Since the implementation of lockdowns around the world, workforces have had to adapt to new ways of working. For most, this means working from home or at least remotely. Without the possibility of physical meetings, teams have turned to the virtual workspace to gather and share ideas and organise strategies for the challenges being faced. Whilst virtual meetings can sometimes feel distant compared to a physical face-to-face, there are several advantages and positives to be taken from the forced shift to remote working.
It isn’t hard to see how virtual meetings can save organisations a huge amount of cash. Travel costs are just one example of the outgoings that can be cut immediately by replacing physical meetings with a virtual conference call. In the current situation, many have also found that days without hours of commuting feel much more balanced. Having got used to lockdown working patterns, it seems unlikely that every company with a big city office and workforces commuting in from neighbouring smaller towns and cities will continue to hold onto their expensive workspaces.
In times of uncertainty and crisis, organisations with greater transparency are likely to be those best able to maintain positive workforce morale and high productivity amongst their teams. Virtual meetings are an easy way to do this with the ability to record calls to share with your team. This can be particularly useful for employees juggling childcare or other caring responsibilities as a result of lockdown measures, as they can easily have access to the meeting to catch up with exactly what happened.
Low engagement could easily be a result of a workforce going remote overnight. In addition to increasing transparency, recording meetings is a great way to increase engagement and accountability as people are more likely to bring their A game when they know everything they say and do is being recorded.
Virtual meetings also offer a range of visual tools that can help to increase engagement amongst attendees. From leading virtual backgrounds for zoom to virtual whiteboards and screen sharing, most video conferencing tools offer various options to vary presentations and meetings beyond what is possible in physical spaces.
Revising the way your team shares responsibility is an easy way of keeping everybody involved and feeling valued. In virtual meetings, where the roles of timekeeper and minute-taker are arguably more important than normal, try rotating responsibilities around the team. This will not only increase engagement but also build confidence and contribute to professional development of less experienced employees.
For outward facing organisations who spend a lot of time engaging new clients or customers, virtual meetings can be a real asset if used creatively. Webinars to showcase new products or solutions can be attended by a far larger online audience than could ordinarily be hosted at an office or even conference centre. Global audiences for product launches or presentations will also be an invaluable marketing tool.
These external uses of virtual conferencing systems can help maintain and increase the profile of your organisation at a time when it may seem hard to stay active and connected to clients and customers. Webinars or open meetings may require new approaches but each step into unknown territory is going to lead to an adaptation that may well contribute to long term sustainability and resilience.
A good meeting is a short meeting. Avoiding ‘zoom fatigue’ and back-to-back video calls is important for maintaining productivity and morale. Update your meeting practices with your virtual meetings by limiting sessions to 30-40 minutes when possible. This can easily be achieved by minimising unnecessary chat and distractions. Precise agendas and pre-reads can help reduce in-meeting catch ups and keep things running smoothly.