Despite a desire to return to “normal,” one thing unlikely to change is the increase in remote and hybrid work opportunities. Employees enjoy setting their own pace and working from the comfort of their homes. According to a Gallup poll of those workers in remote-capable jobs, 91% said they preferred either exclusively remote or hybrid work over being entirely on-site.
A business is only as strong as the staff who hold it up. Offering tools to improve the employee experience and decrease travel costs and time will be well worth it in the long run. Telepresence is one such tool with countless benefits for business growth.
What Is Telepresence?
Telepresence capabilities are more advanced than basic conference calls — quality video and audio are a priority. It should give off the feeling of speaking to a room of people while still being remote.
Also, telepresence options typically involve a mobility aspect. Robots with built-in cameras and speakers serve as a physical representation of remote employees, allowing them to interact with co-workers as if they were in person.
Telepresence robots can make the hybrid workplace a more immersive experience. The TEMI robot uses artificial intelligence to connect front-end and back-end systems, relaying information to customers and employees in a variety of ways. TEMI can navigate a physical workplace, interact with people with a hands-free interface and accommodate video conferencing, among other features.
Benefits to Business
The world of business is ever-evolving and a failure to keep up results in a failure to thrive. Investing in new technology keeps companies at the forefront of the action and maintains their relevance. Telepresence brings many benefits for employers by improving the worker experience and boosting growth.
1. Reduced Travel Expenses
Business travel expenses in the US are reaching all-time highs — costs increased 50% in 2022 from the previous year — and may well continue on that trajectory. Anything a company can do to cut their travel budget will help the business stay in the black. Telepresence technology allows employees to “travel” anywhere globally at the touch of a button.
2. Streamlined Interview Process
Telepresence allows HR departments to bring in talent from all over without anyone ever setting foot in the building. Prospective employees wouldn’t need to ask for a day off at their current position to interview since they wouldn’t have travel time to consider.
This capability goes above and beyond conference call interviews since the interviewee can move around and make eye contact with individuals in the room. Telepresence adds a personal touch and level of comfort in an uncomfortable situation.
3. Easier Remote Onboarding
Many companies are hiring employees to be remote from their first day. Some may never set foot in the office. While this may be convenient and cost-effective for both parties, it can hurt the onboarding process.
Telepresence would allow these employees to train in real-time at the office without leaving their homes. They can meet coworkers and get a feel for the business’ environment and values.
4. Increased Interoffice Communication
Businesses operating with a mixture of remote, hybrid and full-time office employees sometimes struggle to keep lines of communication open. Often they become reliant on email, which can do in a pinch, but loses the value of personal connection.
According to the research of behavioral psychologist Dr. Albert Mehrabian, only 7% of communication is verbal. The other 93% is nonverbal, like body language and tone of voice.
Email loses all those nonverbal cues and telephone calls aren’t a drastic improvement. Telepresence encompasses the full range of communication and allows for conferences, impromptu meetings and even the occasional water cooler chat.
5. Possible Worldwide Expansion
No longer are businesses bound by geography. Companies of all sizes and budgets can expand on a global level. Even tasks that typically necessitate in-person visits — like factory inspections and real estate showings — can be accomplished virtually with telepresence.
This technology also allows companies to expand their net when searching for new talent. Highly integrated remote work is a big draw for people seeking employment. A business could be based in Ontario and hire someone who lives in Spain. There are no geographical restrictions for joining a workplace when telepresence is involved.
Telepresence Will Help Businesses Grow
Telepresence has nearly unlimited possibilities to help a business grow. While purchasing robots may seem like a high upfront investment, the benefits are well worth it.
However, if the initial expense feels too costly, experiment first with improving the audio and visual equipment in the conference room. Encouraging remote employees to request quick calls to check in with coworkers is another way of testing telepresence technology's usefulness.
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