Lockdown has necessitated huge changes to the normal working day. Pre-pandemic, meetings, chat-ups and townhalls were all largely a physical interaction but now the onus has been placed on companies such as Zoom and Microsoft’s Teams platform to digitally bridge the gap.
However, likely due to the steep drop off in physical interaction, it seems that such meetings are not only taking place regularly but are swiftly multiplying in volume.
This is corroborated by a new study from Doodle which found that the increase in digital meetings that the average worker must now attend leaves 38% feeling exhausted by the end of the week, whilst 30% said that this huge volume of communication, and the time it detracts from working hours, makes them far more stressed.
However, the news isn’t all negative. Doodle’s research, which polled over 1,100 full-time workers, also found that despite the negative impact on mental health, remote meetings have given 63% of workers greater clarity on their roles – mainly because of the ability to record meetings and re-watch them at a later date.
How HR can conduct better remote meetings
Be savvy about timewasting
This isn’t down to one element. Improving remote meetings is less about fulfilling the obligation of contact, and more about being savvy with your team’s time. Reducing nonchalant catchups to a bi-weekly occurrence at a set time in which all issues can be discussed, and promoting the use of work chats, can massively increase the amount of time spent concentrating on workload.
Set an agenda
It’s also important to set an agenda, to prevent meetings simply dragging on aimlessly. What are you taking time out of the day to discuss? Do people know what they are expected to talk about? By telling people that these semi-regular meetings are the correct forum to raise their issues or to gain outside perspective, people will organise their time accordingly, and maximise the use of the time they do spend in meetings.
Understand the limitations of meeting tech
You must also acknowledge the pitfalls of the technology you’re using. Yes, digital meeting technology is better than ever before, but it’s still easy to disrupt or elongate meetings trying to get a PowerPoint to work or trying to isolate where a noise is coming from. It’s therefore better to pre-plan and send out any notes separately, rather than showing a screen view, and make a policy of muted microphones whilst others are speaking.