Working from home? We've all had to come to terms with a complete shift in the way we work. Suddenly, it seems, we are adjusting to making our homes our offices - all the while continuing to work with our colleagues in a new and somewhat alien way. Despite this, it's fundamental to create and establish continuous and effective connections with your colleagues so business can continue as normal.
We investigate ways in which you can adopt a better virtual way of working by establishing a familiar atmosphere with stakeholders to get the best out of working remotely using virtual meetings.
Here at One Moorgate Place, we aim to support you in any way we can during this uncertain time. If you have any other tips, share them with us here and we will feature them on our next blog as part of our Working from Home series with One Moorgate Place!
It’s inevitable that connecting with your colleagues is not going to be the same as it was before COVID 19. No longer can you pop in for a quick tea- break catch up, or have face to face one on ones with co-workers or management.
Building and maintaining professional relationships is now more important than ever to keep a strong foothold on your business. This is why it’s essential you stay visually connected whilst at home. You’ll have to consider that people have adjusted to work/home life differently but it is key to establish regular contact to maintain effective and productive relationships.
Email is obviously a go-to method of communicating, but speaking to individuals using a virtual tool will allow more personal interaction , making it easier to clarify points and ensure all objectives are aligned and met in real time. Plus, seeing your co-workers is a great boost for morale!
Firstly, before any meeting is held, you’ll need to decide who is presenting and for what purpose. If it's a small group, you may opt for a personalised platform which can be used for regular catch-ups with your team. If it’s a large group, you may want a platform which can include multiple or infinite participants.
Popular platforms include Skype (with in-built IM and international calling features), Lifesize ( equipped with an infinite calling system) and Zoom (where you can include up to 100 people). As long as the platform enables good-quality live video and audio, screen-sharing facilities and technical support, there are many cost-effective options to choose from.
It pays to find a virtual platform which suits your business and most offer a free feature, so try several to see which one works best for your business/colleagues. Make sure you notify stakeholders so they can download the platform apps in advance of the meeting and get connected.
When planning a meeting at a physical location, you have the advantage of being able to provide updates quickly and coherently in a face to face setting. Since you will not have those facilities at your disposal, planning is essential for a virtual meeting. Build an effective virtual meeting plan by calendaring meetings in advance with an agenda attached so objectives are clearly outlined and participants know what to expect. Your agenda should highlight key talking points, meeting structure, required attendees, team responsibilities, shared documentation and expected outcomes.
It goes without saying, that sometimes when we are not face to face with each other, it isn’t as easy to pick up on social-ques. Since our body language accounts for 50% of our speech, we must use some form of etiquette when conducting meetings virtually.
It can be hard to manage multiple participants who are relying on audio and visual technology to participate in a meeting . By sharing an agenda at the beginning, which includes specific speaking time slots for each participant, each person will be heard clearly and coherently when it's their turn. This should hopefully eliminate anyone being spoken over or not being heard properly. Any distractions should be kept to a minimum if possible. It's best to mute your microphone to cancel out any static/muffled sounds.
Most importantly, be aware of your surroundings but try and relax whilst your on call so you can come across clear and confident when presenting or talking in your next meeting.
This is perhaps one of the most grueling tasks of all! A good WIFI connection is imperative for a successful virtual meeting. You may find that it sometimes freezes or disconnects. If this happens you can try and disconnect and reconnect, or alternatively switch platforms altogether if it doesn't work for you or your teams. If you are the presenter, ensure you have tested all your camera/audio settings beforehand. Make sure any connection URL's are provided in the invite with any necessary extension numbers and pins. Also, you may want to consider adding an additional fifteen minutes before the meeting starts, so everyone can log-in properly.
If you can think of any other tips we can share, let us know here and we will feature them on our next blog on Working from Home with One Moorgate Place.
Until next time!