We’re at the end of an era. Since the invention of email, text-based communication tools have become default for workplace communication. These tools were born in a different time for a different type of work. They leave today’s remote teams with faceless communication devoid of humanity. This is why the top two problems with remote work are 1) lack of communication and 2) loneliness.
In this new era, modern teams are trading the text box for a record button. They are using async video messaging tools like Volley to communicate better, faster, and clearer than ever before–allowing face-to-face communication to flow even more freely than text
Here are 9 research-backed reasons you should drop faceless communication with your remote team and start volleying today.
What is culture without communication? Your culture is the sum of your communication. How good can your culture be if the majority of your interactions are chat and email with the occasional emoji? This sort of communication works for a team that has proximity in an office, but only because there’s already a human connection there.
Imagine you’re sitting at a table at a restaurant, enjoying a face-to-face conversation with your friend, and suddenly the waiter puts a huge jar of flowers between you. It’s hard to feel close now, isn’t it? 89% of remote employees say that video helps them feel more connected with their colleagues.
As Alicia Berruti notes, “You can build relationships with a human. You cannot build a relationship with black text on a white screen.” Typing 1s and 0s is great for computers, but not as great for the people using those computers. Trust doesn’t happen until people connect with each other, and it’s much easier to interface with people than raw information.
People make connections with people, not text.
Speed is one of the most important factors in communication. But what if your communication method is slowing you down?
Typing is more formal and may require an introduction, but speaking lets you jump right into the topic. Not only is speaking more casual, but it’s way faster. Studies have consistently revealed that our typing speed is vastly underwhelming compared to our comfortable speaking speed. In fact, the average person can speak seven times faster than they can compose written business communication: 150 spoken WPM vs 19 typed WPM!
In a hurry? Not a problem! You can listen to any video at twice the speed without losing comprehension. That’s because most people can understand up to 400 WPM, even though the average talking speed is less than half that.
65% of people identify as visual learners. That’s two-thirds! Our eyes are made to quickly gather details on our environments and report that back to the brain. This means that visual demonstrations are much better than simply hearing about it. But we don’t just have visual bodies—our minds are made for visualizing solutions and quickly sorting through information.
Retention is also way better when we can see what’s going on. Even if the message is mostly auditory, video messaging improves retention by an average of 85%! That fact has huge implications for workflow apps, daily communication, and even business-to-consumer marketing.
“Don’t bother showing me. Just type a lengthy email in single-spaced Times New Roman and I’ll know just what you mean!”
—No one ever.
It’s easy to imagine a workplace where people prefer visual learning. In fact, it’s already here.
79% of employees want more videos and images in their regular communication. We want to work hard, be understood, and empathize with what others are saying. We crave connection and clear information.
But if we don’t have the right tools to communicate, it’s hard to express yourself without confusion. Experts agree that between 70 and 93% of communication is nonverbal, which gets ripped away by text-only communication. When you’re reading an email, there are no such things as tone of voice, facial expressions, body language, volume, or proximity. Sure, you can’t use that cute dolphin emoji in face-to-face conversation, but it comes at the price of numbing our sense of understanding.
90% of employees say video makes it easier to get their point across. You only have to explain yourself once, and the format is easy to distribute, attention-grabbing, and engaging. Video leaves no room for doubt whether that email you just sent was sarcastic or not. You can clarify what you meant and prevent further misunderstandings before they ever happen.
How long do you take to think about what to say? The chances are that it’s not long enough.
One advantage to asynchronous communication is the ability to plan your responses. In person, most people expect a response within one-fifth of a second after they stop talking! But that’s not the case with asynchronous video messaging, in which you can take as long as you need to gather your thoughts, look up an answer, and hit the record button when you’re ready.
You also don’t have to repeat yourself. Videos play exactly the same way, no matter how many times you’ve viewed them before. This flexibility frees employees from copious notes, re-listening to an hour long meeting’s recording, or feeling awkward when they say, “Sorry, could you say that again?”
Short, succinct video messages help everyone put their best foot forward by capitalizing on what meetings often lose: Time to prepare speaking, and relistening to what’s been said.
What’s the term for an unknown brand you don’t trust? A faceless corporation.
That answer reveals a ton about how we process information. Because face-to-face is 34x more powerful than an email, is it any wonder that employees keep asking for it? And leaders have noticed: 85% of executives say that F2F communication builds stronger and more meaningful business relationships.
For all the previous reasons (facial expressions, body language, and more), trust is earned and lost based on how well you interface with the face. 95% of people polled by Harvard Business Review say F2F is essential for building stronger long-term relationships.
Ready to try Volley yet? No? Keep reading
So much of modern life is just communicating with people. “Work” has become so reliant on messages that there are entire platforms devoted to just sending/handing messages. So how hard do you have to work to understand a message?
99% of remote workers think that improving communication can positively impact productivity. In other words, almost everyone who’s working remotely is tired of wasting energy on faceless communication.
Clear messages with a human element work! In fact, clarity is vital to productivity. 35% of a team's performance is attributed to how many times those team members actually spoke face-to-face. If you’re ready to maximize your time at work, it’s time to talk face-to-face. And with Volley, you can be face-to-face without being back-to-back. ;)
“There’s a temptation in our networked age to think that ideas can be developed by email and iChat. That’s crazy. Creativity comes from spontaneous meetings, from random discussion.”
What if you could blend the advantages of email and face-to-face interactions? Email allows you to reply anytime you like, and face-to-face maintains the all-important social connection that gets things done. Video messaging has both those benefits: reply when you like and stay social.
Why is that so important? Because creativity doesn’t just happen between 9 and 5. 72% of people have creative insights in the shower, when it’s just them and their thoughts. In fact, research backs the idea that being alone increases creativity. Constructive Internal Reflection is a mental state in which we self-reflect on everything we know, and put it together in new ways.
By taking out formal sit-down meetings, we allow people their creative space. Asynchronous video messaging keeps us in touch while stimulating our creative side.
Despite the countless hours that working professionals dump into email reading, it’s not the biggest place where businesses lose money on poor communication.
Inefficient meetings steal time and money—about $400 billion each year. There are tons of places where meetings can become poorly organized, but asynchronous video conferencing provides tons of solutions.
“Volley has replaced 4-5 hours of meetings for us.“
Michael Cirillo, CEO @ FlexDealer
We defied the global trend of longer meetings (10% longer each year) and emerged from the pandemic with fewer minutes spent wishing you weren’t in a meeting. The ability to connect with people over video messaging has been a massive game-changer. Not only do you focus on agenda items and cut the clutter, but you also allow people time to respond at their leisure. This means their responses are focused and relaxed, dispelling the myth that meetings are unavoidably stressful.
Video messages also mean fewer interruptions to your workflow. Instead of striking out a big block of time in your schedule, you can reply whenever you want. Sending a Volley is just as easy as pressing ENTER on a Slack message or email, and it’s not time-bound. This flexibility means employees can customize their workflow to what helps them be most productive, ultimately saving themselves—and the company—lots of time, money, and hassle.
So trade endless emails for human connection! Try out Volley and see how your team can stay connected, be more productive, and tame those soul-sucking meetings!
Mitchell Dong is a Hawai’i-grown marketer and educator who has spent his career telling brand stories and creating educational content for a range of organizations. He is the head of community at Volley, where he spends his days educating, supporting, and illuminating Volley users.