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Lots of us still aren't talking in video meetings

man on video call with colleagues
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

More than half of the people participating in video conferencing calls never utter a single word, according to a new report from Cisco.

The company's latest “Hybrid work index” research paper, based on anonymized data from multiple sources, as well as an extra survey, over the past 18 months of extensive video calling, found that only 48% of participants are likely to actually talk. 

What’s more, virtually all meetings (98%) have at least one person joining remotely, which increases the need for inclusion and engagement for such participants, in order to have them “feel equal” to their on-site peers, the report said. However, “joining remotely” has gotten an entirely new meaning since the pandemic. Nowadays, people use mobile devices to connect to their meetings 27% of the time. Pre-pandemic, that number stood at 9%.

Regardless of the type of device used to connect to a meeting, and despite the fact that many people rarely speak when on a video conference call, connectivity is still deemed “critical” for the post-Covid-19 recovery, by 82% of respondents. 

They believe connectivity can empower them to work for any company in the world, increasing their playing field. At the same time, companies get a global pool of talent to work with.

Back to work gaining traction

For the survey participants, it’s also important that everyone has equal access to jobs, education, and healthcare opportunities.

Despite the impressive rise in telecommuting, working on-site won’t be going anywhere, any time soon. Cisco has found that the devices connecting to office-based Wi-Fi networks rose by almost two-thirds (61%), compared to six months ago. Most of the devices were in higher education, professional services, and hospitality industries.

To draft the report, Cisco pulled millions of anonymized customer data from a number of its services, including Webex, Meraki, ThousandEyes, Talos, Duo and Umbrella. It also polled 39,000 people in more than 30 countries.