To curb the spread of coronavirus, organizations are encouraging employees around the globe to work remotely. Setting clear guidelines for how, when, and why teams operate remotely helps form cohesion. How do you create a collaborative agenda with remote meeting attendees, allowing all remote team members to remain engaged during team conference calls? This blog post offers tips based on our experience training companies on how to communicate effectively when using digital platforms and how to collaborate and manage remotely.
Admit it, when there is no video aspect to a conference call, it’s not unusual for employees to hit mute, (or not), and do a variety of tasks during phone conferences and remote team meetings, such as checking and composing email, scrolling Twitter, eating a sandwich, and (gasp) going to the bathroom?!
Team meetings, both in-person and remote, should be more than just providing information. Consider applying the tips below to improve the quality of remote team collaborations:
- Make a note of preparation/prework before the meeting occurs. What was to be created/gathered/committed to/researched?
- Formally introduce the meeting and its purpose. Be clear what the goals of the meeting are.
- Designate a timekeeper and stick to the time allocated per topic.
- Document items that need to roll into a different meeting. Who is accountable for transferring those outlier items into future meetings?
- Make time for small talk and personal/professional updates. Just because you are not in person and face to face does not mean you can’t connect in a personal way. Being able to replicate “watercooler banter” is a vital aspect of creating a sense of camaraderie for remote employees.
- Designate a POD (Participant of the Day). By designating a POD in advance of a meeting, it encourages more engagement from an employee who might otherwise be a passive listener and therefore be tempted to multitask during the conference call.
- Novelty can help prevent predictability. If there is an upcoming holiday such as St. Patrick’s Day, perhaps everyone has to tell a St. Pat’s joke, or everyone could share their favorite podcast. Taking time for novelty only uses a few minutes but provides a break from the monotony of remote conference calls and meetings.
- Thank yous are a great way to end a remote session. Who helped you over the last week?
- Ensure that a digital recap of the meeting, along with action items, is created within 24 hours. This can be copied into the next meeting’s calendar invite for a quick review of who is working on what.
With a small amount of effort, remote team meetings can be collaborative, successful, and even enjoyable. It’s been proven that remote workers are often more productive than in-office employees, so take advantage of this challenging time around COVID-19 and elevate your remote work to the next level.