With working remotely, however, the problem arises in keeping teams aligned for seamless collaboration. Thus, remote meetings are an essential ingredient for ensuring the company operates as smoothly as if working from the office.
Remote meetings are also the only time members can meet face-to-face with the entire organization. That said, efficiency and effectiveness are critical.
COVID-19 forced companies to close up shop and quarantine in their homes, but digitization has allowed them to run operations remotely. Many organizations have turned to working from home, not just during the lockdown, but the trend will continue long after the situation has passed. With working remotely, however, the problem arises in keeping teams aligned for seamless collaboration. Thus, remote meetings are an essential ingredient for ensuring the company operates as smoothly as if working from the office.
Remote meetings are also the only time members can meet face-to-face with the entire organization. That said, efficiency and effectiveness are critical. So, if you’re new to remote work, then here’s an insight into what are remote meetings and the different types you will find to help you improve remote work operations:
What is a Remote Meeting?
A remote meeting is primarily an interaction between a group of people, separated by geography or other circumstances, via an online channel. It is also called a virtual conference held by organizations to communicate with remote teams. Apart from internal communications, remote meetings also help connect with clients, customers, or business partners across the ocean. Some of the remote meeting tools in use include:
- Video conferencing software like Skype, Zoom, or Slack.
- Video conferencing hardware
- Computer or laptop
Before switching to remote working, research and compare available software to see which ones work best for you and your team members. The type of hardware you use also impacts your meeting experience. Additionally, to ensure the meeting goes as planned, outline a schedule to follow that covers all that needs to be discussed. You can also assign a facilitator that keeps everything and everyone in order. That said, let’s look at the different meeting structures that benefit your organization and teams.
Different Meeting Formats
Remote workers attend more meetings than on-site workers, and each conference serves a different purpose. From daily status updates to weekly 1:1s, bi-weekly meetings, and more, there are several remote meeting types. Here’s a breakdown on the different meeting formats that allow seamless collaboration between remote teams:
The Daily Standup
Daily standups are the regular status update meetings that last between 15-30 minutes. They are a quick way for remote teams to check-in and assure the higher-ups that everything is operating at an optimum level. Ideally, each team member is allotted 2-5 minutes to discuss what they worked on during the day and any problems that may have arisen. They are free to mention any disruptions that may be upholding regular operations or if they need anything from the other members. Standup meetings are more beneficial for remote or hybrid teams. Since not everyone is in the office to casually discuss ongoing projects, it provides the opportunity to do so. Plus, when you see everyone face-to-face every day, it helps with team building. But it’s essential not to go overboard during these daily standups. Otherwise, it will be more disruptive than constructive.
Weekly 1:1s is when team leaders and managers get together weekly for reports and project reviews, coaching, and relationship-building. For remote employees and hybrid teams, it allows engagement between team members and visibility into their work. Unlike daily standups, these 1:1s happen between two people, typically, a manager and employee. It allows managers and teams to provide feedback, keep each other in the loop, and resolve issues. It is also an opportunity for the leads and remote team representatives to grow in their roles. What makes 1:1s incredibly unique for remote teams is their free-form, employee-focused nature and discussions beyond status updates. It establishes the groundwork for a trusting and productive work relationship.
Weekly Scrum Meetings
Scrum meetings and daily standups are synonymous with the corporate world. Teams often refer to their daily standups as daily scrums. That said, regardless of what you call it, these meetings allow employees and teammates to develop an understanding, coordinate and collaborate on projects, and more. The best practice for scrum meetings is to ensure the immediate members of a project are also involved. The primary agenda of scrum meetings revolve around what the teams did the day before, the schedule for today, and if any blockers restrict progress.
Bi-Weekly Sprint Planning & Retrospectives
Bi-weekly meetings allow for teams to ensure they are aligned on workload and velocity. Whether its remote workers or on-site staff, these conferences are incredibly beneficial. Some of the benefits that come with bi-weekly sprint planning include:
- Development teams know their tasks
- It boosts communication and collaboration between teams.
- Employees can build a shared understanding of the product.
- It helps in team building as individuals learn complex problem-solving.
- Members align towards a shared goal.
- Teams commit to generating results and meeting deadlines.
- Different perspectives come to light among teammates.
Conversely, remote retrospective meetings are where teams meet over video conference to review existing strategies. They highlight what’s working and what isn’t, simultaneously brainstorming on improvements. That said, it’s not enough to recognize problems or what went well. The real value of these retrospectives is when teams walk away with a list of to-dos designed to improve performance in the long run.
Virtual Brainstorm Meeting
When you’re working from the office, brainstorm meetings are a standard procedure when the company undertakes a new project. Team heads and other management members assemble to discuss a plan of action and determine how to proceed. Similarly, you can hold brainstorming meetings over a video conference call. Software like Skype or Zoom is an excellent platform for remote conferencing. With a whiteboard within sight of the video camera, you can take notes or use a shared Google Doc and project it on the screen, allowing remote teams and on-site workers to keep up.
Hold Pain-Free Remote Meetings
I hope the blog helps understand the different ways you can maintain communication between remote teams and on-site workers. Adopt one or more of the video conferencing software to ensure seamless communication and collaboration. Make sure to include a video link for each virtual conference, share the plan before time, and follow up with the members via Slack or other messaging apps. That said, consider the different time zones and take into account the times when someone can’t be present.