As businesses seek to survive the downturn, ideas and sharing those ideas is essential, but cut backs in travel costs and face-to-face meetings are proving a challenge to creativity, according to research* released today by Cisco WebEx.
The survey reveals that almost 70% of Small Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and mid-market owner/managers rank teamwork as one of their top three most valued staff attributes during the downturn, alongside passion for the business and flexibility to work different hours.
The research found that a third of employers (34%) are asking staff to cut out business travel and the same proportion of employers are asking them to attend fewer face-to-face meetings. This is despite over half (51%) of both employers and employees acknowledging that this could adversely affect relationships with colleagues and customers.
Natalie Butler, UK Manager, Cisco WebEx, said: “Every cost-conscious business owner is under pressure to cut-back, particularly on expensive travel and time in meetings, but it’s important this is not allowed to affect business interaction with colleagues and clients. Instant messaging, VoIP, web conferencing or even TelePresence for the most life-like meeting experience, collaborative technologies can provide viable alternatives to face-to-face meetings whilst maintaining an environment where staff can work together and ideas can be developed.
Butler continues, “Whilst 73 per cent of employers want their staff to make better use of technology to help them through the recession, only 7% of businesses are actually using it.”
John Dunsmure, managing director of The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), commented: “Now more than ever the UK business community needs its workforce to pull together. The overall strength of a company is greater than the sum of its parts, so while it’s natural for staff to feel less secure and more hesitant about sharing ideas, teamwork can play a key role in getting us through the downturn.”
Cisco WebEx has launched an online campaign to encourage ideas sharing and support Teachers Without Borders. For more details, please visit http://uk.passtheball.com.