It's never been more important to come together. But effectively working from home while remaining connected to our colleagues means adapting our habits and behaviours. One of the most important will be learning how to run successful virtual meetings.
Video calling is a great way for teams to stay connected, share information and keep projects on track, no matter where people are located. Follow these tips to ensure that your meetings run smoothly.
Get set up properly
Make sure that you have the tools you need to communicate and collaborate effectively.
- Ensure that your team has the tools it needs to make video calls. When someone doesn't have the basic requirements, it can be difficult to fully participate and there is a risk of isolation
- Create a Workplace group so everyone has access to a shared space where agendas, notes and documents can be saved for asynchronous review and reference
- Establish and commit to a regular schedule. Schedule team meetings for a time that works for all time zones represented in the meeting. If this isn't possible, consider trading off time zones or at least using scheduled posts to follow up with different regions at more appropriate times
- Avoid cancelling or moving team meetings; these are critical connection points, particularly for people working remotely. If you have to move a meeting, ask if it works for others, particularly if the meeting falls outside someone's regular working hours
- Managers should make final decisions about agenda topics, but with remote or distributed teams, they may not have a full view of what's top of mind for everyone on the team. Use polls in your group to ask your team for agenda suggestions
- Publish the agenda in your group. This allows time for feedback or additional topic suggestions in the comments. Include links in the calendar invite to the project updates or context people will need to review before or during the meeting
- Prep with presenters, if needed. Ensure that people who are presenting or leading discussions are prepared and clear about their goals (including time limits). Create a Workplace Chat thread to connect with them directly
- Be clear with the team that they should review the meeting agenda and any supporting documents before the meeting and plan to join the meeting via video. Being seen and seeing teammates is key to the team staying connected
Make meetings accessible
- Establish a timekeeper and note-taker. Make sure that you rotate these roles to ensure fairness
- Ensure that everyone is visible. Particularly for remote participants, camera visibility and eye contact with cameras are important
- Solicit feedback from everybody. Working from home can lead to some people watching a meeting instead of participating. Take time during discussions to solicit opinions from the full team, not just the loudest or closest participants. Pay attention to non-verbal cues and address issues as needed
- When meeting remotely, having side conversations on mute hurts collaboration. Keep the team focused and engaged, and consider using a separate Workplace Chat group thread for people to post comments for later follow-up
- Capture actions and owners. Reserve a few minutes at the end of every meeting for a wrap-up. Increased accountability and ownership are particularly important for remote teams
- Post your notes in your Workplace group
- If you do it as a document, it will be automatically saved to your Files tab. Name the document for the date of the meeting to create a running record of conversations and help keep everyone on the same page
- Tag specific people in the comments section with follow-up items and next steps
Make sure that meetings have a clear goal and agenda, and that pre-reads are set out in advance.
With the right tools, everyone in an organisation can feel close to each other and get the information they need to feel connected, no matter where they work. For more resources on being apart together, visit our Remote Working Resource Hub.