We live in a time when traveling has become a debated subject, especially flying. For us as a consulting business, traveling is our biggest environmental impact and that’s, of course, something we want to change. The question is what we are going to do about it?
Train over flight – an obvious choice?
The reason for our travels is meetings with customers, partners or co-workers from another of our four offices in Sweden. So, the first question to ask ourselves was; how are we traveling to our meetings? Since a couple of years back, we’re choosing to travel by train as long as it’s possible, and when the time frame won’t allow it, we take the car over flying. One step in the right direction.
In-person meetings vs. web meetings
The next step was to ask ourselves; why do we need to meet in person for our meetings? In some cases, it feels like an obvious choice to meet face to face, for example at a start-up-meeting when it’s important to build a dynamic in the project group and get to know each other. In other cases, there might not be as many other obvious reasons for an in-person meeting. So, the next question is; how do we replace in-person meetings with the same, or even better, quality?
That’s when we enter the world of tech! It’s 2019 and we hope that technology can offer good enough support for web meetings. Although in our experience, that didn’t turn out to be true. There always seemed to be some fuss with the web meetings, sometimes it was on our side and sometimes on the other parties. Of course, in those cases, it’s easy to feel frustrated and question if the web meetings are worth the loss of time.
How to succeed with web meetings
So, what did we do to reach success with our web meetings? We made sure to get the technical equipment needed to hold high-quality web meetings, educated our staff on how to use it, created checklists for each step – from booking the web meeting, all the way to when you close down the screen.
Because if we want to change a behavior or old habit, we need to replace it with something better. We need to meet the challenges on the right level and get all co-workers to follow. Even the ones that are the most hostile towards new technology.
A better work environment with web meetings?
To add some spice to it we decided to throw a web meeting contest! Soon we’ll choose the winner who will be the person who has had the most web meetings during the period. To understand the positive effects of web meetings, instead of traveling, we’ve automatically calculated a template for how much CO2 we’ve saved, comparing to if we had taken the flight or car instead of the train. Because if we see the results of the change in our behavior, it will contribute to motivation and make the switch easier.
After only three weeks, 38 % of the co-workers answered that they’ve had “a few more” or “many more” web meetings than before the competition started. Fun evidence that a change had taken place and that behavior can be changed with small means.
Two factors that are important to mention regards to web meetings vs. in-person meetings, is the increased efficiency and improved workplace environment. Instead of wasting time on traveling to and from a meeting, it’s possible to squeeze in more meetings that create value. And instead of getting up at dawn, coming home after dinner time and travel for hours, you can save the extra time for productive work, spare time or recovery. You take care of your employees and they get extra time to take care of themselves.
If you have other interesting tips on how we can conquer our environmental challenges, or how we can become better at web meetings, you’re welcome to email me. Because it’s together that we will meet these challenges and solve them.