Since the spike of the Coronavirus outbreak in recent weeks, more and more companies have opted to allow employees to work from home. While there are a load of challenges that make working with your team and colleagues difficult, staying productive while working remotely is completely possible with only a few simple changes and steps.
If you find yourself in this situation, chances are the sudden onset of the outbreak has left a lot of work on the table; meaning that at some point throughout this experience, you’re left with no other option but to attempt to run an online meeting with your team.
Here are a 6 ways to ensure you’re acing every online meeting from here on out–outbreak or no outbreak:
Set an Agenda, send it in Advance
Like any meeting, having an agenda is key to ensuring that one, your meeting doesn’t go off on a tangent and two, it sets off in the right direction to begin with.
Similar to a physical meeting, it’s always good practice to verbalize the agenda once everyone has jumped on the call (joined the meeting) since you’re all in a way isolated from everyone else.
For those who aren’t used to online meetings, they might find these new dynamics completely different from what they’re used to. Therefore, verbalizing steps and communicating clearly and repeatedly can go a long way in making sure everyone is settled in nicely.
It’s also worth mentioning that sending the agenda in advance, perhaps along with the meeting invite, gives members–especially your low exrtaversion attendees–time to prepare for updates and formulate ideas.
Know Their Priorities
During online meetings, especially in the first few ones, the physical distance between you and your team poses a new and intangible threat to productivity–awkwardness.
You may notice that some, if not most of members in your team may seem either uncomfortable, uneasy, or just downright awkward in front of a live camera. It’s a thing.
The trick is to keep their minds from getting extremely self-conscious by shifting their attention to something else. Have each person talk about their priorities for the meeting/the day/ the week to retain structure within the group.
If nothing else, it can help alleviate the tension of seeing everyone’s faces on screen and the dread of knowing everyone else can see yours. This also allows their ears to adjust to trying to understand and process words coming out of a rather flat and thin-sounding laptop speaker.
Listen Extra Carefully
In an online meeting, the ability to “read the room” suddenly becomes unavailable to everyone. Unlike meeting with people face-to-face, there’s virtually (no pun intended) no way to get a good read on the energy that’s being brought in, or how they feel toward an idea that’s been put out on the table.
As a manager, now’s the time to turn up your sensitivity as you try to listen extra carefully to what each individual is really trying to say. This is where having a strong empathic drive pays off as it may be easier for you to decipher the things people are a bit apprehensive of saying.
Show it Intentionally
Unsurprisingly, another thing that’s really easy to lose track of is where you actually are in the meeting. To prevent this, we recommend that whoever is presenting share their screen when discussing important topics, especially when it involves lists, diagrams, or any type of data. This way, you can ensure that everyone is on the same page.
Personally at Red Wolf, we’ve had good experience using the Zoom Meeting app in running almost all of our online meetings. Skype for Business is another option that allows for participants to share their screen.
Send Notes and Agree on an Outcome
Since we’re on the topic of maximising technology, a good extra effort to make at this point is to ask everyone to send over their notes to the cloud (Google Drive comes to mind) as you also share yours, so each member has a copy of what’s been discussed in case a later review is in order.
Be Ready to flex your Management Style
Lastly, it should go without saying that your one management style that you live by doesn’t work for everyone on the team. And although it’s hard enough that you have to deal with different individuals simultaneously, try to remember that not all your members are accustomed to working from home or even running an online meeting for that matter.
So be kinder to yourself and others during these times, work to stay on top of your priorities, be productive and most importantly, stay safe and healthy!
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