In 2017 it was predicted that half the UK’s workforce would work remotely by 2020. External factors in business, such as the global talent shortage, expensive office overheads and employee burnout were already prompting employers to look for solutions which put employees first while still accommodating the needs of their businesses. And then in 2020 the Covid-19 Pandemic took our world and tipped it upside down.
All those businesses who had not yet embraced some form of flexible or remote working were served very quick and sometimes painful lessons in how to get their staff to be productive, whilst not physically being present in the four walls of their offices. And many will tell you that remote working is working, for both them and their staff. The good news is that you can still hold regular, productive meetings with your team, whether they’re in house or halfway across the world—you simply need the right equipment and a rock-solid process. Here’s your definitive guide to remote meetings…
Assess your needs and select the right software
Before committing to a remote working software solution, you’ll need to assess your needs and the needs of your team. You can start by asking yourself the following questions:
1. Which types of meetings will you hold remotely?
2. How many people will typically be in your meetings?
3. Will you need to collaborate?
4. Will you need to record the meetings?
5. Which facilities are already available (existing software subscriptions and office conferencing equipment etc.)?
6. Will people be dialling in via smartphone or laptop?
This will help you figure out which features you need the software to have. Simple things like screen sharing, real-time collaboration tools and being able to see someone’s face as they talk can make a real difference to the quality of your remote meetings.
Running a successful remote meeting
1. Ensure everyone knows how to use the software before you start
Before you even send out meeting invitations, make sure that the meeting attendees are familiar with the software or tech you’ll be using to conduct the meeting. If they aren’t, point them in the direction of a video tutorial, a how-to, or give them a brief walkthrough. Don’t leave them scrabbling to get up and running with minutes to go before the meeting starts.
2. Outline remote meeting etiquette
Let the team know what will be expected of them during remote meetings: that they find a quiet, dedicated space to dial in from (no calling from the bus or a noisy coffee shop), that they mute microphones when not in use, and that they refrain from texting or working while on the call.
3. Set and send an agenda beforehand
Pre-sending an agenda is key to having meetings that aren’t a waste of time. Give your attendees plenty of notice prior to the meeting and send out any necessary documentation they’ll need to read beforehand (reports, briefs etc). Ensure everyone has a link or login for the digital meeting space and that you’ve provided an agenda of points you intend to hit.
4. Keep everyone engaged
Ensure that each person attending the meeting has a function and absolutely needs to be there. This makes engagement easier as you’ll have relevant issues to address with each individual and can invite them to ask questions. This approach will help you gain and hold the attention of everyone in the meeting, as they know they’ll be called on and that the content of the meeting is directly relevant to them.
5. Set tasks and deliverables
Each individual should come away from the meeting with a task or list of deliverables that need to be actioned. You can use software like Trello, Basecamp or Vism to set and assign post-meeting tasks. There’s no need to chase for updates, either—all these apps will notify you when the job is complete.
6. Follow up
Just as you chose appropriate software to hold a group meeting remotely, you’ll also need to make sure that everyone involved in the project or meeting has a place to chat.
Apps like Vism or Slack allow you to get everyone together so all conversations pertaining to the meeting are transparent. You can use this as an open forum for progress updates and tracking.
Asking your team for feedback is good practice for any kind of professional meeting. How did they find the set up? Was the software or equipment easy to use? Does it have the functionality they feel they need? Collecting feedback will help you ensure that future meetings are as productive as possible and that the team are happy. Are you interested in the concept of remote meetings? Get in touch with Vism today and find out how graphics, signage and installations-specific software can help you work better, no matter where you are.