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May 29, 2020

The World’s Move Toward Virtual Meeting Spaces—by the Numbers

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By Adam Lambert

The World’s Move Toward Virtual Meeting Spaces—by the Numbers

As the outside world came to a standstill, business professionals shifted to virtual meeting spaces and phone calls. In a matter of weeks, virtual meeting spaces have became the boardrooms of every modern company.

As the leading scheduling tool for both in-person and virtual meetings, Calendly had a bird’s-eye view of this shift.

This article was written soon after the world went into COVID lockdown (May 2020):

With integrations to all major virtual meeting softwares like Zoom, GoToMeeting and Google Hangouts, we’re able to see the exact numbers behind this work from home movement.

In this article, we break down the world’s move toward virtual meeting spaces, the resurgence in phone calls, and the world’s preference for remote meet ups.

(Note: All graphs use a global sample size, where n>5,000,000.)

How Meetings Started In 2020 

Before the worldwide pandemic hit the western world, it was business as usual for most people. Web conferencing was a notable—but relatively small—slice of meetings booked using Calendly. Aggregating all virtual meeting softwares, just under 12% of meetings scheduled were set in a virtual meeting room in January 2020. Direct phone calls were roughly half that, at 5.3%.

Here’s a breakdown of meetings booked in January, where four out of every five meetings were in-person.

Meeting Type Breakdown for January 2020

January is a good representation of “business as usual,” where most scheduled meetings happened in person.

February was a bit different, especially toward the end of the month.

Worldwide business hot spots like New York, London, and Sydney began shifting behavior on a large scale. Employees started working from home as protective measures grew, COVID-19 became the focus of all news media.

We see that reflected here, with a slight growth in both phone calls and virtual meetings, ticking up 2% and 1% respectively.

Meeting Type Breakdown for February 2020

Overall, the first two months of the year remained stable for in-person meetings—only tilting toward virtual and phone meetings near the end of a short month.

Still, the uptick is clear, and directly eats into other ways of meeting.

The Shift Toward Virtual Meeting Spaces

By March, the effects of the virus became more severe and widespread; this affected the world of business in a major way, forcing employees into remote work, and allowing and driving the adoption of virtual meeting tools. 

Web conferencing quickly became a staple for the modern business professional.

Looking at the graph below, we see that virtual meetings essentially doubled from the start of the year. Where one in ten meetings were held virtually in January, one in five were held virtually in March.

Meeting Type Breakdown for March 2020

In just one month, meetings scheduled with web conferencing tools increased over 60%. 

Direct phone calls continued to climb as well, continuing its previous month-to-month trend with another 2% increase.

But all this pales in comparison to our latest statistics for the month of April.

Though we’re only halfway through the month, the numbers have shifted dramatically, reflecting the stay-at-home policies enacted by state and federal governments across the world.

Meeting Type Breakdown for April 2020

Looking at just the first two weeks in April, we can see that one-third of all meetings booked are now in virtual spaces.

Due to social distancing, in-person meetings dropped off, and virtual meeting rooms became the new boardrooms.

Phone calls have also doubled since January, from just over 5%, to a healthy 10%—accounting for one in ten scheduled meetings. 

On the whole, we’re now attending as many phone meetings as we were video meetings at the beginning of the year.

It’s clear that web conferencing is the preferred meeting method of these two options, but exactly which tool became the default web conferencing software?

Meetings In 2020 and Beyond

One question lingers for working professionals this year: is this the beginning of remote work, or will things settle back to “normal” after COVID-19? While we certainly can’t predict how the world will acclimate, one thing is clear. Calendly is the best tool for booking meetings in any space—virtual or otherwise.

Calendly integrates directly with the leading web conferencing tools like ZoomGoToMeeting, and Google Hangouts.

If you’re looking for a better way to schedule from home, create a Calendly today.

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Adam Lambert

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