Are you losing fun & productivity in the virtual world?

2020 as a year has been difficult for people all over the world due to the outbreak of the Corona Virus. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced people to adapt to the ‘new normal' and in order to cope up, institutions and organisations have had to adopt the ‘Work from Home' strategy. Initially, People enjoyed this liberty and luxury of working from home, however, this too has its own share of problems. There have been complaints from employees about the virtual way of working is rather exhausting, with long working hours, an unsuitable work environment, and a lack of work-life balance. On the other hand, organisations are of the opinion that employee productivity and efficiency have taken a hit in the virtual mode which had led to declining quality of work. Addressing the issue of virtual work meetings, there is an underlying myth that the shorter the duration of the meeting, the more productive it will be. 


Is virtual world the real problem for unproductive meetings?

Human beings are neurodivergent when it comes to interpersonal interactions and sociability. The impact of physical interaction is very powerful and thrilling as compared to virtual interactions because physical interactions lead to an understanding of not only verbal communication but also the non- verbal communication cues along with maintaining the discipline, focus and productivity. Now that everything is done remotely, the essence of physical interaction is lost and everyone can relate to the sense of being ‘alone together’.

But this does not imply that the virtual world is the reason for unproductive meetings. For example, a speaker speaking for 2 hours in a meeting can be more engaging than the one speaking for 10 minutes. Therefore, the real problem isn’t the duration of the meeting but how the speaker is leading the meeting virtually. 

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How to know if the meetings are productive?
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  • Did all the attendees actively participate in the meeting?
  • Did all the attendees contribute their thoughts and ideas?
  • Were the attendees excited and felt energized throughout the meeting?

If not, then there is a need to work upon making the meetings productive. Hence, the length of the meeting isn’t the problem but the attitude of the speaker and how the speaker delivers the meeting is. 

“By 2022, over 30% of organizations will abandon one-size-fits-all performance management approaches in favor of tailoring to support the distinct objectives of various business functions.”
- Gartner

Engaging the attendees in virtual meetings

As we are dealing with the change, we need to understand that we also need to change the way how things are done, meanwhile, ensuring that people are adapting to performing in this new environment. Meetings in any organisation act as an important and powerful tool to connect with individuals and achieve effective results. But this can only be possible if the meetings are led properly. It is time for the organisations to focus on reframing the strategies to conduct virtual meetings.

Engaging employees in the virtual mode and ensuring their participation during meetings can be very challenging. Few of the ways we can improve this:

  • Keeping the meetings when necessary- In times where people are busy finding a work-life balance, meetings should not be scheduled just for the sake of conducting it. If there is anything that can be resolved over emails or phone calls then scheduling the meetings should be avoided.
  • Clarity on the agenda of the meeting- Be clear regarding the agenda for which meeting is scheduled so that people can participate accordingly. No one wants to show up in the meeting and realize that there is no agenda set for the meeting. This will also increase the focus of the attendees in the meeting.
  • Inviting the required people- Invite only when the person is required in the meeting and can contribute in some way. Time can also be saved by keeping separate meetings instead of a large one. This will result in shorter and efficient meetings and will also improve employee engagement.
  • Avoid talking about unnecessary things- In a meeting, sometimes, people start talking about their personal lives and how they are keeping up in this pandemic. This should be avoided as other people joined in the meeting may have taken out time from their busy schedules.
  • Keeping people engaged and energized- The most powerful thing that connects people is storytelling. The speaker should make use of it in such a way that people attending the meeting find it relatable and can understand the agenda of the meeting.

Changing the delivery of the meetings will not only result in the active participation of the employees but will also improve their productivity as they would be clear what they are expected to do. This will benefit both the people and the organisation.

Posted in : Employee Engagement 
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