We are in our fifth week of being a completely remote company. While we have always been a flexible team, accommodating and supportive of schedules, family, health, and other circumstances, being 100% remote was an adjustment, even to a company that is focused on building a team meeting application to help others be remote and flexible.
But on that same note, we have had many of our best meetings in the last several weeks that we have since our inception thanks to being remote. We are going to share our strategies for remote meeting success through simple ways to motivate a team at workplace “home,” keep your team members focused, as well as motivating and leading teams remotely.
Stay connected with a regular meeting cadence.
One of the ways team Docket is making remote working work for us is through anchor meetings. We have consistent, daily meetings throughout the week from daily standups, refinements, planning sessions, and leadership checkpoints.
Having a set cadence helps the staff feel confident there is always a specific place for them to update, share, and sync with other team members and keeps the work moving forward. There is always a team meeting agenda that contains topics based on the focus of each meeting such as workplace meeting topics, project statuses, and collaboration efforts so that the time spent is well spent.
Make sure each meeting has a specific focus.
It is easy with remote work to try to cram in as much as possible in a meeting while you have everyone’s attention and to try to avoid scheduling more meetings. But context switching can be an impairment to progress. Productive team meetings are those that have specific focus on a problem or project that everyone can collectively work on together to solve or create.
If you want to know how to have a great staff meeting or how to improve staff meetings, look no further than your agenda. If your all staff meeting topics are either nonexistent or all over the place, trim it down to something you really want everyone to focus on and knock out the work together. If there are topics for team meetings at work that you really want to cover, consider scheduling separate meetings to accomplish them. Always remember that having meetings are a good thing if they are achieving goals and getting work done.
Make time to check on others.
It can be very challenging for managers to know what to say to motivate your team during a time like we are going through right now. Things to say to motivate a team a few months ago may not be as well suited for the landscape we are faced with. We cannot just go grab a room and talk 1:1, grab lunch, or cut out early and grab a drink to find that open space to share.
If you want to know the secret on how to motivate team to improve performance, it is knowing what actually motivates your team. The best way to do this is getting to know your team. Even if you have a regular one on one with your staff, the best way to know how to motivate your team is through authentic conversations, understanding how things are going, challenges they are facing, things they want to work on, and how you can help.
Come to meetings prepared.
When your team works remotely, it is imperative that every moment spent together is used wisely. To accomplish this:
- You need an effective meeting agenda with focused content (see above)
- Everyone needs to read the agenda and pre-reads and before the meeting
If you aren’t creating an agenda with focused points to be discussed in team meetings, then how can your team be prepared and help work move forward?
Start building your first team meeting agenda using any number of online resources such as a weekly team meeting agenda template, a business meeting agenda sample, a weekly staff meeting agenda sample, or team meeting agenda examples.
When you have figured out good topics for manager meetings and are ready to build your agenda, move it from the napkin to a template you can share with your managers. Meeting your staff for the first time? Help them by creating an agenda for first meeting with new boss for 1:1’s so everyone has a consistent way to conduct this meeting. Having a team meeting? Microsoft Teams tools such as a team meeting agenda template Word can be a great place to start. Or turn to Docket which offers a variety of free meeting templates that can help you get started immediately and integrates with both Google and Microsoft calendar applications along with many other popular workplace tools.
Decisions, Tasks, and Deadlines
Decide and document during the meeting.
It is so natural for all of us to have a great conversation and walk away with confidence everyone heard the same thing. But the reality is everyone heard what they heard and they all walk off to the next challenge so the great conversation is easily forgotten.
Successful staff meetings and effective team meetings are just that because they not only articulate a problem or challenge but also discuss and decide a solution or next steps. Make time in each meeting to write every decision or action and assign them to an owner with a due date. Everyone in the room will bear witness to the decision or action and be accountable as a team to align and collaborate on the memorialized results of the meeting.
Let humans work when they are their best.
One of the advantages to working from home during this time is the fact that there is no commute time for your staff. This means the morning person can go for a jog and the night owl can sleep in. The person who doesn’t declare a time of day can sneak a nap midday and recharge. And laundry doesn’t have to wait until the weekend.
Turn your remote situation into a company perk by letting your humans be humans. Weekly team meeting ideas may include rotating a recurring meeting to a different time of day to enable the best in each team member. If you are hosting a new manager first meeting with staff of a large team, try to schedule smaller group sessions according to timezone and in convenience of those balancing families at home. And if you are giving a new manager speech to staff or first team meeting speech, examples of this may include letting them know you are supportive of this flexibility and want to discuss ways to enable flexibility among the team, as a team.
Time For Fun
Make it fun.
Remote work is either something you love or something you hate and can be determined daily, hourly, or minute to minute based on millions of factors. It can be wonderful, great, boring, complex, and even horrifying. Or everyone can give 110% and try to make it powerful. One way to do that is making it fun.
- Positive staff meeting ideas may include enabling your team to turn a typically tense meeting into a more relaxed one like a remote coffee session.
- Motivational team meetings ideas or interactive meetings ideas may include setting up an end of week recognition sync for accomplishments that typically slide under the radar.
- Fun team meeting ideas or fun activities to liven up meetings may include backdrop competitions, setting cool themes for staff meetings, or hosting a Halloween/dress up at the start of a meeting.
- First team meeting ideas for new recruits may include games that help the person match a staff member to their hobbies such as a game like Two Truths and a Lie.
- Out of the box meeting ideas or cool meeting ideas may include taking a group walk during a call from each individual’s location to discuss a challenge while getting exercise or bringing your pets to a meeting for some show and tell.
Trying to avoid meetings? It is time to view things differently. Meetings are what help you and your team get more work done. Meetings are more satisfying when they do what they are supposed to do. If you have too many meetings and the work isn’t getting done, talk to your team and figure out how to move work forward – as a team.
Once you identify what makes your team tick and how they can shine, you can use this knowledge to figure out how to make staff meetings more engaging, successful, and fun.