Have you had it with Zoom, email, and text messages? Are you fed up with dwindling productivity as your team is working remotely? It doesn’t have to stay like this. You can boost productivity in your virtual team meetings. Here are five ways to get started revitalizing your remote meetings for maximum impact.
Use Virtual Office Software
There’s no question that teams and team leaders are looking for ways to increase person-to-person contact, especially while working virtually. The fastest way to achieve this is to use virtual office software.
Team software enables remote teams to feel as if they are in the same room. You can get this vibe with a suite of tools that simulates the vibe of talking, sharing ideas, chatting informally, and holding stand-up meetings.
Unlike some of the cumbersome virtual software of the past, new software is designed to make team members have the experience most similar to meeting face-to-face. If you’ve been frustrated with the changes of working remotely, virtual office software can help smooth some of the rough edges and obstacles you’ve been experiencing.
For example, a single team can share ideas with simultaneous screen shares, whiteboards, post-it notes, team notes, and video conferencing. By having a collection of diverse ways of communicating, your team can brainstorm, collaborate, and work together—from any location.
Share Ideas Visually
Some teams thrive on sharing ideas on a whiteboard. In previous face-to-face meetings, this was the moment when people jumped out of their seats, grabbed a marker, and drew on a whiteboard.
It often was the instant that infused an otherwise dull meeting with energy and enthusiasm. It was when people understood things more deeply. They connected with a rough idea, understood a complex concept, or visualized a prototype.
Drawing on a whiteboard is much easier than ever. When you use virtual whiteboards, you can share this electrifying moment with your peers. Plus, you can add, change, and amend the drawings as you discuss ideas.
Unlike a classic whiteboard, a virtual whiteboard is visible from anywhere where team members are located. You can use this to explore a landing page concept, discuss potential strategies, decide on presentation flow, design training, or build a prototype.
Promote Informal Meetings
There’s a magical about meeting informally. People tend to share ideas, comments, and insights that are fresher than in a formal meeting. It may be that without having the formal codes of agendas, timing, and scheduling, people are more comfortable sharing ideas.
If you’re not a fan of long, formal, scheduled meetings, talk with your team. Brainstorm ideas for how to support ease and relaxation in your company. Look for fresh ways to hold informal meetings and make this part of your organizational culture.
Hold Office Hours
If you’re a team leader, take a cue from academic professors. Hold office hours with an open-door policy. Let your team know when you’ll be available and ready to listen to their ideas, concerns, and suggestions.
As you start this, you may be surprised at who shows up to talk things through with you. It could be a new hire who was too shy to speak in person at a group meeting. It might be a long-standing manager who wanted to discuss a confidential issue with discretion.
By opening your door, you’re letting your team know that you care about their issues, workflow, and personal success. Once you do hold office hours, practice listening with an open mind.
Allow enough time for people to get comfortable sharing what’s on their minds. Let individuals know a specific next step that you’ll take regarding their suggestions. By keeping a focus on action, you’ll signal that you truly are listening to what your employees have to contribute.
Share Insights One-On-One
You and your team are likely to have individual discussions as well as group meetings. Make sure that you’re taking the time to track, record, and follow up on your conversation.
You might find it easiest to do by creating a template. This could include specific questions that you want to cover such as:
- What support do you need from me?
- How’s your work-life balance?
- What are you looking forward to this year?
- What changes would you like to see in our culture?
As you move forward, personalize these five tips to your business and organizational culture. Here’s to a great year ahead!