Even as video conferencing and webcast technology become more accessible, it seems organizations aren't taking steps to help their workers learn about and acclimate to these resources, according to a survey by West Unified Communications.
The survey of 230 full-time U.S. employees found a large majority of employees (71 percent) have attended a webcast, and of this group, 76 percent felt more engaged because they could see the speaker.
"As more employees take advantage of video conferencing tools, employers can expect more pressure to deliver rich video resources within and outside the office," Dennis Collins, senior director of marketing for West Unified Communications, told eWEEK. "To accommodate, IT managers need to make sure they have the proper network speed security and bandwidth to fully support video."
However, relatively few employees (17 percent) have hosted a webcast, and most of those who have (59 percent) were apprehensive about doing so.
"By going over a list of video conferencing etiquette dos and don’ts, employees will not only feel more confident in front of the camera, but also ensure they’re representing the company well," Collins said.
He explained that putting that advice into practice can be accomplished in many ways. For example, setting up a video buddy system between departments after video is deployed and having a dress rehearsal to get everyone comfortable with the technology, the new interface and just seeing themselves on camera.
"Remind people to consider their backdrops when switching from audio or web to video – everything adds to the frame," he noted.
Employees’ experiences with webcasting are clearly delineated by gender, with 19 percent of men having hosted or presented during a webcast, and less than 13 percent of women having done the same.
Of those who presented, half of men worried about difficulties using the technology itself, compared to only 25 percent of women.
Meanwhile, 75 percent of presenting women worried about public speaking, compared to only 45 percent of men.
In addition, with only 23 percent of workers receiving video etiquette training, most aren't equipped to participate productively.
Of workers who are uncomfortable during video calls, 86 percent attribute their nervousness to being on camera and public speaking.
Seemingly minor but common issues such as poor Internet connections (reported by 58 percent of workers) and how lighting affects appearance (42 percent) appeared to add to employees' unease.
Employees' video comfort level also varies depending on their age and the context of the call, with job interviews, meetings with clients or supervisors, and sales calls contributing most to employee anxiety.
Millennials are twice as likely as Baby Boomers to be uneasy about video sales meetings (17 percent versus 8 percent). Boomers, however, are more likely to be uneasy about video job interviews than Millennials (61.5 percent versus 49 percent).