How to Keep Remote Employees Engaged During Virtual Meetings
Now that most meetings and discussions are taking place virtually, employers are grappling with how to keep their teams engaged and alert.
It’s not always easy to engage remote teams. But, with a bit of creativity, it’s certainly possible. Here's how to increase engagement and boost participation amongst your team.
1. Get your virtual meeting technology in order
First things first, your team needs access to communication and collaboration tools that work. Many companies rely on Zoom and WebEx for their virtual meetings, but they aren’t your only options.
If you aren’t sure which software will work best for your team and its needs, start with these four essential communication tools for remote teams.
2. Assign roles to team members
There’s nothing worse than sitting in on a virtual meeting without participating. To better engage attendees, try assigning these roles:
- A meeting facilitator who creates the agenda and keeps everyone on-topic.
- A timekeeper who ensures that the meeting doesn’t go over the allotted time.
- A notetaker who is responsible for taking notes and sending them to the team.
These roles are easy to assign, but other participants need a purpose, too.
To that effect, it helps to encourage meeting attendees to ask questions and provide insights. As the manager, it’s your job to make sure everyone has an opportunity to be engaged, even the more quiet and introverted members of the group.
3. For longer virtual meetings, schedule breaks
Even the most interested and engaged employees will zone out during meetings that last for hours on end. Monotony is the enemy of engagement, so you need to find ways to shake things up.
Fortunately, there’s a simple solution: regular breaks. Every half hour or so, encourage attendees to step away from their computer or phone to stretch, grab a snack, and recharge.
4. Be wary of scheduling too many video calls
When there are too many meetings on someone’s calendar, it becomes impossible for them to get their non-meeting work done. They might try to answer emails or finish up a report during a meeting, which is a recipe for lack of engagement.
To solve this problem, every meeting should have a clear agenda and purpose. If a meeting’s main goals can be accomplished through email, the meeting likely isn’t needed.
5. Schedule informal check-ins and meetings, too
A common complaint from remote workers is feeling disconnected from their colleagues and bosses. If you manage employees who work from home, it’s important to make sure you’re available to help the team overcome challenges.
Frequent check-ins are a great way to help employees feel more connected to the company and its goals. Start the conversation with a simple question such as, “How can I help you feel more connected to and engaged with your work?”
There’s a lot to be learned from these types of casual conversations. You might find that an employee feels overwhelmed by the number of meetings on their calendar, or that they’re confused about deliverables on a big project.
Ideally, these conversations would happen in-person. Since that’s not possible for everyone right now, try scheduling monthly virtual coffee chats with each of your employees. If all goes to plan, your team will remain engaged as they continue to work remotely.