36 Virtual vs. Face-to-Face Communication [Stats to Know in 2022]

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Lauren Gregory



Zoom, Skype, Google Hangouts, and other means of virtual communication were present before the coronavirus pandemic, but they were all underutilized. However, the pandemic forced us to embrace these tools and find new ways of communicating and collaborating through them.

As some companies are considering a return to the office in 2022, many are struggling with whether to stick to virtual meetings or resume face-to-face communication.

Is one better than the other? We won't share our opinion on this. Instead, we'll give you statistics and let you decide what works for you.

Numbers don't lie. Let's dive in.

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Statistics on Conflict Resolution When WFH

Conflicts between co-workers aren't new, but working from home has definitely affected how employees solve conflicts between them.

Here are a few stats on conflict resolution when working remotely:

  1. Conflict resolution was reduced by 80% when working from home, but 67% of employees found resolving conflicts more challenging when working from home (My Perfect Resume).
  2. 18% say that most issues result from the clash of values and lack of honesty or transparency when communicating about projects (SHRM).
  3. 69% of employees prefer messaging as a means of communication when working from home (Zogby Analytics).
  4. 62% of employees reported that they had issues with being interrupted or talked over, one of the main issues of online communication (Owl Labs).
  5. 27% of employees couldn't observe common virtual meeting etiquette like engaging or staying focused (Curiosity at Work).

Statistics on Flow of Information Across Departments When WFH

How fast communication flows across departments is very important, and it directly affects productivity and revenue in a company.

Here is how communication flow has been impacted by employees working from home:

  1. 56% of employees report spending at least three hours a day in meetings, while 30% report being in meetings for eight hours a day. Most employees say these are primarily conversations they would have by simply moving from one office to another, but now they have to be scheduled (VIRTIRA). Subsequently, this delays the flow of communication compared to when employees work from the office.
  2. Time spent talking to management has increased by 38.03%, significantly improving the flow of information across all departments (Becker Friedman Institute).
  3. 91% of employees report having a stronger connection with their superiors since they started working from home (Forbes).
  4. 33% of employees complained about having difficulty collaborating with their co-workers due to different schedules and routines (Clutch).
  5. 58% of employees find it easy to communicate with their peers about work-related matters. However, 38% of employees (47% working from larger organizations & 50% young employees) complained about a lack of information from management, which was a huge barrier in their work ( Zogby Analytics).

Statistics About Video Conferences When Working from Home

While commuting to and from work was exhausting, some employees found video calls even more exhausting. In 2020 the term "zoom exhaustion" was used, but there was no scientific explanation until recently. Zoom fatigue is people's feeling of exhaustion after a video conference call.

Research has shown that virtual conference calls have varying effects on different groups of people. Below are some statistics:

  1. A study involving 103 employees and 1400 observations showed that having the camera off during virtual meetings can reduce fatigue (Science Daily).
  2. 32% of employees said having the camera off during a meeting allowed them to multitask. 15% of them said this boosted their productivity (Sage Journals).
  3. 92% of employees experience fatigue after a video conference, with the fatigue increasing in the afternoon and late evening (Psypost).
  4. 13.8% of women compared to 5.5% of men struggled with zoom fatigue (KCRA).
  5. 58% of introverts reported camera exhaustion, while 40% of extroverts complained about camera exhaustion. The higher zoom fatigue in introverts is linked to sensory overload (GlobeNewsWire).

Statistics on Challenges of Virtual Communication

Having face-to-face meetings reduces misunderstandings. Communication channels such as audio calls or emails are less reliable than face-to-face communication. These communication channels lead to miscommunication or loss of information.

Here are some statistics on how virtual communication has been a problem for employees and their issues:

  1. 62% of employees reported they lost essential files in their inbox or personal files their co-workers couldn't access (Project. co).
  2. 15% of remote employees said their bosses distracted them by talking too much during meetings, and 45% of employees said their bosses stressed them out when communicating virtually (Airtasker).
  3. More than 65% of millennials understand information better when presented virtually (Ring Central).
  4. 64% of executives believe they still need to evaluate and come up with better strategies to avoid misunderstandings and improve communication at the workplace (Forbes).

Statistics About Zoom Usage

Since the pandemic, Zoom has been the most common means of communication for virtual meetings, weddings, and friendly hangouts. The company's revenue grew from $21.7 million in 2019 to $671 million in 2022. Zoom has continued to thrive as the most popular communication channel in workplaces.

Here are some statistics:

  1. 47% of employees (especially government employees) prefer Zoom to other apps like Google Meet, Cisco Webex, GoToMeeting, and Microsoft Teams (Zoom).
  2. 57% of interviews were carried out on Zoom in 2020, and this trend is still accurate in 2022 (user interviews).
  3. Zoom had a 40.7% market share in audio and video conference system segments in 2021 (Solutions 2 Share).
  4. Zoom is the top choice in 44 countries (including the United Kingdom and the United States) mainly because they offer 40-minute video calls for up to 100 attendees (Email Tool Tester).

Statistics About Attention During Virtual Meetings

Thanks to social media and our growing need for immediate gratification, human beings are more fickle than ever before. Research has shown that human beings' attention spans have reduced by at least 25% over the years. What does this mean for virtual meetings? Are employees able to focus during meetings? Here’s what the data says:

  1. 67% of co-workers are distracted during virtual meetings, with 15% admitting to doing house chores while the meeting is still ongoing (Zippia).
  2. 36% of employees mentioned they multitask during meetings, and while some end up doing more, a considerable percentage lose track of meetings even when content is important (Small Group Research).
  3. 64% of employees reported that having their webcam on during virtual meetings makes them self-conscious, and they focus on their co-workers, which is very distracting (VIRTIRA).

Statistics About Productivity When Using Virtual Meetings

Many employees enjoy working from home, but that means changing all the systems that were once in place, especially communication. Data shows employees communicate more with their seniors and even share more in virtual meetings than in face-to-face meetings. How are all these changes affecting productivity?

Here are the statistics:

  1. Organizations spend 15% of their time in meetings, and 71% are deemed unproductive, which can be very costly in the long run (Zippia).
  2. 38% of employers have upgraded their company video technology for hybrid attention, which has boosted productivity (Owl Labs).
  3. 43% of employees reported that being on a webcam made them productive, while 31% reported a significant reduction in productivity (VIRTIRA).
  4. 25% of employees spent less time collaborating with their co-workers, took longer to engage with new employees, and spent less time accessing new information, which negatively affected productivity and revenue (Nature Human Behavior).

Statistics About Employee Satisfaction with Virtual Communication

Communication in a company can affect how employees feel about working for an organization. Healthy communication can boost employee retention. It can also affect how comfortable employees are sharing their thoughts and ideas with their executives. Here’s how virtual communication has affected employee satisfaction:

  1. Three studies involving 1029 individuals showed that video calls worked as accurately as face-to-face communication (Harvard Business Review).
  2. 70% of employees said virtual meetings were less stressful than face-to-face meetings (Owl Labs).
  3. 89% of employees said sorting messages on slack and teams is the most unpleasant part of their day and of working remotely. 38% of these employees say that email fatigue could push them to quit their jobs (Forbes).
  4. Working from home has reduced meetings by 5%, a huge bonus for employees who don't like meetings (Nature Human Behavior).
  5. 39% said they wanted to leave their jobs because their bosses were even more aggressive in texts than in face-to-face communication (SHRM).
  6. 61% of employees said they found virtual meetings more engaging than face-to-face meetings (Slido).

How to Improve Communication Among Employees

Virtual and face-to-face meetings have their advantages and disadvantages. The best channel of communication depends on a company's needs. That being said, you can do a few things to improve every channel.

For example, you could allow employees to choose whether they want their webcam on or off during video meetings. Similarly, leaders can put more effort into team-building sessions to ensure all their employees feel valued. This will boost their confidence and allow them to freely share their ideas in face-to-face meetings.

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Topics: Sales Strategy

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