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An obvious benefit of an agency’s use of video teleconferencing (VTC) is the opportunity to provide “face-to-face communication” with colleagues, managers and support teams wherever they may be. That can be crucial, according to the Journal of Business Research, which reports that people who work apart often have increased conflict and reduced trust. A Roper study shows that VTC can build trust among colleagues and reduce the confusion/misunderstandings that come from communicating without the value of non-verbal clues.

There are even more benefits of VTC for an agency, particularly with all that we face today. From a World Health Organization call for restricted travel as they attempt to curb the H1N1/swine flu outbreak, to an aging workforce that could potentially leave your agency with a dearth of institutional knowledge and cuts in funding, agency leaders have a myriad of concerns to weigh when making everyday decisions.

Consider the following benefits VTC can create for an agency that must be successful in its mission on an ever-scrutinized budget:

Institutional knowledge – Instead of allowing a knowledge vacuum to be created when your expert resources retire, an agency can instead utilize VTC to have them share their years of experience with younger or newer agency workers.

Dispersed knowledge – Has your agency ever wanted to access knowledge of experts who live and work in dispersed locations? What about wanting to hire an expert who doesn’t want to relocate? VTC allows you to tap into that knowledge – and possibly attract that expert hire – easily and effectively without incurring travel and relocation expenses or other hiring fees.

Workforce incentives – VTC creates a desirable workplace by showing a tech-savvy workforce that your agency employs cutting edge technology and is environmentally conscious. It also allows your agency to offer incentives, such as telework and being part of a green organization, which are increasingly attractive to those who want a better work-life balance. An article produced by the Telework Coalition states that the positive effect of teleworking on an organization’s bottom line includes reduced real estate requirements, increased employee productivity, and reduced absenteeism.

Training/distance learning – When your workforce needs to keep up with certifications or advancements in science and technology, or your employees want to advance their careers, it often requires training that can be difficult to schedule or even fund. VTC allows training and distance learning opportunities that overcome funding issues by eliminating travel and hotel expenses, etc. It also creates an important opportunity by allowing for increased student attendance – where an-person class might only accommodate 100 attendees, a VTC class enables a virtual classroom environment limited only by bandwidth and student interest in attending.

Real-time Collaboration with the Field – Imagine that some of your workforce needs to travel to other countries for everything from supporting the warfighter to attending high-level government conferences. The opportunity to share not only voice, but also visual information, during these types of events could exponentially increase your agency’s effectiveness. For example, an agency supports the care of vehicles in the field, but can’t send an engineer to address a problem in a timely manner. Visually exchange critical information with remote engineering or home office support to assess and resolve issues in real time. Reduce downtime and equipment failure, survey construction sites and report critical medical information directly from the scene.

What benefits is your agency experiencing from the use of VTC? Share your best practices with us.

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