The last few years have greatly affected the way we work and communicate. While we can’t always be in the same space as our colleagues and clients, we’ve still been able to find the technology to bring our meetings and events online, while remaining just as motivated and productive.
Virtual meetings are beneficial to businesses that are embracing the trend of remote working in their strategies and want to allow more of their employees to do their jobs without being at the office. These meetings allow everyone to be included in important discussions regardless of where they’re at, which greatly enhances business inclusivity.
However, when it comes to hybrid teams, some companies feel like they need help with conducting virtual meetings. A hybrid team is a flexible working structure where some of the employees work remotely while others may work from a central location. The hybrid team structure allows employees to decide whether they want an office environment or to work from anywhere remotely.
The main challenge with conducting great virtual meetings for hybrid teams lies in creating the same experience and inclusion for everyone who participates in the meeting, regardless of whether they’re sitting in the same conference room or at home.
Below, we share some tips on how to make these meetings seamless and turn them into a productive part of the working day.
A virtual meeting often requires some planning in terms of tools, agenda, etc. However, a virtual meeting for hybrid teams requires even more planning so that everyone can participate on the same terms. All the programs that we use today to email, interact, etc. have different functions that sometimes hinder rather than help the participants in various ways.
Maybe it’s an email notice or a chat message that distracts the remote participants. A good tip is to plan and structure the meeting so that all participants feel engaged and become involved. The meeting should preferably be interactive and short, and you should always have a backup plan should a technical issue arises.
Make All Attendees Comfortable
When it comes to virtual meetings and hybrid teams, it can be easy to forget about some of the attendees as people get carried away in their conversations. However, when you focus on some attendees more than others, this can result in an unproductive meeting. For this reason, it’s essential to give equal attention to everyone and make them feel comfortable.
To start the working day in a good way, you can consider a virtual coffee meeting as it creates the perfect setting for co-working, caffeine-fueled chats, brainstorming, and socializing. Virtual coffee meetings are a great opportunity for your hybrid team to chat openly about their ideas, concerns, accomplishments, as well as obstacles. Remote work environments make it hard to establish a strong company culture and genuine human connections, but with regular virtual coffee sessions, you’ll be able to promote team bonding and show employee appreciation.
Pay Attention to Time Zones
When planning a virtual meeting for a hybrid team, you must keep in mind that some remote employees may be in different time zones. For example, if someone schedules a 10:00 am meeting in New York, it would be 7:00 am in California, which might be outside employees’ work hours. So be mindful of where the meeting’s attendees are located so everyone can get the chance to participate.
Be a Great Leader
We have probably all noticed during the countless virtual meetings we have had in recent years that things can easily get messy. Virtual meetings for hybrid teams are no exception.
As a meeting leader, you need to establish your role at the beginning of the meeting, be clear about which rules apply, allocate the speaking space, and perhaps remind your attendees about who is currently speaking to prevent frequent interruptions. Also, be careful to stop a speaker if they are taking way too much speaking time.
Ask for Employee Feedback
One of the most efficient ways to improve something is by seeking feedback from your employees. After each virtual meeting, you can ask all of your participants what they liked or disliked about the meeting and how your virtual meeting sessions can be improved for next time. You can also consider conducting an anonymous survey to get more sincere answers.
Virtual meetings for hybrid teams are a great way to set all of your employees up for success and take your company to the next level. Although this meeting format can pose its challenges, by following the tips above, you will help your in-person employees and remote employees be part of a productive and efficient virtual meeting environment.