Video collaboration solutions have been instrumental in enabling remote work, but “meeting fatigue” is a legitimate downside to the technology. New research published by the American Psychological Association finds that meeting via computer instead of in person “can be taxing on the mind and spirit.”
“Everyone just wants to get in and get out, log in and log off,” one study participant reported. “There’s very little chatter before and after the meeting like there would be in real life.”
Nevertheless, businesses will remain dependent on video meetings for the foreseeable future as they continue to support hybrid work environments featuring a mix of in-office, mobile and remote work. The challenge now is to enhance the technology in ways that make meetings more engaging and productive.
An Intelligent Assistant
Cisco is addressing the challenge by introducing more than 400 new features to its Webex conferencing and collaboration platform over the past six months. Collectively referred to as “Seamless Collaboration for Secure Remote Work” solutions, the enhancements help combat meeting fatigue by making Webex meetings easier and more engaging.
Several artificial intelligence features automate a host of common meeting tasks, allowing users to focus more on interacting with colleagues. The highlight is the AI-powered Webex Assistant, which allows users to trigger a variety of advanced meeting features through voice commands. With this feature, you can:
- Check a conference room schedule, join a meeting or make a call.
- Let the digital assistant take notes for you so you can stay focused on what your colleagues are saying.
- Set up live transcription of meetings, with running captions displayed on a side panel.
- Enable closed-captioning for hearing-impaired participants or for those who simply want the ability to follow along with both text and audio.
- Capture meeting highlights in three ways — with voice-activated trigger words, voice commands, or by selecting and highlighting text.
- Record meetings for post-meeting transcription. Speaker labeling within the transcript lets you know exactly what was said by whom.
- Automatically create and distribute post-meeting recap emails with highlights and action items.
- Conduct keyword searches of all of your meeting transcripts.
A new real-time translation feature helps resolve language barriers that can complicate meetings in the age of global workforces. Studies find that nearly a quarter of video meetings involve participants who are non-native English speakers, and most of them employ third-party services to translate meetings. Webex Assistant’s advanced speech-to-text technology allows you to translate meeting conversations from English into more than 100 languages, including Spanish, French, German, Mandarin, Portuguese, Arabic, Russian, Dutch and Japanese.
New analytics features are also designed to improve the Webex user experience. Initially implemented to provide user profiles for meeting participants, the People Insights feature has been expanded to help track productivity and improve wellbeing. For example, it can highlight the potential for burnout by tracking how often and how long you are involved in meetings. It can even suggest declining or rescheduling meetings to help you minimize stress.
Video meeting solutions will remain invaluable as organizations continue to support hybrid work options. While frequent communication is essential to effective teamwork, organizations must guard against meeting overload that ultimately hurts employee productivity. Contact us to learn more about utilizing the latest Webex enhancements to help your people combat stress and work more efficiently.