It seems pretty apparent by now that most of us will be working at home for the foreseeable future. Those of us that are fortunate enough to be able to do our jobs from home are starting to get used to new practices and are effective in our remote working roles. However, not all of us have mastered every aspect of our new “working-from-home” roles, but we are getting there. One of the biggest challenges we face is communication and collaboration.
We are no longer able to chat to each other in the office. Whether we communicate as part of a structured meeting or an informal chat around the water cooler, good communication is key to the success of any business.
New ways of working have forced us into the era of virtual meetings and, while these can be very effective, some of us are still struggling to get the most out of them. It can be easy to get frustrated and lose momentum leaving staff feeling like they are wasting their time and becoming disengaged.
However, when planned and executed correctly, virtual meetings can be just as, if not more, effective as face-to-face meetings.
Here are some tips on how you can get the most out of your virtual meetings:
- Have an Agenda
- Agendas let meeting attendees know what the meeting will be about. They are even more important than ever in a virtual setting. Create an agenda ahead of time and ensure everyone is aware of it well before the meeting. This will help you address any questions before the meeting to ensure it runs as efficiently as possible.
- Make sure you are aware of everyone’s schedules and try not to let the meeting overrun. Try not to stray off topic and include everyone in the conversation – if something else comes up, arrange a separate meeting to discuss the finer details with just the people that need to be involved.
- Have the Right Tools in Place
- By now, you should have all the communications and collaboration tools you need so that your teams can continue to work effectively from home. Make sure that they can also support you during your virtual meetings:
- What kind of screen or file-sharing capabilities do you need?
- How many people will be attending the same virtual meeting?
- How much collaboration will your team need after the meeting?
- Are there any security concerns with anyone connecting to the meeting?
- These questions will help you determine if you have the right capabilities in place or if you need to consider something else. If you are unsure, speak to your IT or communications partner and ask them to help you make sure you have everything you need to conduct effective virtual meetings.
- Encourage Attendees To Keep Cameras On
- Seeing the faces of your co-workers can help to maintain the camaraderie you usually get in an office environment. Knowing what your coworkers workspaces look like can also help you feel a sense of connection.
- When speaking, make sure you look into your camera, not at your screes. This will help attendees to see that you are focussed on everyone and it is more likely that you will have a productive meeting.
- Practice Good Virtual Meeting Etiquette
- The home isn’t always the ideal environment for working; whether it’s interrupting children, distracting noises outside or pets making themselves known, video calls can have some unexpected hiccups. Fortunately, there are some simple rules you can follow to be the perfect virtual meeting attendee:
- Mute – muting your mic when not speaking will ensure you do not create distracting noise for the whole meeting.
- Gesture when you want to speak – raising a hand when you want to speak will avoid everyone talking over each other.
- Instant messaging – ask any questions via chat so they can be answered at the end of the meeting to avoid interrupting the flow of conversation.
- Be aware of your surroundings – make sure you are in a well-lit, clutter-free space.
- Allow time for casual conversation
- Despite our best efforts to stay in touch with our colleagues, we don’t chat anywhere near as much as we used to. It’s important to allow time for casual conversation to ensure that we maintain relationships with our colleagues. It’s also important to remember that many of us are missing social interaction, having casual conversations can help us to feel less isolated and help us to stay positive.
Porthlas Can Help
Porthlas Communications are here to help. We provide free, impartial advice, every step of the way to help you find the best solution and can deliver the perfect cloud-based telephony and collaboration system with all the features necessary to aid remote and flexible working.
Many of the systems we offer can be deployed remotely. This means we can get you up and running quickly without needing to meet face-to-face or come into direct contact with anyone.
We understand that no two businesses are the same and use our knowledge and experience to deliver secure and reliable phone systems to help you provide your customers with an experience that is second to none, even when your circumstances can change in an instant.
Please feel free to drop us a line to discuss your needs in more detail.