With work-from-home mandates in place, empowering your workforce to do their jobs remotely is vital in keeping your business operations going. Employees who can work efficiently away from the office are needed now more than ever.
It can be a major transition, however, to get used to working from home—especially when it comes to online meetings. Learning how to host online meetings and teaching people how to participate takes practice and patience.
It’s not easy to get everyone locked in so they have the opportunity to contribute and receive all the information that’s communicated. But achieving this objective is the key to enabling people to work effectively.
To help you take on this challenge, here are four tips help you run your online meetings more efficiently:
Set Clear Expectations - Detail what each meeting is meant to achieve in advance. Also,remind invitees when one is about to start and share pertinent documents beforehand—it can be awkward waiting for someone to digest a document online in real-time while everyone else waits. Just as you would in person, make sure each online meeting has a clear purpose and that everyone who is invited has a defined role with something meaningful to contribute or to listen to from the presenters.
Someone who realizes early on that they are not really needed will likely turn their attention to other applications on their desktop. It’s also a good idea to record meetings in case a key person misses one, or conversations need to be reviewed. But make sure everyone knows they’re being recorded before getting started.
Encourage Video - Online meetings are all about the people, and when people need to connect, it’s much easier to collaborate with video turned on. While some people may shy away from video, it’s important to emphasize how video helps forge stronger connections. To make sure the video works well, some users may need to increase their network bandwidth. And while some people don’t mind being on camera, they may not like letting people see into their homes. To overcome this, many online video applications enable background blur or the posting of background images that can easily be uploaded. For people who are new to using an online collaboration tool, recommend they test their connection and their settings ahead of time.
Include Everyone - Unless some audience members are attending purely as listeners to absorb the material, be sure to ask everyone in the meeting for their input. To coordinate discussions with several people, the host should open the floor to everyone on the call for each discussion point. You can also ask everyone to use the button that lets them virtually raise their hand, if that option is available. Attendees can also signal that they are in listening mode by muting their microphones and then unmuting when ready to talk. But remind everyone to keep an eye on their mute button so they always know if they are audible.
Note Action Items - Just like in-person meetings, be sure to assign someone the task of taking notes for each meeting and sending a summary of the meeting to all attendees, along with noted action items for each participant. If any documents were presented or referred to during the call, provide the audience with access afterward.
Short- and Long-Term Benefits from Online Collaboration
If your online collaboration tools are limiting the productivity of your internal teams, Microsoft offers multiple solutions that help people work more efficiently—wherever they are. These include Microsoft Teams, SharePoint, OneNote, and Power Platform.
For help with how you and your teams can leverage each of these tools to drive greater productivity across your business, contact Western Computer today. You will benefit not only in the short term as people continue to work from home but also down the road as you find new ways to leverage mobility and the cloud to run your business more efficiently.