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The best ways to have productive virtual meetings

The Best Ways to Have Productive Virtual Meetings

The most effective method for virtual meetings. Indeed, even with video conferencing and messaging apps, completely including remote workers in group and company meetings remains a challenge. There may be no replacing the experience of being physically in the room, however you can take steps to make these meetings more productive and inclusive.

The most important thing to remember when “meeting” with remote employees is that you can’t conduct the meeting in the same manner you usually would as if everyone were physically present. You have to find a way to replace the advantages that proximity has, especially the convenience of reading body language and picking up social cues. Unfortunately, these do not translate exceptionally well over a screen or a phone. 

What remote employees need to participate in meetings is space and time to speak. You can provide this space and time in several ways:

  1. Ask the physically present participants to pause for a second before jumping into the conversation. This practice gives remote employees time to get a word in, plus it helps counter any time delays caused by the conferencing technology.
  2. Whoever is leading the meeting should regularly encourage remote employees to add anything if they have something to say, preferably before moving on in the agenda.
  3. Whenever possible, have a remote employee lead the meeting or a section on the agenda. This exercise focuses on the remote speakers and can help remind everyone that the meeting isn’t just happening in the physical room.
  4. If your remote employees happen to be located in the same workspace, occasionally setting their site as the physical meeting space can help your non-remote employees get a feel for the challenges of being remote during a meeting.

Some preliminary work before the call can also aid in the meeting becoming more efficient:

  • First, test any systems ahead of time so that it works for everyone when the meeting starts.
  • Second, email the agenda in advance so everyone knows what to expect.
  • Third, assign someone in the meeting room to be the contact person that remote employees can email or message if they have concerns, questions, or issues.

After the meeting, check-in with remote employees and be candid about their experience. What worked well, and what could be improved? See what you can do to accommodate them in the next meeting. Here are some questions to ask your employees to create the transparency and open dialogue that will help you provide the support they need to be productive from home:

  • How comfortable are you with your home office setup?
  • What is your preference/need around accountability for work tasks?
  • What is your preferred level of social interaction while working from home?
  • What does your day-to-day reality/routine at home currently look like?
  • What are your preferred means of communication while working from home?
  • Do you have the tools you need to create a structure for your workday and set of priorities?

You may not fully replicate the experience of physically being in the room, but taking these steps can assist remote employees to feel more involved and make the meeting itself run more efficiently.

About Alliance

For over 30 years, Alliance has worked with the unique needs of our clients to ensure we provide the highest quality solution and service.

Inspired by the American dream of business ownership (and also the need to eat!), Randy and Terri Norwood set up a dot-matrix printer on a folding table in their Houston living room and declared Alliance Payroll Services open for business in September, 1989. Trying to never lose sight of the fact that business should always be fun, Randy incessantly knocked on doors of businesses while Terri keyed, processed and delivered whatever payrolls Randy sold. Fast forward over three decades and, thanks to our hard working team of “Warriors,” Alliance has grown into one of the largest privately-held human capital management (HCM) software providers in the nation.

But many things have not changed. We still try to under-promise and over-deliver our products and services, not the other way around. We keep our pricing transparent and simple. We refer to our clients around the nation as our partners and friends. And we still think business should be fun!

Alliance HCM delivers advanced technology to streamline all of your Human Capital Management needs in one powerful, intuitive online system.

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