Working from home may sound like a dream come true and for many of us, it really is. However, the act of working remotely is actually quite a bit harder than most people realize.
Moving from an ordinary office space to suddenly being trapped at home with limited communication with your co-workers can be challenging and definitely takes some getting used to.
In an effort to help you better prepare for the world of remote working and virtual meetings, here we have written a few tips to help you have better virtual meetings.
Just like how practically all offices have a code of conduct for general dos and don’ts around the office, a list of guidelines for virtual meetings will help to keep a level of professionalism that can easily be lost in the excitement of working from home.
These guidelines can be anything from outlining settings in the technology and applications used, to ensuring people remember their individual responsibilities. These guidelines will not only help to maintain a professional environment but will also keep work moving along smoothly with as few delays as possible.
Test your setup
Testing your setup is essential to any meeting, virtual or otherwise, in the past you may have had a dedicated IT team around to take care of this for you but unfortunately the responsibility now falls to you.
Make sure you thoroughly test everything from your internet connection, your camera and microphone, and even the software you plan to use for your meeting.
All of these are vital to a successful meeting and if not tested properly can result in delays, frustration, and embarrassment.
Use the technology you have available
An advantage that virtual meetings have over physical ones is that you now have a wider selection of virtual tools available to use.
For example, you can use virtual backgrounds to hide anything behind you from a messy, untidy house, to sensitive information that you want to keep away from prying eyes. If you are using Zoom, Hello Backgrounds provides a huge variety of different options that can be used in almost any situation.
Other features that are now available to you include screen sharing and virtual whiteboards. These can be used to share information and efficiently brainstorm and discuss different topics almost more effectively than if you were in the same room as your team.
Make a short agenda
While it may seem old fashioned, creating a short agenda will help to keep you and any meeting attendees on track and moving forward with the topic at hand rather than getting distracted and side-tracked.
Your agenda can include anything you like but be sure to at least have the following in it:
- The reason for the meeting
- The topics you plan to go over
- The overall goal of the meeting
Keep interaction up
One of the main issues with online meetings and virtual interaction, in general, is the fact that, when interacting with someone face to face, we use body language and situational awareness more than we notice.
These things do not translate very well over to online meetings so awkward silences and a lack of interaction can be all too common a problem. To prevent this, be sure to keep interacting with all members in the meeting, especially if they are being quiet.
This will help to not only avoid awkward silences but also to keep everyone feeling as though they are a valued member of the team providing valuable input.
Don’t go on for too long
Meetings are far too often boring and this problem is only made worse in virtual conference calls. When in the comfort of their own home, many people get distracted and bored even faster to keep productivity to a maximum, try to keep any virtual meetings to under 45 minutes.
This time should be enough to cover any given topic and will prevent anyone from daydreaming or zoning out.
We also recommend that if you have a meeting that does run for around 45 minutes, try to take a break or two during it to keep everyone as fresh as possible.