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Online meeting rooms have largely influenced on how organizations are distributed. Managers can meet online with employees from different parts without moving to a centralized place. This has helped many organizations reduce costs and save relocation time. The traditional work styles have changed rapidly, and people are remotely working from their homes (Coleman, 2006). Offices are spatially distributed and online meetings and events achieve their management.
The challenge of making sure employees are engaged and connected
The main problem of using online meetings is getting your members concentrated; the manager cannot tell whether that employee in their pajamas is still concentrated in the discussion. Many distractions might arise and reduce the employee’s concentration. The coordinator of the meeting has a hard time to ensure that all participants are actively involved (Coleman, 2006). This is not only a problem to the organization but to employees too. This is because they want to work and still want to involve others, meet and catch up with families. This is usually not possible since most workers never meet face-to-face (Coleman, 2006).
As more and more people work remotely from homes, companies are cutting down costs since they require less space. However, it is yet to be seen whether these tools are enough to engender the social trust necessary for effective and efficient team collaboration (Coleman, 2006).
Employees Demand More Work Flexibility
A recent study in the United Kingdom has shown that, due to the changing technology on online chats and meetings, workers want more autonomy and flexibility. Employees want organizations that portray their identities but not those that define them. They want an organization that allows them to work at their comfort and give them a greater say on how things are run (Coleman, 2006).
Implications in a change of culture
The most difficult part of workplace change is not the company’s physical environment or technology; employees and their culturally costumed attitudes about how they are managed, the way they should work, and their connection to the traditional centralized workplace. This is not something new as Edward T. Hall wrote in his classic books about time and culture, how people relate is a part of their culture (Coleman, 2006). These are usually learned informally at an early age especially the first ten years of someone’s life, and they do not change so frequently.
Resistance to this new cultural change or some variation of it is creating barriers to this current trend especially by the elderly and the baby boomers. In the future, the old central offices will get terminated. This is because the managers and workers more comfortable with this traditional lifestyle and workplaces are the older and almost retiring (Coleman, 2006).
In the meantime, if the elderly decline to embrace these new working styles, they will find it increasingly hard to retain their jobs. Online meetings are influencing negatively on the way we interact with other employees in the normal setting of personal contact. It is becoming increasingly hard for employees to communicate, and socialize face to face with each other; managers might not be able to interview and probe them well for further information since there is no personal contact.
Since it is no longer possible to communicate with distributed teams of employees, managers need to familiarize themselves with the changing lifestyles, and trends of technology (Ouye, 2010).
Coleman, D. (2006). New Ways of Working Research. London: Oxford University Press.
Ouye, J. (2010). Trends that Are Dramatically Changing Work and the Workplace. New Yok: Routeledge.