Couch potatoes seemingly are not welcome in the workplace.
At least that’s one conclusion we can draw from watching just how individuals use video at work. While the rise of Netflix and digital video recorders during the past decade has merely cemented the popularity of watching time-shifted consumer video from our living room couches, business executives remain enamored with live video.
In a survey of 1,201 corporate executives conducted by Wainhouse Research in the fourth quarter of 2014, 76% of all respondents say that live video is “most useful in enhancing productivity at work.” Only 24% of all survey participants asked this question cited a preference for on-demand video. The affinity for live video even increases among those who use online video most frequently.
These results should come with little surprise. After all, our bosses and co-workers want answers immediately. And live collaboration— whether conducted in-person or via network connections—represents the most straightforward way to foster that real-time exchange of information.
But as we look for ways to enhance the user experience in collaborative environments, we should consider the idea of channeling our inner couch potato and explore the world of on-demand video as a new frontier in sharing information. Twenty-two percent of organizations represented in the Wainhouse Research survey say they have already deployed solutions that enable the archiving of content produced via web conferencing platforms. Another 32% of respondents say they are “very interested” in this type of archiving capability.
While lacking in real-time interaction, on-demand access to content from collaborative environments can positively impact business operations in several ways. These include:
• Extending the reach of a business message: Daily work circumstances can make it difficult for all relevant stakeholders to attend a live meeting. The ability to watch a meeting on-demand makes it possible for workers to access content on a time-shifted basis, allowing more workers to hear leadership’s messages directly rather than relying on secondhand accounts.
• The preservation of institutional knowledge: Capturing executive presentations for later replay makes it possible for workers to tap into shared information at the time they choose. This can be a valuable resource once a key employee leaves a company. Workers can tap into the recorded content of subject matter experts to get insight into how specific issues were handled by their predecessors, essentially shortening the learning curve for those starting a new job.
• Minimizing needless repetition: In some situations, all employees need to hear basic company information. Whether it’s an employee training session or a human resources presentation to describe employee benefits, some information must be shared on a widespread basis. Recording these sessions for company-wide distribution may mitigate at least some of the need for a series of small-scale live sessions that deliver the same information time and again.
• Ensuring compliance: Achieving corporate compliance with government or industry regulations may hinge on demonstrating that all workers have had access to specific training information. Using recorded material eliminates some of the variables associated with this type of employee training. In live sessions, for instance, a presenter may forget to mention a key instruction. With on-demand, executives know exactly what information is being shared with workers and they have a verifiable record that the content is being distributed to their employees.
• Creating new revenue sources: Your training and customer support information can be valuable to those outside of your organization. Manufacturers, for instance, can offer presentations to communicate best practices in selling, maintaining, or repairing products in the field. Companies that support a string of dealerships or franchisees may be able to sell on-demand training and informational presentations to their field partners. Such offerings could allow companies to expand the pool of individuals who have engaged in “certified training” while also boosting the revenues generated from these training programs.
Live collaboration will continue to play a key role in the enterprise. But if executives begin to recognize the value that on-demand content can deliver in day-to-day business, maybe all those couch potatoes can carve out a space for themselves in the office of the future, after all. Make way for the “desk taters.”
Steve Vonder Haar is a regular columnist with AVTechnology magazine and a senior analyst with Wainhouse Research.