Around 56% of full-time American employees (over 70 million people) say they can do their job remotely. And when the pandemic happened, they proved they could work just as efficiently at home as in the office, if not more.

While many employers have reverted to completely in-office work, others have listened to their employees. They’ve now adopted a hybrid workplace where there’s remote collaboration.

If this is what you’re attempting for your workplace, then you’ll know it’s not without difficulties.

Do you need help with remote meetings and collaborations? Then read on for the best practices.

Choose the Right Software and Tools

The industry standard today for remote meetings seems to be Zoom, but there are other options. So don’t discount programs like Google Chat (formerly Google Hangouts), Slack, or even Skype.

Take the time to explore the pros and cons of each, and pick the one that best fits your needs. Don’t forget that some programs are better for one-on-one meetings while others shine for 20+ attendees, so keep this in mind.

You’ll also want to think about what you want to achieve during the meeting and what tools will help. For instance, if you’re discussing a document and want to amend it with co-workers, then Google Docs can be a great way to collaborate instantly.

Using these tools in conjunction with a good video conferencing program will make it just as easy to collaborate online as in person.

Have a Digital Water Cooler

Employees usually bond at work by gathering around the water cooler and discussing various aspects of their lives. You don’t have this chance when you work remotely, and it can feel lonely. Also, you don’t get to know your co-workers, making video meetings sometimes awkward.

Prevent this from happening by providing a digital water cooler. One of the best avenues is Slack, where workers can join different channels based on their interests. Employees from all over the world can come together and feel like they’re part of the company.

This digital water cooler also gives everyone a glimpse of their communication styles. It ensures that remote meetings will go smoother, as everyone will know what to expect from each other.

Set Clear Guidelines

It can be challenging to manage online meetings since people aren’t used to them.

It’s impossible to run a successful meeting if people are talking over each other, as audio doesn’t work as it does in person. So have it down on paper whether people can speak whenever they want or if the manager/team lead will call on people to speak instead. They might also have admin powers to mute everyone if you select the right software.

It would be best if you also determined whether everyone should have their cameras on or only the presenter.

Make Sure Everyone Understands the Etiquette

Some employees think they can get away with things in online meetings they usually wouldn’t be able to with in-person meetings. But in reality, everyone can see how rude and unprofessional they’re being.

Some remote meeting etiquette includes:

  • No multitasking
  • No staring at phones
  • No interruptions
  • Turning off notifications on phones and computers/laptops

Make sure everyone tests their equipment before the meeting as well. Nothing is more frustrating than troubleshooting just minutes into the call.

Schedule Meetings in Advance

Not only do your employees have busy schedules, but they also live in different time zones. So it’s essential to schedule meetings far in advance. That way, they can rearrange things if needed.

It can be helpful to use a world clock meeting planner to find optimal times for everyone to meet. Otherwise, look for overlapping time blocks; if workers can’t make it for the entire meeting, you can maybe get everyone on for part of the call.

Make Meeting Agendas

Without agendas, meetings can quickly go off track. Not only will this waste time and cause your sessions to go over, but you might not accomplish much either.

Before the video conference starts, you should create an agenda.

It should have the key talking points and how long you will spend on each one (approximately). It would help if you also named employees who will speak and what they will talk about. Lastly, attach all relevant files attendees will need to view.

Include Everyone in the Conversation

<p”>It’s easy for someone to blend into the background, especially if you do not require webcams to be on. An excellent way to include everyone in the conversation is to start the meeting with some friendly and casual talk.

Once everyone’s warmed up, you’ll find that some team members are more talkative than others. If this happens, take the initiative and ask for quieter voices to speak up.

Have Goals at the End of Remote Meetings

For remote teamwork to succeed, you must establish goals at the end of your meetings.

Discuss deliverables, who’s responsible for them, and when they should be delivered. And more importantly, determine when you’re meeting next to check in on the project.

After the remote meeting ends, have some one-on-one conversations with your team members to see if they have any input on how the meeting went. Take their feedback and implement changes to better your following calls.

Conduct Smooth and Effective Remote Meetings

Remote meetings are the way forward, as more employees work from home. Thankfully, we have the technology to facilitate video conferences so projects can progress no matter where your team members are. And by utilising the best practices for remote meetings, you’ll be able to have efficient workplace collaboration.

So if holding online meetings previously seemed daunting; hopefully, this article has put your mind at ease.

Contact us today if you’d like to work with more remote teams in your company. We can help you with finding quality remote workers.