Are Meetings in Remote Workspaces Necessary?

Are Meetings in Remote Workspaces Necessary?

Even the most enthusiastic members of your remote team may approach virtual meetings with dread—and maybe for good reason. Often, meetings in remote workspaces can be haphazardly run, without a clearly defined purpose and, by general consensus, a waste of time.

That’s a pretty harsh assessment, to be sure. But smart managers of remote teams need to seriously weigh the pros and cons of holding remote team meetings. When are meetings in remote workspaces necessary? When should managers forego them? How should managers make that determination?

Managers of remote teams need to seriously weigh the pros and cons of holding remote team meetings.Click To Tweet

Making the right decisions about meetings in remote workspaces is one of the great strategies to help your company succeed. Unless it’s a video conference call, you can bet that during some remote meetings, “invisible” participants are daydreaming, on their computer doing an unrelated task, checking their Twitter feed, and so on. So let’s start with the cons: when is it not a good idea to hold a virtual meeting?

When Meetings in Remote Workspaces May Not be Necessary

When it’s simply to offer a status update or progress report.

A remote meeting to talk about where team members stand on a particular project or shared mission can be fruitless and time-consuming. Sharing files and documents on platforms like Dropbox can keep everyone up to speed and eliminate the need to meet.

When the same goals can be accomplished outside of a meeting format.

Summoning a group for a real-time meeting can be a wasteful use of both human and technological resources. As a manager, ask yourself whether the information or questions can be addressed via email, chat, a phone call, or other platforms. If the answer’s yes, skip the meeting.

When you ask yourself what would happen if a proposed meeting didn’t take place.

If you’re thinking that after the meeting you’ll be in the same place as before, don’t hold the meeting. As a manager, you want to encourage your team to be more productive, and make the best and highest use of everyone’s time. Unnecessary meetings may have just the opposite effect.

When a Meeting May be Necessary

When you can’t make progress without bringing a group of team members together.

If you’re grappling with an organizational problem or a project that can be addressed only by getting your team together, then a meeting may be in order. For example, an all-hands-on-deck, deadline-driven project where you need to bring everyone onto the same page quickly may be one such scenario.

When brainstorming can solve a problem or give birth to a new idea.

There’s a lot to be said for bouncing thoughts off work colleagues in real time as a way to resolve a thorny problem or come up with creative products, projects, or ideas. Brainstorming can be accomplished in remote workspaces with a tightly-run meeting that encourages orderly input from your distributed team.

When you need to announce or discuss organizational or workplace changes.

Often, information about significant company-wide changes or changes in the work process can be best shared during a meeting. Your remote team members may feel happy about being kept in the loop and being given the opportunity to ask questions or raise concerns in a group setting.

Tips on running effective meetings in remote workspaces:

  • Get your technology together. If you decide a remote meeting is in order, study up on mistakes to avoid in a conference call or virtual meeting. Making sure your remote meeting platform is up to the task should be at the top of the to-do list.
  • Have a focused agenda. Run a tight ship by having an outlined agenda that moves efficiently over points that need to be covered. Rein in off-topic comments by suggesting a post-meeting phone call or email exchange.
  • Invite the right participants. Meetings that are too large can run the risk of turning into a free-for-all. Meetings where key people can’t be present are frustrating and wasteful. Take a mindful approach in drawing up your meeting invitation list to make the most of everyone’s time.
  • Keep it short and simple. Highly productive meetings don’t have to be long. Sharing notes and information in real time on platforms like Skype , Slack/Sococo, or Google Hangouts is a great way to help everyone feel part of a meaningful, productive process.

By Adrianne Bibby | June 20, 2017 | Categories: Remote Management

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