For years, companies have been making the shift towards a more flexible work environment. The cloud and today’s ultra-fast internet connections allow people to stay informed and aligned no matter where they are.
However, though many organizations were beginning to shift towards remote working opportunities, it wasn’t until 2020 when we saw the trend explode.
The pandemic of 2020 meant many companies had to choose between shutting down the company or finding a way for staff to work from home.
According to Gartner, the events of the year shattered the paradigm of the standard workplace schedule forever.
The question for today’s companies isn’t whether remote working opportunities are necessary, but how can they ensure the continued productivity of their employees in a remote environment, particularly when it comes to arranging meetings between disconnected parties?
The way we work has changed on a fundamental level.
These days, around 56.8% of US employees are working remotely, and there’s a good chance that the trend for flexible working will continue to grow.
Remote and hybrid workforces can’t always meet in-person to share ideas and discuss projects.
Instead, they need to access online tools that bring them face-to-face with teams wherever they are.
The good news is that video conferencing and remote meeting services allow your staff to remain productive in any environment.
On the other hand, rushing into a meeting solution without proper planning can be dangerous from a security and privacy perspective.
Meetings are an opportunity to discuss projects, provide updates, share ideas and make tough decisions. In amongst all this, it is important to remember that they can also be used by managers to give team members the positive feedback they need to feel valued and fulfilled in their role.
The challenge, then, is to work out the best way to actually give this feedback, especially now that more meetings are taking place virtually rather than face-to-face.
With that in mind, here are just a few ways you can be proactively positive towards your workers while meetings are underway, without this derailing proceedings and while ensuring that meetings have value.
The new normal is now the norm that really isn't new anymore and it's here to stay.
All of us are in a much better place, don't you think? No more wasting time on long commutes, no more extra expenditure on clothing and office lunches, and a lot of video meetings—because remote work is now a lifestyle.
Video meetings and interviews are great because wearing pajamas when nobody can see them is awesome, but there's a lot more to your everyday virtual meetings that needs attention. This goes for everyone—the employee, the employer, and hiring managers.
What happened? So what does that mean? Now what should we do going forward?
In a retrospective meeting, you and your team work to answer these three questions together. When you’re reviewing a short event that just happened, your retrospective meeting might be very short as you all simply work to answer these questions directly.
When you’re looking at something as long as a year or something involving lots of complex interrelated parts, it doesn’t work to just ask “So, what happened in 2020?” That’s more likely to encourage day drinking than useful insights.
For something as 2020 as 2020, you’ll need to put a bit more structure in place if you want a useful result.
Running an End-of-Year Retrospective
How was your year?
In this short post I'll describe one way to run an annual retrospective so you and your group can reflect on what happened this past year, discuss what you make of it, and begin to decide what the next wise actions to take next year might be.
Running a remote team can be challenging. It’s easy for remote teammates to lose focus, or to feel ignored and unappreciated. Wouldn’t you if you rarely saw or spoke with the people on your team?
That's why remote work experts like Lisette Sutherland from Collaboration Superpowers advocate for more intentional communication with remote team members. Remote teams often meet more, not less, than their co-located counterparts.
Do you feel nervous before meeting with your consulting clients? If so, chances are you aren’t well-prepared.
With proper preparation and a specific agenda, your meetings will be productive and stress-free. Not only will this make your life easier, but your clients will appreciate it as well.
In this article, I’ll explain a simple 3-part framework you can use for your client meetings. This framework works especially well if you’re working with clients on an ongoing basis.
After reading, you’ll know how to run the perfect consulting meeting — and how to leverage meetings into more consulting work.
Before & After Using The Meeting Agenda: Jane’s Story
Jane never felt quite comfortable during meetings with her client.
Sure, she was delivering on the project just fine — but these meetings with the client were a sticking point. She wasn’t sure what the purpose of the meeting was. She went into them hoping for the best.
Without a clear structure to the meeting, it was hard for her client to see progress. They even started to doubt her value.
She could feel the business slipping away.
I have worked in technology for 10+ years, and have experienced meetings of all shapes and sizes. Interestingly, the types of meetings and ways of conducting meetings have not evolved as quickly as the technology behind meetings.
Generally speaking, the meeting starts with the meeting facilitator announcing the agenda. Everyone introduces themselves. Someone is writing meeting notes and minutes as the meeting progresses. As the meeting winds to a close, the meeting facilitator surveys the room for questions and comments.
“We are the only mammals that can cooperate with numerous strangers because only we can invent fictional stories, spread them around, and convince millions of others to believe in them.”Yuval Noah Harari, Sapiens
We often know what we should do or what we want to do to make our product and services better. But, we don’t. Instead, what we have to do and what’s on fire at-the-moment usually takes precedence. So, when we want to make big shifts, it’s all about carving out time and focus. Design Sprints give you both.
Let me give you an example from one of my favorite Design Sprints: on-demand meal delivery company Favor asked me to facilitate a Design Sprint last year. They wanted to focus on how to improve the earnings of their “Runners" (the people who deliver the meals) by 10% while also cutting the number of Runners who found the job frustrating by half.
Tackling this problem with design had been on their mind, but they just hadn’t gotten to it. By dedicating time for a Design Sprint, they were able to kickstart important improvements.
"We started with all these ideas about what our users wanted and needed in the next version of our app. The design sprint made us rapidly validate these assumptions instead of getting months down the road and realizing we were designing things our users didn’t want or need. In one week, we were able to build a solid foundation for our redesign from real user feedback."-Meg Nidever, UX Designer, Favor Delivery
Even better, the Sprint experience led to a renewed dedication to prototyping and user testing for the Favor team.
What is a Design Sprint?
A Design Sprint is like an all-inclusive retreat for your next great business idea. This timeboxed, self-contained process allows teams the opportunity to consider an existing problem or a new idea, gather insights on potential or current users, prototype ideas, and validate them all within about five days.