Top 5 tips for better Virtual Work Meetings
For a significant amount of people, working from home has become the new normal due to the coronavirus pandemic. Instead of commuting to a physical work building, people are stationed at their home office, conducting frequent virtual meetings, and adapting as well as possible to this new work situation. Working from home is not for everyone, but due to the ferocity and unpredictable nature of the virus, people are without any other option.
The shift toward working from home is being embraced by both big and small companies, as well as a majority of workers, but sometimes it can be a struggle to get into your own groove when you are starting to work remotely.
One large part of working remotely is conducting virtual work meetings. In a regular work environment, everyone is used to daily or weekly work meetings held in a single room, in the same building with all coworkers present. There is no worry about the background of what your webcam is focused on, nosies of the different people or animals in your home, or fear of your boss will see your pajamas- the environment is completely different, and thus it can take some getting used to.
If you’ve been working at home due to the coronavirus outbreak, you might be unfamiliar with how to hold or be the most present in a virtual work work meeting. Here are 5 tips to ensure you make a good impression to your coworkers and boss during your virtual meetings!
Pick the best remote conferencing tool
The most important element about virtual work meetings is the conferencing tool you choose to conduct the meetings. The type of meeting/conferencing tool you choose should be user friendly and take into consideration the needs of those you are meeting with, whether it is just your coworkers or everyone together with your boss. There are several different types of conferencing/online meeting tools out there, such as GoToMeeting, GoogleHangouts, Zoom, and Skype. Selecting the right tool to use will make the virtual meetings happen smoothly and ensure that you make the most out of this time with your coworkers and boss.
Consider time zones
There will be plenty of situations where you aren’t hosting a virtual work meeting, but in the case that you are in charge of setting it up and hosting, you want to do everything you can to be considerate of those attending. This means taking into consideration the time zones of coworkers, your boss, top executives, etc. While we can sometimes assume that everyone is in the same part of the world that we are, it isn’t always the case, and nothing is worse than having a meeting at a bad hour where you live. Keep track of the hourly time zone differences to help you pick the best time to host!
Avoid cancelling or rescheduling at the last minute
In a work environment, having a meeting cancelled at the last minute can really mess up an entire day. Work meetings should be taken very seriously, as coworkers, bosses, employees, etc. plan out their days around the time and duration of the schedule meeting. Lindsay Kolowich of HubSpot suggests, “Before you simply change the time on the calendar invitation and call it a day, put yourself in your meeting attendees’ shoes. What inconveniences might you be causing? What special plans and arrangements might they have made around your meeting?” If cancelling or rescheduling is unavoidable, effectively communicate to the attendees your reasoning and apologize.
Dedicate time to the meeting (and that only)
Sure, you may be wearing your pajama pants and playing the latest episode of your favorite show in the background, but you can still be present and attentive despite not physically being in an office meeting. Asking questions, making intelligent comments, and initiating conversations around relevant work topics will show that you are not only present in the meeting itself, but on a larger scale, show that you take your job seriously whether at home or not.
Avoid multitasking/mute distractions
While a benefit to working from home is the freedom that comes with it, this can also be a problem in terms of productivity and attentiveness in work meetings. Because you are not in a physical office where your moves can be easily detected, you may be tempted to scroll through some emails, switch tabs to a social media page, resume working on an unfinished project from earlier, etc. Joseph Liu of Forbes writes, “Even if you’re a master multitasker, anything you do that isn’t related to the meeting itself will prevent you from fully participating and absorbing the content.”
Though having a virtual work meeting may not be the most anticipated thing to do while working from home, there are simple ways to ensure these meetings go as smoothly as possible! Don’t worry, you can catch up on your favorite sitcom reruns after the Zoom!