5 video conferencing tools to try for your next remote manpower meeting

5 video conferencing tools to try for your next remote manpower meeting


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Without a doubt, the COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on the way that both construction and construction operations are done. With non-essential construction being shut down in most areas and the need to quarantine away from each other, the virus has shed a light on the need for remote planning and remote meetings in the construction industry.

Though the impact has almost exclusively been a negative one, there are some positives that can be pulled from such a trying time for the industry. For instance, while many construction sites have been shut down, 90% of general contractors across North America have been able to continue to work remotely to understand and prepare for the impact COVID-19 is having on their current and future projects. The ability to be resilient, keep working, and pushing through hard times has been one of the qualities that has allowed the construction industry to grow year after year.

The key to collaborative remote meetings is maintaining a high level of visibility and communication amongst your team. There are many video conferencing tools that you can leverage for your manpower meetings and ensure there are no excuses for missing a meeting, however many of these tools come with different feature sets that you may want to evaluate before committing all of your future meetings. Some common video conferencing features you may want to consider for hosting your manpower meetings include:

  • Screen sharing

  • Remotely accessing another team members desktop

  • Chat via text during meetings

  • File sharing

  • Meeting recording

  • Digital whiteboards

There are also video conferencing tools that will allow you to broadcast conferences to large groups of passive viewers. This might come in handy should your company choose to host webinars or digital conferences for current or potential clients.


We’ve created a quick guide to upgrading your manpower meetings to help you optimize your workforce plan and keep your meetings efficient and productive. Feel free to download our guide to tech driven manpower meetings. For more information about manpower planning in general, check out our guide to construction manpower planning.


Video conferencing tools for construction manpower planning

From here on out we’re going to explore some of the different options available for running manpower meetings remotely. We’ll take a look at some of the most popular video conferencing tools, and some of the pros and cons for each.

Zoom (zoom.us)

Zoom is one of the most popular video conferencing tools available. It has strong webinar capabilities and features HD video and audio. At a basic level zoom is free to use but that does come with certain limitations, for instance time sensitive meetings and limits on participants. Upgrading to the Pro version is relatively inexpensive at 20$/month/host, and allows for up to 100 participants and meetings up to 24 hours long, which may seem excessive for manpower meetings, but compared to the 40 minute and 10 participant limit at the basic level it’s well worth the upgrade.

Pros:

  • HD video and audio

  • Active speaker displayed

  • Screen sharing

  • Scheduled meetings

  • Chrome and Outlook extensions

  • Mobile application

  • White-boarding

  • Meeting recording

  • User profiles

Cons:

  • There have been reported security issues with zoom meetings being interrupted and even computers being accessed through Zoom by outside users

  • HD audio and video is dependent on bandwidth. Users with poor connectivity may experience blurry video, audio that cuts in and out, and may even be dropped from the meeting

  • Payment plan is based on meeting hosts. If you plan on having multiple people hosting meetings the cost can start to add up

Skype (skype.com)

Skype is the “old faithful” in the video conferencing world. Similar to Zoom it also supports HD audio and video, but unlike Zoom it can support more participants at its free level and supports up to 4 hours for an individual meeting. There are a few different versions of Skype worth looking into including Skype Meetings, Skype for Web, and Skype for Businesses, but the pros and cons are fairly consistent for all of them with different limitations based on pricing ie. maximum file sizes for sharing, number of participants etc.

Pros:

  • HD audio and video

  • Screen sharing

  • Document sharing

  • White-boarding

  • Call phones and send text messages directly from meetings

  • Mobile applications

Cons:

  • Is known to freeze up

  • Connectivity issues

  • Eats up a lot of bandwidth

  • Calling and texting to phones requires a subscription to Skype premium

  • Similar to Zoom, Skype’s popularity has lead to issues with security

Google Hangout (hangouts.google.com)

If your company is already using google, you may want to keep things simple and go with their video conferencing tool Google Hangouts. It might be a great time to start given that due to the coronavirus pandemic Google is offering a lot of the benefits of their business version “Google Hangouts Meet” on their free version of Google Hangouts until Sept 30, which gives you some time to decide if upgrading is worth it for your company.

Pros:

  • Free to use, and upgraded version comes with G-suite if already subscribed

  • HD audio and video

  • Meeting recording

  • File sharing

  • Screen sharing

  • Mobile Applications

  • Google integrations for easy scheduling and invites

  • Small one-time fee to upgrade

Cons:

  • Requires participants have an active Google account

  • Screen is often blurry from participants with low connectivity

  • No desktop application

GoToMeeting (gotomeeting.com)

GoToMeeting is another incredibly popular video conferencing tool. While it doesn’t offer the free version that some of the other tools here do ($12/month), GoToMeeting also won’t run into as many of the meeting limitations that you may find with some of the free versions of video conferencing tools mentioned earlier.

Pros:

  • HD audio and video

  • Meeting recording

  • File sharing

  • Screen sharing

  • Mobile applications

  • Plenty of integrations including Office365, and Google

  • Meeting recording *meetings are also transcribed and allow you to search keywords to easily locate discussion points

Cons:

  • Similar to other video conferencing tools, GoToMeeting requires a strong internet connection and can quickly eat up data for mobile users

  • No free-version, though the Pro version is only 12$/month with a free trial available

Slack (slack.com)

Slack is mainly used as an instant messaging system within companies but also offers video conferencing. The benefits of using a tool like Slack as opposed to some of the other video conferencing options mentioned is that it is an incredibly versatile communication tool. Users can create channels for different teams to discuss specific topics or projects, and easily upload and search out documents or files. The app is free to use with unlimited users and a search history of up to 10,000 messages, or you can upgrade to the paid app ($7/month/user) to increase search history and have unlimited storage and integrations available.

Pros:

  • Full communication tool

  • Video Conferencing

  • Unlimited users

  • Mobile applications

  • Screen sharing

  • Calendar management

  • Ability to make calls directly through the application

Cons:

  • Limited video conferencing controls

  • Calls often get dropped

  • Easy communication with coworkers can become a distraction

Let’s be honest, a lot of these tools offer the same features and also carry similar disadvantages as each other. The key is finding the tool that best suits your entire team. Ease of use and simple implementation can make the difference between team members making it into your remote meetings. Video conferencing should encourage people to join your meetings remotely, not make it a hassle to participate.

Bridgit Bench is the leading construction workforce management solution for the same reason. With an emphasis on ease of use and approachability operations managers are able to get more of their core team involved in the workforce planning process. Bridgit Bench is also highly visual and allows for meeting hosts to easily display the current workforce plan to better communicate allocation strategy for projects on the horizon.



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Lauren Lake

Lauren Lake is the COO and co-founder at Bridgit. She holds a degree in Civil Structural Engineering and is well-versed in construction workforce management and resource planning processes. Lauren has been named to the Forbes Manufacturing & Industry 30 Under 30 and Best Of Canada Forbes Under 30 Innovators lists. Lauren has presented at industry events and conferences, including BuiltWorlds, Canadian Construction Association, Procore Groundbreak, and more. Follow Lauren on LinkedIn and Instagram.


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