There’s no two ways about it: COVID-19 has changed much about the way we live and conduct our business.

For many, measures to limit the spread of the pandemic meant taking their work online, doing away with unnecessary meetings in favour of video-conferencing software like Zoom and Teams. But while the shift was certainly necessary – and continues to be the modus operandi as COVID-19 rages on – what do Malta’s business leaders actually prefer? Will the use of video calls last beyond the pandemic?

In MaltaCEOs 2021, we delved into 50 of the island’s most influential business minds, and a simple question we asked was just that: do you prefer Zoom calls or face-to-face meetings?

The results are in!

In-person: 65%

Sebastian Ripard

Given the choice, the majority of CEOs would opt for in-person meetings. The reason? They allow for a better connection. According to GO CEO Nikhil Patil, it greatly depends on the nature of the call. “In-person can be hard to replace early on in a relationship,” he maintains.

Delving deeper, Andre Zarb, Senior Partner at KPMG believes that “video calls are convenient, but the effectiveness of meeting in person is undeniable and generates stronger human connections and fewer distractions.” TXF Tech CEO Sebastian Ripard agrees, adding that, while calls are sufficient sometimes, “a substantial discussion is a much more productive, pleasant experience in-person.”

Zoom: 11%

Dino Fino

Still, a few CEOs would choose video calls over in-person meetings, and it’s mostly down to efficiency. Dino Fino, CEO at Dino Fino Home + Contracts, says “I prefer Zoom calls, as you can achieve more”, but goes on to admit that the nature of his business means in-person is also important.

Jean Claude Muscat, CEO at St James Hospital Group, also feels that oftentimes, more can be achieved on a video call. “Some meetings must happen face-to-face, but Zoom calls are more efficient 75 per cent of the time,” he notes.

Both: 24%

Kevin Chircop

Enemed Executive Chairman Kevin Chircop affirms that “Zoom calls allow you to be more focused, but in-person meetings allow you to read a person’s body language.” And indeed, about a quarter of CEOs recognise the importance of both, and moving forward, will be more likely to go for a mix of online and face-to-face meetings depending on what needs to be achieved.

Are the results what you expected? How do you prefer to conduct your meetings?

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