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Welcome to our bi-weekly recap of the week’s best articles surrounding collaboration. 

Benefits of video conferencing include less travel, but it’s not No. 1
For decades, enterprises have turned to video conferencing in large part as a means of reducing business travel expenses. However, a recent survey by Wainhouse Research of 4,700 end users of video conferencing found that the incentives for using video are shifting: 94% noted that the biggest benefit was increased efficiency and productivity; 88% cited increased impact of discussions; and 87% said video expedited decision-making — the same percentage who said it reduced travel.

Telework Week Saved Feds 14 Million Miles, $13 Million
This year’s Telework Week, which ran March 3-7, drew 163,973 pledges, more than four times the 2011 number. The average Telework Week participant teleworked two days during the week, avoided a 45-mile round-trip commute into the office and saved 4.5 hours and $90 in commuting costs for the week. Nearly all (94 percent) pledges came from the federal government, enabling federal employees to save a collective $13 million in commuting costs, avoid 14 million miles of travel and gain back more than 716,000 hours.

Concierge healthcare services via video – a concept on the rise
Although not a new concept, concierge healthcare services used to be a luxury that only a certain percentage of Americans could possibly afford. Changes in the healthcare system and economic drivers may be changing that. Under this model, doctors essentially work under retainer, being paid monthly fees to offer healthcare services to a patient or family. Healthcare practices operating in a concierge healthcare model could utilize telemedicine solutions to conduct many of their house calls and appointments. This diminishes the travel element and enables medical professionals to see just as many, if not more, patients each day. Telemedicine can also allow doctors to cast a much wider net for their patients.

Mobility Tops the List of Digital Priorities
If you thought either big data analytics or cloud computing initiatives rank at the top of today’s digital agenda, guess again. Mobility strategies hold a clear edge, according to a recent survey from Accenture. The resulting report, “Mobility: Fueling the Digital Surge,” demonstrates how much further ahead “mobility leader” organizations are on their progress toward these goals, compared to the rest of the field. And while the required commitment here is clearly evident at the very highest levels of organizational leadership, there are still many obstacles that CIOs must overcome.

Get ready for new ATM’s
Recently, more and more banks are starting to equip their ATM’s with technological upgrades, one of those being video conferencing. Banks are working on technology tools to give customers new, faster ways to interact with their branches. ATMs with touch screens will soon work with our smartphones. New apps will help zip cash to you as quickly as you can snap a picture. Videoconferencing with representatives in call centers lets banks extend hours for basic services and screen tellers can handle about 95 percent of typical bank transactions. This allows both customers and banks to increase productivity and efficiency when handling transactions and consultations.

From healthcare and education to small business and the enterprise, organizations across the globe are beginning to embrace new technologies that are designed to help them reduce their carbon footprint. Not only are these socially responsible decisions good for our environment, they are also good for your financial bottom line.

Video conferencing is often an ideal solution for businesses of all sizes looking to enhance collaboration within their organization. How can your business reduce their carbon footprint and benefit from implementing video conferencing? The infographic below explores some of those ways and how video conferencing can assist with “going green”.

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Remote teams are quickly growing in popularity with the acceptance and growing use of telework programs. However, leading a remote team and managing remote team members is far different from traditional teams. There are many things that we take for granted being in an office, especially face time, that need to be specifically addressed for remote teams.

In a recent HBR article, Keith Ferrazzi mentions three tips to managing virtual teams. Here are a few others to ensure your remote team members function as well as local team members.

  1. Be Available:  Formal weekly status meetings are a must but don’t forget to informally check-in throughout the week. In the office, most mangers stop by and say hi to their teams and many have an open door policy. Fostering this atmosphere is just as important for remote managers. Take the time to just say hi and make yourself available for when your team has questions, needs assistance with a task, or just wants to bounce a few ideas around is very important.
  2. Trust Your Team: The majority of the time, your team will accomplish their tasks and put their 40 hours of work in, if not more. Yes, there may be a few bad apples that don’t do what they’re supposed to but micromanaging and constantly checking up on your entire team is a surefire way to disrupt productivity and frustrate your team. If you suspect one person is not putting in their hours, address it with them directly or sporadically ask them to show you what they are working on.
  3. Define Objectives:  Remote team members can’t simply walk into your office and ask what to do next. Therefore, it is extremely important to define long term goals and objectives for these employees. Consistently managing to short and long term goals will not only keep remote team members productivity but it will also make them feel that their work is contributing to the great goals of the department and the organization.
  4. Encourage Collaboration: It’s easy for remote team members to feel isolated as they don’t have the face time with colleagues that corporate employees do. Assign projects that require team members to collaborate and work on together. This will help develop relationships between remote members and allow them to feel a part of the team instead of an individual contributor.
  5. Communicate Corporate Messaging: Again, it’s easy for remote members to feel isolated from the company as they can miss out on corporate messaging as well the corporate culture. Remote managers must take the time to communicate all corporate messages and Executive teams should think about sending monthly video updates to all employees updating them on what is happening within the company as well as what to look forward to in the future.

Taking the extra time to focus on these objectives can help remote team members feel more comfortable and less isolated from the company. Additionally, it can help increase their productivity by ensuring giving them the space they need to accomplish tasks while being available to assist or answer questions.

This-week-in-collaboration

Welcome to our bi-weekly recap of the week’s best articles surrounding collaboration.

1. 5 Ways to Untether From the Desk With Video Conferencing 

Using video conferencing to be able to get away from your desk but still stay connected takes some of the stress out of this busy holiday season. Video conferencing can make sure you stay connected, maintain your presence, and meet on the go.

2. Time to Pledge Allegiance to Telework 

March 3-7, 2014 federal employees will be asked to stay at home by their agencies and not come in to the office. This is part of Telework Week, the Mobile Work Exchange’s annual global initiative that encourages governments to pledge to telework.

3. San Antonio License Plate Readers and Video Conferencing Resolve Overdue Traffic Tickets 

Video conferencing improves overdue ticket collection in San Antonio. When officers pull over drivers who have arrest warrants due to unpaid tickets, the offenders can speak with a judge immediately via video conferencing and settle the issue remotely.

4. How Web Conferencing Benefits Employee Training

The use of video conferencing for employee training is becoming more prevalent because it lowers costs to employers, provides a solid training foundation for employees, and makes training of current employees seamless.

5. Establishing Open Lines of Communication is Worth the Investment

Successful businesses rely on the technology solutions that foster collaboration on the go. Have the ability to stay connected from wherever employees are equates to a happier workforce, which often leads to happier customers.

This-week-in-collaboration

Welcome to our bi-weekly recap of the week’s best articles surrounding collaboration.

1. Telework rapidly gains momentum but are businesses managing the risks

The increase in telework has been rapidly changing the dynamics of the workplace and employees are reaping the rewards that telework provides. These benefits include  reduced office costs, reduced staff turnover, greater work/life balance, and increased productivity. However, because work health and safety legislation apply to home-based working as well as office based work, companies considering telework arrangements need to make sure they implement appropriate guidelines and policies to minimize risks and ensure a safe workforce.

2. The technology that helps band kids in rural Nebraska unlock their potential

For music students in rural areas, getting specialized training can be very difficult due to lack of teachers and resources. In response to this, Nebraska has started using video conferencing to link students with instructors at the Manhattan School of Music in New York. Leveraging video conferencing has allowed music to stay alive in these rural Nebraska towns.

3. How OHSU used telemedicine to save a baby’s life

When a baby came down with a difficult to diagnose virus, a physician at Columbia Memorial Hospital in Astoria, called for a telemedicine consultation with Oregon Health & Science University pediatric intensivist. The doctor examined the child via a two way communication system with a robot like device at the patients end and a telemedicine computer workstation on the OHSU end. They were able to determine the baby had a life threatening bacterial infection that required immediate attention.

4. Cisco unveils mobile enhancements to collaboration suite 

As telework and mobile work forces continue to mature and increase across the country, technology companies are racing to supply these modern workers with the tools they need to get the job done. Cisco has announced several new solutions at it’s collaboration summit last month. Some of those include the new Cisco Gateway, the Jabber Guest feature, and several new communication endpoint technologies and products.

5. Videoconference meetings can boost business relationships and productivity 

94% of people believe that face-to-face communications improve business relationships, according to a survey released by Blue Jeans Network. The survey also found that talking to a person’s face is vital to avoiding preconceptions. These significant statistics continue to prove the effectiveness of video conferencing as a corporate communications tool.