The Productive Workplace: Start by Creating a Culture of Innovation

Culture and engagement are rated as the most important facets of a company, while also being the most challenging aspects to maintain. And culture means much more than it used to. Successful companies are celebrated for their unique and diverse workplaces, while those lacking it often find it tough to retain top talent. However, the bottom line is, a company with a strong culture is one that resonates emotionally with employees. It makes them excited to come to work, drives positive outcomes and infuses passion into everything employees do.

Culture is more than perks--i.e. free lunches, in-office yoga, unlimited swag--it's about building a business with a truly positive atmosphere throughout all levels of a company's infrastructure. At its core, culture is about the humanization of a business.

As businesses grow and expand over the globe they become distributed--presenting CEOs and business leaders with the challenge to unify their dispersed workforce and maintain the culture they have worked so hard to build. After all, one of the most valued aspects of the modern business is the freedom and flexibility to work remotely. However, remote employees have different cultural needs than those in the office. Remote workers might struggle to make personal connections that are formed when you work in-office. But, just because an employee is working remotely, doesn't mean that they have to feel that way.

So, how can you create a productive and unified [even when dispersed] workplace? Build it on a culture of motivation and innovation. How do you do that? With video.

Video enables emotion-driven connections; emotion-driven connections result in stronger relationships.
Every Monday I make my way through our office to have personal interactions with my employees--see how they are feeling, look for areas where people need support and compliment a job well done. A truly effective company is one that centers its cultural efforts around emotion-driven connections. We now have offices all over the world, and video communications are one way to enable face-time when I can't physically be in the same space.

Successful communication is tricky to master, and verbal communication is only half of that puzzle-the other half is visual (i.e. body language, eye contact). Awareness of body language helps people better understand the message being communicated. In turn, eye contact and facial expressions bring in a dimension of enthusiasm and trust when communicating--both of which are elements needed in building and maintaining a strong company culture.

You know when you see someone smile at you, you smile back? It's the same concept here with visual communications in the workplace. Whether it's the passion you see in your sales manager's face as they motivate the team during a product launch, or the confident spirit expressed by the CMO when presenting next quarter's marketing plan, positive visual communication goes a long way to motivate people to be all they can be, which brings me to my next point.

Video improves business outcomes.
Motivation is contagious--when you see it, you become it. By fostering a culture centered on visual interactions, where visible communications are key, your workforce becomes more motivated to get things done, and not only that, but to do them well. This is why video communications are absolutely crucial in business interactions, especially when those interactions involve a [potential] customer.

In a global survey of 400 business professionals on the state of the modern meeting, we found that 94 percent believe face-to-face communications improve business outcomes. 80 percent of professionals said they would rather speak with a customer via video than over the phone, with 71 percent stating they lost a deal due to lack of face-to-face interaction.

In addition, video communications holds people accountable. The survey results revealed that 76 percent of professionals feel like meeting attendees are less likely to pay attention on a presentation-centric Web conference than on a video meeting. In turn, 10 percent of professionals admit they have checked online dating sites while on a Web conference, 59 percent admitted to writing personal emails or texts, 30 percent admit to preparing or eating food and 28 percent have gone to the bathroom.

Video communications create empathy.
What this really comes down to is empathy. Communication by phone and email/text can easily be misinterpreted. A period vs. an exclamation point can make all the difference in both voice tone and email text. But with video, people are more accountable for their actions and more frequently portray themselves in an honest manner. Jimmy Kimmel often asks celebrities to read mean tweets about themselves. Well, I highly doubt those Tweeps (Twitter users) would actually tell Draymond Green that he looks like the donkey from Shrek to his face.

Mean tweets aside, we understand that face-to-face communication is strongly desired by everyone, especially those in a professional environment. For example, just think of what live, interactive video can do to a customer experience. In the same survey I previously mentioned, we found that 65 percent of professionals said they want face-to-face video in most of all of their online meetings; 73 percent would prefer to discuss sensitive HR issues face-to-face and 87 percent want to connect with their manager over video instead of the phone.

So what's the bottom line? If you want a productive workplace and successful company culture, create a video-centric culture. It delivers the end-to-end experience people desire and brings a human-touch back to interactions and communications.