Back in March, due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown, the GGF started to hold its internal meetings via online video conferencing.
Since then, for the GGF and many other organisations, video meetings have become part of everyday business life with different platforms popping up, new online meeting protocols being set, new features being added and generally people are embracing the technology as a substitute for face to face physical meetings.
The GGF though planning to resume face to face meetings when it’s safe to do so, has also accepted that video is now an essential communication tool to continue business during these very different and challenging times.
GGF Members’ Week (29 September to 1 October) will be a completely new journey for the Federation with three days of back to back online events, covering everything from the GGF’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) to online forums through to webinars and specialist presentations.
The video meetings have become even more significant as the “new normal” (and the Government) encouraging people to work from home if they can. Recent research claims that 6 out of 10 office workers are now working from home due to COVID-19.
In late March and during April this year, the GGF started holding a few Members’ meetings via video link, in May some video was used for GGF Committee meetings (such as Political Strategy Committee, Marketing Communications Committee), in June the GGF held six more Members meetings (mainly technical groups) before July and the start of the GGF Regional meetings resuming via video.
In the last few months, the GGF is now running regular meetings with members every week and so far it appears that many Members are preferring the video format to the physical meetings.
Gaby Mendham of Ecoglass, commented: “The fallout caused by COVID-19 has left many of us changing the way we work on a daily basis. Video conferencing has meant that we can communicate in a totally safe environment, whilst attending important meetings. Plus there is no more travel involved, which is such a bonus both from time and safety perspectives. The video platforms are extremely easy to use, even for those who are not technically minded. You can even attend meetings using just your smart phone! It really is like being there in person. Personally, I have found it invaluable and with the uncertainty of the COVID-19 virus, going forward, I urge everyone to get involved this way”.
Alan Burgess of Masterframe also favours the video format:
“The COVID-19 pandemic forced everyone to change processes, quickly. The GGF’s marketing team however quickly introduced video calls to aid communications. Six months in and this format has become accepted and often preferred. Virtual meetings need strong chairmanship, but with respectful participants, opinions are listened to and as a result, often better debated. In business with Masterframe and the GGF, we find attendance from home is far easier; eliminating time, costs and disruption of travel. They’re far more efficient with back to back meetings now much easier to attend and there’s only one person to blame if the coffee goes cold!”
Dawn Stockell of Veka, added: “I believe that COVID-19 has been the single biggest catalyst for accelerated digital transformation to date; ultimately this pandemic has forced businesses to embrace digital technology, whether that be to facilitate communications, collaborative remote working or driving process efficiencies. Specific to communications, video conferencing has never been more used, both internally and externally. The systems are easy to use with almost all the functionality you’d get face-to-face if in a live presentation arena; from being able to share your PowerPoint presentation, to audience participation through the comment/chat area, to polling should you need to vote. Using video conferencing also significantly cuts down travel inconvenience and time and in turn benefits the environment. For businesses, I see this as one of the few silver linings of COVID-19, I hope video conferencing is here to stay!”
The GGF will continue with video-conferencing due to its time and cost saving advantages but there’s still some hope for the physical meeting.
James Lee, GGF Director of External Affairs explains: “The video conferencing platforms are great and will get even better as the technology develops. I’d encourage everyone to embrace the video conferencing, because it is here to stay and is becoming, if it isn’t already, a vital business communication tool. Physical face to face meetings will always be popular for networking and socialising, but we have to think about health and safety in these times, so for Members’ Week, video will be an excellent alternative. If and when the pandemic passes, physical meetings will resume but I have no doubt, physical meetings will be simultaneously run via video, so we will have the best of both worlds. We are looking forward to Members’ Week being a truly virtual experience and welcome all Members to embrace the technology and take part in these special events.”
To view the programme of virtual events being held by the GGF during Members’ Week, please visit to select the event you want to attend and book your place online. You can access the booking details HERE