Running effective meetings without the usual “meeting room” setting can be difficult. It takes adjustment and adaptation, but it’s an important part of creating a hybrid working environment.
Software used for online meetings
It should be noted that each software has its own limitations and benefits. It’s vital to use whichever is most suited to your intended purposes in order to avoid failed meetings.
Business management software
- Teams – Microsoft Teams is a freely available meeting software, with easy to use chat functions. In the free version, calls are limited to 60 minutes, and cannot be recorded. You can pay for an improved version that is widely available throughout the company on acquisition.
- Skype for Business – Skype for Business is a business tool similar to Teams. It integrates with office applications and focuses more on business management and communication than being a meeting tool. You can host meetings of up to 250 people, however, the net code is worse than teams, and calls can suffer from connection issues.
Meeting only software
- Google Meet – Google’s free meeting software is excellent for online meetings. It is widely available and easy to use. Google does have a few disadvantages however, such as there being no chat prior to the meeting room being made. This means you need to create a chat to actually organise a google meet. However, since chats are never saved, you can’t use it as a general business management tool as you would with teams.
- Zoom – Zoom is extremely similar to Google Meets. Zoom allows you to set up meetings but does not allow you to keep the chat room. The main difference with Zoom is that the free version has a 40 minute limit on the amount of time that can be spent in a meeting. While this can be frustrating,since meetings may get interrupted, it helps you to stick to a schedule.
Why choose online meetings
Even though work is returning to the communal office, digital workspaces remain popular. Why are people continuing to choose a hybrid workstyle, with an online meeting room?
Online meetings allow the workforce to stay at home. This means that you can hire from a wider selection of people, as they aren’t limited by your office space. A lot of new talent is more familiar with home-working than office working as well, due to the impact of covid-19.
There is also a financial benefit to using digital workspaces. They can be much cheaper than renting out an office space. Additionally, the cost of commuting for all your employees can be a real obstacle, especially for small companies.
Effectively running online meetings
Creating an environment where meetings can flow easily and effectively online is a challenge. Knowing what rules to set and questions to
ask is a good first step.
- Keep cameras on – Meetings become difficult when body language isn’t able to be conveyed. Fix this simply and easily by telling attendees to turn their cameras on during meetings.
- Be mindful of disrespect – People can sometimes find it hard to remain professional while on their private pc. Always be mindful of this, and while offering leeway, ensure that no jokes or statements go too far.
- Spend time preparing – It’s still a meeting, don’t discount preparation. Take a break before to prepare, write things up, and get resources ready which are going to be needed.
- Start with introductions – If you’ve ever run an online meeting, you know that a lot of people remain silent. Combatting this is hard, but a big step is getting everyone to introduce themself and giving them an icebreaker.
- Give everyone the mic – Make sure everyone has time to talk. It can be difficult during a meeting to find time for everyone, but it’s important that everyone can say their piece.