When deciding whether to hold an online meeting or meet with a face-to-face counterpart, consider some of the benefits and drawbacks of each. This article will look at the costs and convenience of both options, as well as their impact on our carbon footprint. But there are other benefits to face-to-face meetings as well. Let’s take a closer look at the pros and cons of each.
Despite the advantages of virtual meetings, these do have their downsides. The distance, time, and other factors can all make it difficult to focus on important discussions. A face-to-face meeting can energize individual employees and support a collaborative company culture. However, it is important to consider the costs and benefits of virtual meetings and the type of meeting you need. Here are the main pros and cons of both.
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When it comes to time, a face-to-face meeting will take longer. Face-to-face meetings require the participants to physically meet one another, which often causes scheduling conflicts. Aside from the time factor, an additional consideration is that face-to-face meetings are far more effective for leadership, engagement, and decision-making. In contrast, web-conferencing and video-conferencing have the advantage of being more convenient.
One study comparing the effectiveness of online meetings with those of face-to-face meetings found that face-to-face meetings tended to be more effective. While many aspects of online meetings are the same, certain personality types stand out more than others. Managers must be aware of the difference between the two types of meetings in order to maximize their team’s creative, innovative, and collaboration potential.
One obvious benefit to face-to-face meetings is the presence of the people participating in the meeting. Face-to-face meetings allow participants to monitor each other’s body language and watch everything unfold in real time. Managers and leaders should be particularly attentive to the language and body language of those who are in attendance. The latter allows participants to share more information and ideas than if the meeting were held in a virtual space.
A new study examines the impact of switching academic conferences from face-to-face to virtual meetings. The authors use the largest European political science conference as an example, and calculate how much carbon is produced by a virtual event versus a hypothetical physical one. They also calculate emissions from electricity, travel, and catering. Overall, the authors estimate that a virtual conference produces a carbon footprint that is ninety-seven to two hundred times smaller than a face-to-face meeting.
In a recent study, researchers from Yale University, MIT, and Purdue University calculated the carbon footprint of a single hour of streaming video. The emissions range from 150 to a thousand grams, depending on the service used. To put that in perspective, consider that a car produces 8,887 grams of carbon dioxide for every litre of gasoline it burns. Another study by Grant Faber and others found that a single day of a virtual conference on Zoom generated 1,324 grams of CO2. The majority of these emissions came from network data transfer, with only a small amount from computer use.
Online meetings are an efficient way to hold company work groups. Virtual meetings can save up to $11,000 in overhead. They eliminate the expense of travel and food & beverage costs, as well as the stress of meeting new people and exposing employees to germs. This can have a profound impact on employees’ work performance. Face-to-face meetings are also better for building community. But there are drawbacks to both types of meetings. Here are some of them.
Online meetings have many advantages. For starters, they can be more personal and engaging. Video conferencing is becoming increasingly popular with workers, and businesses are realizing the potential of virtual meetings. And while in-person meetings will never be replaced completely, online meetings can offer more flexibility, reach, and efficiency. In fact, studies show that business travel is often cut to save money, while online meetings are more time-efficient and flexible.