This was demonstrated at a webinar on Human Communication in a Virtual Environment I recently had the opportunity to attend. It was set up by an international organization headquartered in the U.S., which announced it just a few weeks before it was held. This would have taken months for a seminar.
Close to 500 people attended, About 50 came from Europe and about the same number from Asia. A few came from Latin America and the rest from the U.S. Granted, the number of attendees would have been smaller in the case of a flesh-and-bone-meeting. Even then the expenses and the time investment would have been horrendous. In this case, there was none of that and the organization had more attendees and a higher diversity of nationalities.
Of the audience, about one firth each was working up to 20%, 40%, 60%, 80% and 100% virtually. Even though they may not be scientifically accurate, these figures give you a good idea of the state of virtual working. Payoff: quick survey results.
Since the webinar was addressing an international audience, it was held in English. Of those attending, 60% indicated English as their mother tongue.
The webinar was held with a “collaborative tool” where the screen of your computer displayed pages commented by the presenter. On the right of the screen you saw a chat window where participants could type in questions and comments. Although it worked well and the presenter answered questions. a majority of the participants indicated a preference for a voice-active tool making true verbal two-way communication possible. Payoff: instant feedback.
Virtual Working offers dramatic savings. Is it dehumanizing? No. People are too smart, they will find other ways to cultivate the human element. Is it just a fad, will we go back to seminars? No. there’s too much of a pressure to increase the efficiency of the workplace. Virtual working opens the door to higher efficiency and greater savings.
As a side note, the presenter of this webinar was Dr Deasún Ó Conchúir, who ran it from his office in Switzerland. For more on the subject of Virtual Working and Communication in a Virtual Environment, contact Scatterwork.
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