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Changing the way businesses communicate

01 February 2022 • Warrener Stewart News

COVID-19 and lockdowns over the past two years have led to significant changes in the way businesses communicate. Many office-based staff were asked to work from home to help reduce the spread of infection and this had a huge impact on working practices. For one, it meant finding alternative ways of communicating with clients or holding work meetings, hence the massive increase in the use of video conferencing*. And now businesses are offering employees the option of continuing to work from home, often as part of a hybrid approach. 

“We have had hardly any face-to-face client meetings over the past two years,” commented Gary Chapman, Principal at Warrener Stewart, “so when the restrictions were lifted, we expected demand for face-to-face meetings to increase. On the contrary, feedback in our recent survey suggests that many clients have come to prefer video calls and online meetings; 86% of respondents said they would prefer monthly reviews by video call, 73% would prefer quarterly reviews in this way and, surprisingly, 51% said they would prefer their annual review by video call.”

Online versus in-person

So, it appears as a result of the pandemic, behaviours have shifted with regards to the way we do business. Moreover, video calls have many benefits; they can be quick, convenient, and very cost effective, saving on travel costs and travel time.

That said, humans are social beings, and in-person meetings have numerous benefits. A lot of our communication happens through body language - non-verbal cues that provide insight into how someone is feeling – and these can be missed on a video call. There is still a place for in-person human interaction in business as it can help increase engagement, build trust, and form stronger relationships – and business is built on relationships!

Embracing new practices

“At Warrener Stewart we provide a very personal service, tailored to suit a client’s individual needs, so we will be happy to communicate in whichever way they choose - including video calls and online meetings wherever preferred.

“We are happy to embrace change, so long as it does not diminish the quality of our service or our ability to deliver the best possible outcome for our clients and their businesses. But we will always welcome the opportunity to meet clients in person!”

* In December 2019 Zoom had 10million daily meeting participants, by April 2020, that number had risen to over 300million (Evans, 2020). Other video conferencing platforms, such as Google Meet™ and Microsoft Teams, also experienced significant increases in daily participants (Peters, 2020; Thorp-Lancaster, 2020). Furthermore, it is likely that the use of videoconferencing will continue long after the pandemic ends, as Gartner predicts that only 25% of business meetings will take place in-person by 2024 (Standaert et al., 2021).

“Rosslyn Park has always been dependent upon raising funds to achieve what it needed and like any club had to act like a business, moving with the times.”
Rosslyn Park