Years from now, business leaders will have many lessons to share about surviving a global pandemic. COVID-19 has altered the future of business and forever changed its practices. According to the experts at the Harvard Business School, part of the conversation will revolve around the shift to remote work.
Against the arguments to return to the physical office, a survey from Global Workplace Analytics reveals that globally, 77% of workers feel fully productive, working from home. Aside from the productivity boost, businesses will enjoy lesser office spaces and running costs.
One significant hurdle, especially for marketers, is: “How do you handle meetings effectively?” The rule of thumb is, if your in-person meetings are a struggle, your virtual meetings will be even more so. According to Gartner, remote working aggravates cultural and personal differences between team members. Fortunately, there are steps that you can take to make your online meetings more effective. These include:
Use The Right Meeting Tools
Communication is 55% body language and 38% tone of voice. Hence, using a virtual meeting tool supporting both audio and visual is necessary. It helps individuals pick out the “unspoken words” from their clients’ and colleagues’ faces, especially when pitching an idea.
Some other features to out for when choosing an online meeting software are:
- Screen sharing for making presentations.
- Recording option for reference and secretarial purposes
- Text chat, integrated calendar, etc.
Keep in mind that while some tools may work perfectly for one-to-one appointments, they may perform poorly for larger meetings. In such situations, it is essential to choose technology designed for large-audience meetings and e-conferences.
That said, avoid the age-old blunder of inviting everyone to the meeting “just in case.” Select meeting members integral to the agenda and its topics.
Make Everyone Heard
Another nugget for effectual e-meetings is the inclusive leadership approach. This method ensures that everyone is involved in the decision-making process and gives a higher chance of achieving a better outcome. Plus, it will help build and maintain relationships and, through conversation, provide supportive communication channels to handle any potential challenges or crises.
So, how can you improve the environment of your virtual meetings, so your remote members feel comfortable enough to voice their opinion, feedback, or criticism?
- Become proactive and create a “virtual watercooler”. Here your team can meet communally, dispelling the anxiety of working with unknown people. They will face some of their cultural or geographical differences in this space. The virtual huddle will help them become more familiar with each other.
- Have a ceremony or ritual that sets the tone of the meeting. Begin with one activity and end the virtual meet-up with a different one. Allow people to confer but keep the contributions short to prevent fatigue.
- Encourage engagement and input from the quiet members of the group.
- Appreciate and motivate the smallest acts of success.
Have An Agenda And Create Meeting Guidelines
According to a Gartner survey, 74%, or 3 out of every 4 CFOs, will move their on-site employees to remote positions. The actions of tech CEOs such as Jack Dorsey and Mark Zuckerberg show that businesses face a “work from home revolution.”
These business leaders have issued years-long remote work dictates for their employees. With data showing that 40% of jobs can be done from home, remote working is no longer an opt-in work choice. Since the remote team meeting is also here to stay, it is essential to create efficiency guidelines.
- Set up an agenda before the meeting and share it with the attendees. It should have the meeting structure and its talking points. Include the names and designations of people in attendance and all required research, documents, or files.
- Set meeting time guidelines for time frames that fit your member’s diverse time zones. Tools such as Every Time Zone will come in handy for this process.
- Your team meeting etiquette guide should help solve some remote meeting challenges, such as the dress code. Some other rules you can add include muting or turning off live video.
Your rules of conduct should also address matters such as working on other tasks while the meeting is going. How about staring at a phone during a presentation? Such behaviour may seem trivial, but it is counterproductive to the forum.
Though many Australian-based businesses are returning to physical offices, the option of remote working is still widely embraced. And for marketers, managers, and business owners, that means virtual meetings may continue. Hence, maintaining an effective virtual environment is vital.
In the future, innovators might even call the transition to a remote world an unseen benefit of the pandemic. Organisations that have successfully restructured their processes to enhance communication, coordination, and socialisation will applaud remote work. However, the first step towards the realisation of the thriving remote work environment is an efficient virtual meeting.
For some tips on what other business strategies ‘to do’ check out these recent Marketing.com.au articles:
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