Virtual Meetings – and how to make the most of them

Virtual Meetings – and how to make the most of them

One thing that 2020 and 2021 taught the world very well is that virtual meetings can actually work as well as face-to-face ones. Most of us have been made to think that the latter is more effective because it supposedly allows for less ambiguity as a sensory experience. As each country went into pandemic-induced lockdown, working from home became more of a norm rather than a practice of freelancers.

That being said, if we cannot escape them, how do we leverage online meetings and their advantages? In 2021, these are some of the things you can do:

  • Make use of all the features of your virtual meeting software. Most of them allows you to record proceedings, chat with other participants, sync with your digital calendar, personalize with your branding colors and company logos, and even edit documents real-time with the screen-sharing option.

  • Virtual meetings offer faster, more efficient presentations where presenters can instantly open and share webpages and documents and access byte-heavy videos and other media on cloud platforms.

  • Hold “hybrid” events where you can stay in one location with a few attendees and broadcast their proceedings to remote participants. In a time rife with health risks, this limits exposure but at the same time makes exchange of ideas faster and easier.

On the other hand, as anything online, there are downsides to virtual meetings. Here are some and how you can successfully overcome them:

  • Data Privacy & Security can be worrisome especially when there is sharing of ideas and documents during online meetings that might be stolen by hackers or even by lack of orientation on online security to participants. There too have been numerous cases where someone inadvertently wrote on meeting chat what they shouldn’t have and this was captured and shared to media or rival companies.

  • In meetings where there are multilingual participants, it is easy to get lost in translation. Many opt to have real-time interpreters or use translation software to address this. This includes sign language services for participants that have a hearing impairment.

  • Popularly called “Zoom fatigue” and often experienced by those who attend more than one meeting via online conferencing, people have reported being listless, distressed, bored and exhausted during and after virtual meetings. Host short pre-meeting meditation or energizer like a Zumba dance and post-meeting socials. Some companies host end-of-week singing contests or trivia games.

  • Keeping meeting participants engaged is a very common problem especially for those that last more than an hour. Typically, people lose interest and find something else to do, all the more when they don’t have to turn on their video cams. Keep their interest with interactive sessions via small-group discussions in breakout rooms and reporting their outputs, short quizzes and fun games, and using apps that allow real-time, multi-user editing.

  • The bane of all online meetings is technical trouble. This can run from sudden loss of internet connection, slowing down of download or upload speeds, or plain old software glitches. Assign a “tech team” with good internet connections who will focus on assisting in troubleshooting these. It is also good to send ahead documents and presentations to the team so that they can take over in flashing those in case your connections slow down. They can also assist those who are less tech-savvy.

Of course, whether online or offline, the bottom line for meeting participants is that they should come to it ready. Preparation time will still be the same for many. Slides for presentations may be done offline or on cloud but they still have to be manually prepared. Meeting invites need to be sent out and participants to be reminded of them. The key here is really just to embrace the virtual meeting as an essential component of modern communication. Let us make the most of it.

Best Practices to Improve the Productivity of Remote Workers

Best Practices to Improve the Productivity of Remote Workers

Work from Home Productivity of Remote Employees

The covid-19 pandemic has posed a challenge for companies on how they can ensure the productivity and efficiency of their employees who have to work remotely. As an HR manager or project manager, you have to monitor your employees’ productivity at home and make sure that the level of productivity that they performed at the office can be maintained or even exceeded when they have to work from their homes. Two solutions that can help in tracking your workers’ productivity are carrying out several working from home best practices and using tools for monitoring the progress of their tasks.

Working from Home Best Practices and Tools

It’s important to emphasize to your employees that the practices and tools you want them to adapt can help in optimizing their productivity at home. Those practices can also create satisfaction on the part of company management from knowing there are tools you are using to track your employees’ efficiency in working remotely.

Here are some of the working from home best practices for your remote employees:

  • Dedicated work space –

    Tell them to designate a specific place in their home as their work area that is preferably away from the TV, bed and the kitchen because it can distract them to watch TV, take a quick nap on the bed or take breaks every now and then during work hours. Also encourage them to put their cell phone in a spot away from their home workstation so they won’t be tempted to use their phones to play mobile games or check their social media sites. Point out to them that getting rid of distractions at home will allow them to focus on their work and avoid non-work activities.

  • Regular working hours –

    Establishing consistent work hours for your remote workforce can help them to maintain a healthy work-life balance which is good for their physical and mental health. Several work from home productivity studies show that an effective work-life balance encourages employees to work harder and make them more likely to stay longer in the company. However, you should also allow them to have some degree of flexibility, such as when they are forced to start much early or late from their schedule so they can compensate for any work hours that they had to shorten or extend.

  • Task planner –

    You can require your employees to prepare a to-do list or planner of the tasks they have to do and finish for each day. The planner allows you and the employee to keep track of the progress of the task and if they are meeting the target goals for that task.

One of the best working from home solutions or tools you can use for tracking your employee’s progress of specific tasks is requiring them to submit regular daily, weekly and monthly reports. You can use these regular reports to monitor the progress of their tasks, to see if they are meeting or falling behind the targets, and identify the roadblocks that are causing any delays or problems. Another effective tool is constant communication with your employee via chats or online calls. You can use these regular talks to find out if they are encountering any issues or problems with their tasks and help them to come up with solutions to solve them.

 

LegalMatch’s Work from Home Productivity

LegalMatch Philippines (LMPH) is a pioneer in software applications for the US legal industry that develops technologies and software solutions for lawyers and their clients. With the majority of our employees working from home for more than a year due to the covid-19 pandemic, we actively promote the productivity of our remote employees by giving them all the support they need so they can work from home effectively. LMPH continues to expand its operations in the midst of the pandemic by continually recruiting skilled talent like senior Java developers.