The most challenging part of having a virtual workforce is to carry the same meeting structure to the virtual meeting system. Your team members are more likely to get sidetracked with the absence of in-person contact and the amount of distractions every home offers.
If you are having trouble keeping meetings productive and relevant, these things are what you may be missing.
Distractions can be split into two categories: physical environment and virtual environment.
Distractions stemming from one’s physical surroundings may be one of the biggest reasons most companies had the ability to go fully remote but chose not to even before the pandemic.
It’s no secret that offices, fellow employees and being monitored increase productivity of a team. However, these distractions that can be found in every home can still be managed to a certain extent. Ask your team to turn off all electronics, create a clean and quiet workspace at their homes.
If like me you want to lead by example, you can tell your team what you do to achieve silence at home. If anyone else is home, I tell them I’m gonna have a meeting in 5 minutes and I tell them how long it’s going to go for. A very good way to tell them to be quiet without actually saying it.
Virtual distractions are much less erratic and usually a lot more systematic. We all have that person who doesn’t believe in wearing headphones and refuses to mute themselves.
If everything goes well they’ll realize people pausing between sentences and mute themselves. To protect your team’s productivity and sanity, ask everyone to wear headphones for the meetings and mute themselves if they’re not speaking.
Another helpful tip I’ve seen my own boss do is that he’ll ask people if there’s better packages or internet providers in their neighborhood. He also assures them that the company will reimburse for the switch to a better wifi connection. It is fundamental to make sure all team members have sufficient access to your meetings.
Most of the time, team members won’t speak up even if they miss parts of the conversation due to technical difficulties. To be able to tell when someone has a bad connection or lots of package loss, you can use 11Sight’s built-in network strength information that lets you see everyone’s connection strength.
Holding Employees Accountable
It is much much easier to fall through the cracks when you don’t have to dress up and show up physically at the office everyday. Make sure to set ground rules for your meetings. For example, “everyone must have their camera on at all times” should be a no-brainer. When you request this of your team members, some might be bitter because they feel like they’re being restricted. Therefore, it would be a good idea to preface it with a reminder that in physical meetings you can’t turn invisible and start slurping some Cheerios.
You need to hold employees accountable so everyone pays attention to what’s being said in the meetings. This is best accompanied by meetings that are well organized and precise. Give your team a clear structure for how the meeting is going to go while leaving room for spontaneous engagement.
Spontaneous engagement is the key that keeps team members listening even when it's not their turn to speak. 11Sight’s vMeet makes it so much easier to measure engagement from each member with its speaker view and timers.
Overall, decreasing distractions and increasing accountability will help you simulate the productive environment of a physical office while maintaining the flexibility of a virtual workforce.
Tools like 11Sight can help you achieve and measure productive and organized meetings.