Access to technology means doing business is more global than ever.
A December 2018 study by Forbes Insights showed that 73 per cent of business executives feel their network - of staff, management, suppliers, customers and other partners - is becoming significantly more globalised.
Emails, phone calls, instant messaging, remote working platforms and video-conferencing mean some co-workers may never even have the need to meet in person.
But is this an ideal way to work? There’s plenty of evidence to suggest face-to-face communication leads to stronger working relationships and greater productivity.
Louise Karim, the managing director of Mums@Work, says it is human nature to connect in person.
“I’m all for technology and I think that’s important, but you still don’t get that real connection that you get meeting someone face-to-face, that real bond,” says Karim.
Researchers at Loughborough University found 96.6 per cent of delegates in their 2017 survey favoured face-to-face meetings over all other forms of communication. The three most frequent reasons given were that it encouraged group interaction, lessened the barriers to communication and maximised the sharing of knowledge between group members.
“If you need to work with them on a project or they’re someone in your New York team, for example, you really need to have that face-to-face connection,” says Karim.
Karim recalls how valuable it was to fly Emirates Airline to Dubai from the UK for her first face-to-face interview, before joining the group in 2009.
“I’d interviewed through the phone and various technologies, but I wanted to come over here to present myself to the whole team, to let them understand my passion for coming to join the team and demonstrate my skills, and how I would fit culturally with the team.”
Karim’s experience is testament to the fact that sometimes making that extra effort pays off, particularly if you’re looking to make a lasting impression. And, she is not alone. In 2018, more than 80 million passengers passed through Dubai International Airport and a significant number of those travellers passed through for business. In recognition of this, Emirates Airline - which flies to 157 destinations across the world - offers a Business Rewards programme where companies both large and small earn rewards each time they fly.
One final factor to consider when deciding whether a trip is worth the effort is that most people overestimate how persuasive they are when writing e-mails. Recent research reported published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology showed that requests to complete a survey that were made in person were 34 per cent more successful than those requested by email.
So there’s no reason to ditch technology, but if you want to connect with your customers, use it to book your next meeting in person instead.
Learn more at Ideas Runway