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Responsibility for managing marketing projects throughout seven countries across different continents is no easy task when your aim is to maximise time spent with your family. However, Sarah Higgs, global marketing programmes manager for BT Conferencing, is able to juggle spending quality time with her young daughter whilst having a successful career by practicing what she preaches and using conferencing technologies to work remotely from home. Sarah uses phone, video, and data conferencing to meet with colleagues across different time zones without having to leave her home.

A desktop ‘plug and play’ videoconferencing system, a standard telephone and a PC are all Sarah needs for teleworking. She works simultaneously on documents with colleagues across the globe, has instant phone conferences via the BT MeetMe service and presents to a group of people based in different locations by videoconference.

As well as reducing commuting time during the day, the technology enables Sarah to work remotely from home for part of the week creating a better work/life balance for her and her daughter.

Sarah said, “By using conferencing technologies and services I have made my working week much more efficient. I no longer have to spend a large part of my day commuting to work, or travel to meetings during the day. Physical meetings can be impractical especially when my colleagues are based all around the world but conferencing services enable me to work on different projects with colleagues from different countries in one afternoon.”

Conferencing services can be made available with either no prior notice or a very short booking time, which makes them ideal for ad hoc project work, crisis management meetings and team announcements. Sarah and her team put conferencing to very good use recently while working on a project to create a video at very short notice for a high profile industry event. The initial brief was set and discussed through the MeetMe service – a phoneconferencing service that needs no prior reservation. Each member of the team was briefed on an area of responsibility and team members from around the world were filmed and then edited by videoconference.

Conference Call Presence, a data sharing application allowing users to meet on the phone and work interactively on PC desktops, was used for sharing the script between team members and the narrator, This kept multiple drafts of the script to a minimum and sped up the approval process by getting the team together to discuss changes.

Sarah continued, “Although conferencing is now my choice for the majority of meetings, I am aware of the different attitudes towards conducting and attending meetings between cultures across the globe. For example, I use phone conferences for short day-to-day meetings in the UK and with colleagues based abroad with whom I already have built a good working relationship. However, if I was conducting a meeting with colleagues in Japan or Italy I would always meet in person for the initial stages of a project as in these countries face-to-face meetings are preferred before turning to virtual meetings”.

Phone, video and data conferencing not only provide people like Sarah with the tools to make the working day more efficient but they enable a more flexible approach to attending meetings to create a better work/life balance.

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