5 Tips to Boost the Productivity of Your Virtual Meetings
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5 Tips to Boost the Productivity of Your Virtual Meetings

Are frequent remote meetings worth their time? Very likely you would agree with 92% of respondents who see their meetings as unproductive and costly

It’s a tricky situation because executives typically commit a significant portion of their time to meetings. Managers spend more than 50% of the workweek sitting in a virtual meeting. Hidden costs are just one downside of unnecessary appointments, but burnout also sets off alarm bells.

Going through an endless cycle of remote meetings can cause digital fatigue, and the problem can just get worse. Let's look at the data.

In 2022, according to the Society for Human Resource Management, workers spent 5 times more hours in virtual events than in the previous year. The situation psychologically gets more challenging because every second attendee multitasks during an online call, and that’s not fun. 

The overall bustle makes every third respondent struggle with permanent meeting fatigue. What can you do with that?

We believe every team can do something to combat ineffective gathering. So here are five virtual meeting tips to reduce black holes in your schedule and enhance productivity.

1. Make a Framework for a Virtual Team Meeting

Although remote meetings typically feel more casual than offline meetings, it’s critical to make formal agreements beforehand. Try to have everyone agree on the topic and goals of the work meeting.

To meet remotely, you can’t move and walk to another room. That’s why time flies by in your cozy chair and you don't even notice it.

Sticking to an agenda is key to productivity. These goals can help you communicate with structure and avoid wasting everyone’s time. However, different meetings have different frameworks. 

We know you're probably familiar with meeting frameworks. However, a quick reminder would only help you fine-tune your virtual meeting:

  • A weekly team meeting helps remind everyone of the bigger picture and the current organizational goals. On weekly meetings, everybody can set individual objectives for the ongoing week.
  • A daily stand-up is designed to shorten weekly team meeting time, and also quickly discuss progress, successes, and roadblocks. Every team member spends no more than 15 minutes on a report.
  • A retrospective meeting promotes reflection and feedback culture within a team. It aims not only to boost KPIs, but also to make remote workers feel seen and included.

Whichever option suits your team and schedule, try to make sure that every teammate understands the meeting's purpose clearly. 

2. Reach an Agreement

Teams often fail to terminate remote meetings. They finish too early without giving enough clear direction to the participants. By the end, the results of a discussion float to nowhere. 

To avoid this trap, before moving on, make sure you’ve covered all the essentials by asking a short and sweet question: "I suppose we've passed through everything for topic X. Is everyone ready to start a topic Y?"

You may wonder, whether it’s the right time to finish a virtual meeting or not. So use the following benchmarks to close a virtual meeting on time: 

  • Teammates need more facts to progress the discussion. 
  • The views of people who aren’t present are missing and could often be of value.
  • Events are likely to alter so you should wait for updates.
  • Sometimes there can be a scenario such as 2-3 members not agreeing, and they could settle the discussion outside the meeting, but take up everyone's time instead.

3. Use Time Management Tricks 

Rarely do people achieve anything valuable after 2-hour long meetings. Whenever a topic is discussed, members will get exhausted. Guaranteed. Usually, an hour and a half is sufficient to deal with the remote meeting agenda. However, squeezing all the questions into a devoted time frame might be pretty challenging. 

To better manage the time, try to play around with these simple tricks:

  • If you see your remote meetings tend to last too long, try to start them one hour before lunch or one hour before the end of work.
  • Consider unconventional meeting lengths. Make meetings 50 minutes long instead of an hour, or 20 minutes rather than half an hour.

4. Be Mindful of Other Time Zones and Work Hours

Remote workers from different continents connect in seconds in the Zoom room. But you need to ensure that the meeting schedule fits them all. It's not too late nor too early.

Be sure to respect timezone boundaries from the first meeting with an employee or even earlier. How you treat a person at a job interview speaks a lot about the employee experience in your company. 

But it's hard to appear a thoughtful employer when you experience chaos syncing multiple interviews with foreign candidates. Hopefully, you can lower your stress level by scheduling interviews with tools like Juggl.

To make your team feel more valuable, it's also a must that everyone can freely suggest a convenient time without being embarrassed to share their own opinions. 

5. Reduce Unproductive Virtual Team Meetings

A recent survey shows employees perform better when the meeting number drops. By reducing remote meetings by 40%, workers’ productivity increased by 71% across 76 companies.

So who said that everything should be discussed in remote meetings? 

The thing is that when employees manage their own time with more flexibility, they feel more satisfied and empowered. Well, now the hardest thing for managers is to strike the right balance between giving autonomy to workers and keeping control.  

Consider recent meetings you have participated in or conducted. What have been the most useful ones for you? Maybe you with your team envisioned a new project launch or had a brainstorm. But let’s be honest. Not every scheduled meeting really brought value. That’s why we recommend running meetings only when "absolutely" necessary. Check out the worthwhile reasons:

  • To revise the work and correct it instantly
  • To validate and clarify something 
  • To hand out tasks appropriately to your team members

Also, consider if all the participants are really needed. Try to carefully edit your invite list. Some meetings can be optional for certain peers. Moreover, your team members will be less engaged if the topic is less relevant to their work.

Final thoughts

Don’t rush to claim all virtual meetings to be boring and unproductive. For sure, there are huge benefits of remote meetings like real-time dialogue with workers from all over the globe. But if you lose control over the process, it will interfere with real work and drain the energy of your employees. If that’s the case for your workplace, it might be a good idea to modify virtual meetings a bit with one of the methods mentioned above. Even small changes can help.

If you’re interested in assembling an effective remote team, but not sure where to start, read how you can leverage the easy-to-use Juggl tool for your goals. Cheers, friends!

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