances in the conversation. Make sure the screen is set up accordingly!
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