Remote working can be a challenge, however it doesn’t have to be and as long as you use remote meetings correctly you can still build new connections and be connected to each other, breakdown silos by inviting meeting relevant cross-department members and share actionable plans. Its even better in some cases where you can just have an ad-hoc meeting at very short notice.
Why classify remote meetings any different to normal onsite meetings? Just refine your approach for the channel or medium you will use for your meetings…
Whether you are working in an office or remotely, most likely you will have team meetings with people who are not in the same place as you and on occasions may include clients or external guests. This is quite common with software engineering services companies.
Working remotely has been around for a long time and a pre-covid lot of the time we do it unconscienced to the fact that we were practicing it.
If you were working in a multi-national company, you would have conference calls (video and/or audio), these activities are part of what remote working is, after all the other parties were in a different part of the country or the world.
Post-covid, we are just doing it more often and it is becoming the norm, whether your company operates onsite, hybrid or full remote, there will always be a remote component with the usual tools of Zoom, Meets and Google Meet.
In this article I will be focusing on how to best use remote meetings as effectively as possible for remote working, specifically for teams, here are some of our recommendations;
- Have a team meeting at least once a week for at least an hour
- Have a structure to the meeting
- Have a person who leads it, however what I’d like to do is rotate meeting leads each week to keep the meeting fresh and engaged
- Remind everyone that you are all there for each other and to support each other
- Make it a point to have the meeting start with a positive tip by having a few of the meeting members give thanks and appreciation for each other or specific team members who the previous week made a difference to the team or for covering each other for an event that required hands-on-deck
- Have a high level agenda of topics to cover during the call and try to sure it with the group before the call
- Embrace flexibility and promote inclusion
- Stick to a time schedule
- Go round the table for each person to give a quick check-in, a check-in is a quick brief on what happened the prior week relating to your work/clients and cover success stories as well as challenges
- At the end try to ask everyone about their general wellbeing, if they have a group need or if anyone needs a 1-2-1 for a specific personal or business challenge that you can schedule a separate meeting to cover that topic
- Finally give your regular meeting a name, a “huddle”, “bubble”, “meet-up”
Common to all forms of remote meetings, be prepared and cover all your bases;
- Position yourself comfortably
- Prepare a liquid refreshment in advance so you can hydrate when you need to
- Be in a quiet place or somewhere there are no distractions or background noise
- Put your mobiles on silent and ideally turn off notifications on your computer that you are doing the remote meeting on
- Best to use headsets just in case the conversation may have confidential or sensitive content, which sometimes you don’t know when that might happen
- Use a background image to your conference call to high anything in the background which might be embarrassing or personal
- Always test your camera, mic and speakers
- Ideally keep your camera on, so that the meeting have an emotion sharing element, as it would help your colleagues better understand how you feel about the topic in question and it remains everyone engaged
- If cameras off is ideal for general update meetings where it’s a one way communication style meeting
- Don’t “over-talk” people, let a speaker finish before you jump in, and if necessary use the “hands-up”
Hope you find these suggestions and recommendations useful.