It’s an undeniable fact that managing remote workers presents a unique set of challenges. And while you’ve undoubtedly read many tips for managing remote employees, where are the tips for those managing both non-remote and remote employees on the same team? Managing blended teams comprised of remote and non-remote employees can be tough, particularly when it comes to meetings.
How can you run meetings that make remote and non-remote employees feel equally included? With the proper preparation and the right technology, you can unite remote and non-remote employees while conducting meetings that make everyone feel involved.
1.) Verbally Check-In with Remote Employees
When you’re physically present in a meeting, you feel more included and therefore more comfortable chiming in with your ideas and opinions. When you’re attending a meeting virtually, the lack of physical presence makes it more difficult to participate in the discussion.
Managers should make a habit of verbally checking in with remote workers throughout the meeting as important questions are raised or key discussion topics are introduced. Prompting remote workers for feedback makes virtual meeting members feel included and reminds them that their input truly matters.
2.) Distribute Meeting Materials to All Members Ahead of Time
When conducting a meeting, it’s easy to guide in-person members through your visual meeting aides seamlessly, but virtual team members can get left in the dust. Be sure to distribute a meeting agenda and any visuals you plan to use during the meeting to all team members well ahead of time, so remote employees have the opportunity to look them over beforehand. That way, remote employees who teleconference in will still be in the know even if they can’t physically see what you see.
3.) Invest in Quality Web Conferencing Software
If you have a sizeable number of remote workers on your team, there comes a point where teleconferencing just doesn’t cut it anymore. Investing in top-notch web conferencing software, like PGi’s iMeet® — which boasts screen sharing options and video chat capabilities — is crucial for managers looking to provide a seamless meeting experience that harnesses the affordances of contemporary technology while making all team members feel included in the discussion.
4.) Encourage Remote Members to Virtually ‘Raise Their Hand’ When They Want to Provide Input
Piping up during a meeting to contribute a thought isn’t very difficult when you’re physically in the meeting room. When you’re not physically present for a meeting and can’t read the social cues that signal when it’s an appropriate time to insert your thoughts, it can be much more intimidating to contribute to the discussion.
Develop a way for team members to virtually signal they have something to say, whether it be a simple chat message stating they’d like to make a point or by using a virtual ‘Raise Your Hand’ feature offered by some web conferencing platforms.
5.) Start with an Icebreaker
From asking meeting participants to share one good thing that’s happened to them that day to having employees share their dream vacation destination, having a fun icebreaker or trivia question at the start of the meeting is fun, quick way to bring together remote and non-remote employees so you can kick start your meeting feeling unified.
Meetings should be a place for collaboration and camaraderie, not miscommunication and exclusionary practices. If your meetings are failing to bring together remote and non-remote team members, your online meeting software might be to blame. To maximize your meeting productivity, try iMeet free for 30 days and see how quickly our audio and video conferencing solution will change your meetings for the better.