Money and time more important than the environment

Published Feb 14, 2011

Many companies have clear guidelines to ensure that the number of business trips will decrease in favour of travel-free meetings. A research group at KTH has looked closely at the factors that determine how meetings take place, and the result is that money, time and a fear of technology, play a crucial role.

The researchers have collaborated with four major media companies in Sweden in an attempt to identify motivational factors and barriers to video conferencing.

"We quickly found that video conferencing is replacing business trips primarily to save time and money," says Minna Räsänen, one of the researchers at the Centre for Sustainable Communications (CESC) at KTH.
The environment is less important when firms choose between a business trip or a video conference, even though many guidelines highlight the environment as the main argument.

Other, less tangible factors that determine the choice are often individual. This may include the employee's fear of problems with technology or uncomfortable situations when cameras, headsets and other equipment have to be handled.

A well-thought-out choice of meeting room is also important.

"It may be a mistake to place the video conferencing equipment in the most popular meeting room. This means that video conferences complete with regular physical meetings for room space," says Minna Räsänen.

It is efficient, both economically and environmentally, if video conferencing equipment is located in rooms that are available and bookable for many employees. This increases the chance that video conferences increase in number and that the purchase of equipment will be profitable, and that more trips are replaced in practice.

For more information, contact Bernhard Huber, communications manager at the CESC, at 08-790 64 52 or bhuber@kth.se.

Peter Larsson

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