The phrase “talk soon” frequents our outboxes as a prompt for phone meetings with colleagues, partners, and clients. But “talk soon” is a half-truth; new office communications tools like Slack and social media have made inter-office and external communications constant — we talk to our colleagues throughout the work day and even after. With daily meetings, high-demand messaging platforms, and inbound emails on top of a regular workload, time is a resource that must be optimized. Messaging platforms and tools are often time consuming and add an additional communication workload that may not truly contribute to reducing meeting time and meeting deadlines. Video conferencing, on the other hand, has proven to be a tool that builds trusted relationships, speeds decision making, and impacts employee productivity and satisfaction, replacing “talk soon” with “see you soon.”

A study by University of Minnesota Duluth and University of North Carolina at Charlotte found a negative relationship between time spent in meetings and the day-to-day wellbeing of employees. Another study from The Economist also showed that communication barriers in the workplace can increase stress, delay projects, and even lose sales. Where meeting frequency and time may contribute to employee stress, fewer, more effective meetings are shown to enable higher productivity and better working environments. Video conferencing can be leveraged to speed confident decision-making, while improving relationships and communication, to ultimately reduce meeting frequency and, in turn, increase productivity and mitigate employee stress.

Replacing time spent on audio calls and text-based messaging platforms with video conferencing can provide additional benefits. Perhaps the most obvious is the development of effective workplace relationships — where an improved connection can be made with colleagues by being able to see a colleague via video on a weekly call, for example. This can develop a relationship more akin to that enjoyed in an in-person interaction than is possible in a traditional audio call.

Conducting video meetings can also prevent potential miscommunications. On a phone call, the tone could be misinterpreted, and result in impaired relationships or even the loss of a sale. But, being able to see facial expressions and body language, along with high quality audio, ensures clearer communication and less room for misunderstanding. Video can also contribute to more effective use of meeting time, with fewer distractions and more real-time collaboration to reach decisions. Video ensures full participation and engagement in the conversation from every participant, as opposed to an audio call where callers may focus on emails or other work.

Full participation combined with collaboration tools such as screen-sharing and whiteboarding can contribute to faster and more confident decision-making in meetings. Instead of discussing a plan, with participants taking separate notes, for changes to be made after the call, plans and documents can be co-created and shared in real time. A draft enters the conference and a completed, fully-supported plan is ready to be distributed among the team members at the end of the video call.

Aside from improving the use of time and business relationships, technology is an important factor in attracting and retaining talent. A “Future Workforce” study by Dell and Intel reported that 42 percent of Millennials would “quit a job with substandard technology,” and 79 percent of them believe that “the workspace is becoming more collaborative.” The best office communication technology, yielding a more salubrious working environment with fewer, more effective meetings, can be a worthy investment for a range of businesses.

But finding the right technology – specifically, video conferencing technology – can be a challenge for many businesses. Video conferencing can impact both inter-office and external communications, and there are a few ways that businesses can choose to implement it. Many may deploy conferencing from employee’s desktop computers with a webcam or video phones, while other applications need to account for traveling employees with video conferencing enabled on a smartphone, laptop, or tablet.

In many cases, a dedicated collaborative space with a group video conferencing system is a requirement. While large conference rooms have been a common place for group systems, huddle spaces are a growing trend, providing small teams with a venue for brainstorming, collaboration, and video conferencing. In these rooms, businesses may use an integrated digital whiteboard with video conferencing to allow everyone in the room to work together on a shared interactive surface. In larger conference rooms, multiscreen video walls can allow more participants to see and participate, with the ability for real-time document sharing and editing. Matching the venue and the mission with the right technology is an important part of taking on video conferencing. Perhaps most important is choosing a solution that is easy-to-use. A system that wastes valuable meeting time setting up a call or is difficult to use will not be used often.

The trend is unmistakable – video conferencing yields real benefits and is becoming more widely adopted. As that continues to unfold, audio calls will become less frequent, and “Talk soon” will be phased out in favor of “See you soon.”