Five Tips for Making Your Online Meetings More Productive

Not long ago, the idea that a fully-online workforce could ever replace the cooperation and camaraderie of an in-person office would be met with skepticism by many. However, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, this is becoming reality for many companies.

However, the transition isn’t easy for a workforce accustomed to getting things done in person. And for many employees, the demands of home life and children have intensified.

That means nobody has time to waste. It’s especially important to make sure you’re running your online meetings in an efficient manner that respects everyone’s time.

According to a recent Wandera study, one of the top concerns from managers in having their teams work from home involves reduced employee focus. Here are a few tips to help make your online meetings as efficient and focused as possible.

Publish the Agenda Beforehand

Before arriving at the meeting, everyone should know what’s on the schedule and what their part is in it. Be sure you make the goals of the meeting clear, and outline what everyone is expected to contribute so they can all come prepared.

Do a Tech Run the Day Before

Make sure your camera is working, you have your lighting set up, and you have a private area of the house where you won’t be prone to interruption. Check any hardware and software ahead of time to make sure you won’t be delayed by technical issues on the day of the meeting.

Ideally, you should have given some thought to the remote tools you’re using well beforehand. Ensure your platform has all the tools you need, such as easy screen sharing or mobile integration, and learn how to use them beforehand.

Send Around Visual Aids Ahead of Time

Will people need informational materials to go along with a presentation? If so, make sure the presenter sends these along the day before so everyone gets a chance to review them.

Limit Time-Wasting Behaviors

Online meetings aren’t always an easy adjustment for everyone, and sometimes ground rules need to be established: such as no side conversations, the importance of punctuality, and a strict end time.

It may be especially important to assign someone to keep the discussion on track and make sure no one hijacks the conversation and drags it off the meeting agenda.

Hand Out Action Items After the Meeting

At the end of the meeting, make sure everyone is clear on what they have to do next. If there’s nothing for anyone to do after the meeting, then ask yourself whether it’s necessary to meet at all.

Online meetings can negatively impact employee productivity, and add to the stress of juggling full-time work and the demands of home.

Make things easier for your employees by limiting your online meetings, sticking to a strict schedule, limiting time-wasting activities like getting off topic and coming in late, and making sure everyone knows what actions to take afterwards.

If you can do that, you’ll help ensure your employees will stay productive—even amidst challenging times.

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