We spend 312 hours a year in meetings (that’s around 13 days), out of those, 56% are considered ‘unproductive’ by staff. And there is nothing more frustrating than carefully preparing a presentation and finding that half of the employees are staring at their smartphones.
The reasons for this lack of appreciation of meetings are many, but it’s the time aspect that comes up most regularly – meetings are usually too long and often require commitment before they even take place. It is not uncommon to receive an invitation followed by a few notifications to indicate a change of room or schedule to accommodate a particular employee.
To avoid the feeling of “always being in a meeting”, you should check out web conferencing software, which is helpful with planning effective meetings.
Successful collaboration in the workplace
Below we’ve selected five web conference applications that will make your life easier while encouraging your employees to participate. The criteria for choosing these are:
- Top 5 reviewed in the web conference software category on Capterra.co.uk
- The 5 applications with the highest search volume in the UK
One of the most popular video conferencing platforms is Google Hangouts, part of G-Suite. In case you aren’t familiar with it, G-Suite was launched in 2006 developed by Google with the aim to provide cloud computing, productivity and collaboration tools to businesses. But the platform is most known for its messaging and video chat.
Google Hangouts is free to use, but it’s also offered as part of G-Suite with added features. Google has an offering for small businesses with two plan options, Basic and Business. The basic plan starts at £4.60 per user per month including access to Gmail, Google Hangouts, secure team messaging and share calendars. Reviewers positively note the integration with other apps from Google such as Gmail or Google calendar.
Cisco Webex is a good option if you are looking for video conferencing software that includes screen sharing and presentation tools with streaming features that can also be used for webinars.
Cisco Webex offers Starter, Plus, and Business, starting from £11.25 per host per month for the Starter. There is also tailored subscription plans for enterprises.
Cisco Webex offers a free trial of the Business Plan (normally £22.50 per host per month). Once the trial ends, users can decide if they want to stay with that plan or choose another one. The plans vary on the number of participants, cloud storage, and number of licenses per host.
Launched in 2004, Gotomeeting is available for PC and Mac, as well as iOS or Android. To organise a video conference with Gotomeeting, you can create and manage your meetings from a dedicated control panel and send a participation URL to your employees.
Gotomeeting allows you to select the programs you want to show during screen sharing and attendees can exchange documents from a chat window accessible to everyone.
Gotomeeting offers a 14 day trial, and plans start from £12 per month including up to 10 participants. If you require more participants or additional features, the Pro (£19/month) and Plus (£34/month) plans include up to 150 and 250 participants, respectively.
Founded in 2003 and acquired by Microsoft in 2011, Skype created Skype for Business in 2015 and it replaced messaging app, Lync. Microsoft announced that will be retiring Skype for Business and will be incorporated into Microsoft Teams in 2021.
Reviewers wrote that Skype for Business is useful because it’s part of Microsoft Office. Skype integrates with Outlook calendar, to make arranging meetings and conferences easier. Other features include screen sharing and instant messaging feature. Skype for Business allows you to add up to 250 participants to an online meeting, manage employee accounts and it’s integrated with Microsoft Office. Price starts at around £1.64 ($2) per user per month.
TeamViewer is a tool for remote maintenance and remote assistance. Even if your collaborators have not installed the software, they can go online and enter a code to join the meeting. TeamViewer requires a significant data bandwidth to maintain the connection between workstations. Professional subscriptions range from £31.90 per month for single users to £119.90 for teams with 3 sessions included.
A solution for every need
Videoconferencing, screen sharing or meeting recording: there are plenty of successful collaboration tools in the workplace to organise effective meetings and encourage your employees to participate. Check out our directories of meeting and web conferencing software to find the right match for your needs.