The video communications software provider Zoom has recently published its figures for the third quarter of 2020. ZEW economist Dr. Daniel Erdsiek, researcher in ZEW’s “Digital Economy” Department, comments on this matter.

“The increased implementation of working from home arrangements as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic has led to a massive rise in demand for video conferencing technologies. Many firms expect this impulse to have long-term consequences and assume that this shift towards remote working will continue to persist even after the pandemic is over. Telephone and video conferencing are an essential part of this trend. The possibility of holding necessary meetings online has enabled many companies to offer their employees the opportunity to work from home, while ensuring an efficient working environment.

However, the growing importance of telephone and video conferencing is not limited to the context of working from home. Even before the Covid-19 pandemic, companies in Germany opted for digital conferences as an alternative to business trips, which are often time-consuming. This trend has obviously experienced an enormous upswing against the background of the current crisis. Many companies also expect this trend to continue after the end of the pandemic and that digital conferences will replace more business travel in the long term than before the crisis.”

Background information

Before the pandemic, around five per cent of companies in the manufacturing industry used telephone and video conferencing to a great extent to replace business travel. For the time after the pandemic, however, significantly more companies (21 per cent) expect to reduce business travel in this way. In the information economy – comprising the ICT sector, media service providers and knowledge-intensive service providers – as many as one in three companies expect to substitute business trips with video conferences on a large-scale after the pandemic. Before the crisis, around one in ten companies in the information economy stated to have frequently used telephone or video conferencing as an alternative for business trips. These are the results of a representative survey among approximately 1,800 companies in the information economy and the manufacturing industry, which was conducted by ZEW Mannheim in June 2020.

Further representative survey results on changes to organisational processes that businesses have had to make due to the Covid-19 pandemic.





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