Today, remote teams are central to the modern workplace. Being part of a company at this point in time means you are most likely working with people from different parts of the world. This is why remote or online meetings have become an integral part of almost every organization’s operations today.
Remote meetings are quite different from its in-person counterparts. And inevitably, employees respond differently to both. In order to ensure that remote meetings are productive and efficient, one has to understand that they require a different approach from hosting face-to-face check-ins.
Here’s a guide to making your online meetings with a distributed, remote team worth everyone’s time.
Choosing the right tool
This will depend on your needs for a particular meeting. For example, if you need your team to simultaneously watch a demo video, then the screen-sharing functionality is crucial. If it is important for you to see facial reactions during a brainstorming session, then use a good video conferencing software. At the very least, make sure that the tools you use have audio and video functionalities.
Also, consider the number of people attending the meeting — a tool you use for one-on-one meetings may not be as efficient for conferences involving 30 participants.
It’s easier for non-remote teams to be comfortable around each other as they have opportunities for interaction every day at the office. Remote teams do not have them, especially those who have not met in person before, so it can be a challenge for team members to openly share ideas during meetings at first.
A great way to build rapport before you establish a meeting routine is to have a space online where they can get familiar with one another. It can be an online channel where they can share their ideas anytime; or managers can set weekly check-ins that are less formal than the regular meetings.
Working around different schedules and timezones
If your remote team is distributed across different time zones, it is best to take advantage of tools that show you what time it is in different locations. There are applications where you can input your team members’ locations, and it will suggest meeting times.
It also helps to set your meetings far in advance. This ensures that your members still have your meeting dates free.
Setting the agenda and guidelines
Setting an agenda and guidelines for the meeting is crucial to productivity and efficiency. Beforehand, managers must have a clear idea as to which topics to cover, who to invite, research or documents to prepare, and so on.
Team members must also be well aware of guidelines and expectations for the meeting. Should they keep their videos on? Should they put themselves on mute when someone’s speaking? Are they supposed to just butt in anytime or should they wait to be called on?
Informing your team about the agenda and guidelines for the meeting at least a day prior can ensure that everyone is on the same page.
Keeping the team engaged
Engagement during online meetings can be challenging. Naturally, some people are more outspoken than others. So, it is best to find ways to structure your meetings in a way that everyone has an equal chance to share their thoughts. Breakout sessions can be ideal, as some may be more comfortable sharing to a smaller group.
You can also utilize your communal online space for this, and encourage everyone to share their thoughts anytime they want. One-on-one sessions are also efficient in getting individual ideas, especially from those who are reluctant to share in front of everyone.
Truly, making your online meetings productive and time-efficient is possible. It may require a different approach from in-person meetings, but with the help of the right technology, keen organization, and a little bit of fun, you can ace every online meeting with your remote team.
ASEAMETRICS is an HR Consulting firm established to provide solutions to help companies solve talent-related business problems. They are an expert at providing technology-based solutions to help companies identify, develop, and manage the human resource for business success, today and in the future.
Integrated into the company’s high-impact services are advanced technologies through HR Avatar (for E-Testing), Udemy (for E-Learning and Competency Development), Arbinger (for E-Learning – Mindset Change), Withiii (E-Organizational Development), ESM (E-Strategy Management), and HopeChat VP (E-Psychological Services).