The fact that in-person business events, conferences and offsite meetings have been off the table for much of 2020 has given us time to reflect on why we had them in the first place.
Here are just five reasons why swapping online meetings for in-person meet ups – as soon as you are able to again - are a smart way forward for your business.
In a study by Doodle conducted in 2019, 95% of people surveyed felt that meeting in person was an effective way of building relationships at work. This finding is seconded by a study conducted by Loughborough University School of Business and Economics, imago and The Right Solution that says that relationships can be developed face-to-face in a way that phone or email doesn’t allow.
Why is this important? Well, successful businesses are built on people, and they function together via relationships. The stronger the relationships, the better your business will withstand change and disruption, and the stronger it can become.
In turbulent times, swift and decisive decision-making can be the difference between a business that survives and one that doesn’t make the cut – so putting your team in the best possible position for good decision making is a key consideration.
In an insights study by Forbes, when people were asked why they preferred in person business meetings and conferences, 44% of them said it was because they created a better environment for tough and timely decision making, and 39% said that the key benefit of these meetings was that they lead to higher quality decision making.
In a world where new ideas help determine how businesses can evolve to face our ‘new normal’, this benefit seems especially relevant.
In research from by Loughborough University School of Business and Economics, delegates rated listening to speakers who inspire new ideas, challenge the norm and initiate change in every day thinking as the most valuable element of face-to-face learning versus online learning, and further research demonstrates that face-to-face learning aids memory and understanding too.
According to Forbes, 77% of those surveyed agreed that it’s easier to read body language and facial expressions in person rather than online. That has a profound benefit when you bring larger groups people together – the more people who are aligned, the better, and if it’s easier to do that in person rather than online, it will be more valuable.
In the same survey, 75% said they value the social interaction and the ability to bond with co-workers that they get from being together. If you’re running a team that needs to connect and communicate well together, getting together physically can be a productive and effective solution.
On a side note, multiple studies have shown that while in a virtual meeting, participants don’t give it their full attention. The Forbes study reports that 58% say they frequently surf the web, check email or do unrelated tasks while in a digital meeting. So if you want your team’s full attention, being there in person makes a difference.
Keeping your people happy and working effectively is always a key management consideration – hiring people remotely to work from home is another new process that many businesses are still finding their feet with.
For all that they involve greater logistical planning and cost, people genuinely prefer in person meetings to virtual meetings. Loughborough University School of Business and Economics found that 96.6% of people said they prefer a face-to-face meeting over a virtual one, and according to the Doodle Meetings Report 20193, 76% of professionals prefer face-to-face meetings to calls or video chats. Only 7% of those asked said they preferred conference calls.
And it’s even true for digital natives: in research reported in Entrepreneur.com – 78% of Generation Xers and 80% of Millennials would prefer to meet in person rather than online.
So here’s to working together, inspiring each other, and collaborating on new projects, online, offline and out of the office again in the future.
If you’re looking for somewhere in Denmark to hold your next business event or group meeting, just read on.