The amount of time spent in virtual meetings is much more significant than the change in work behaviors. According to Microsoft, weekly virtual meeting time on Teams more than doubled during the Pandemic, climbing 25% since February 2020. Middle employees, management and CEOs spend more than half of their time attending and hosting virtual meetings, with the average employee spending less than 2% of their time in meetings.
The transition to remote work places more emphasis on connecting through virtual meetings and therefore should warrant more thought about the experience. Improving meetings can help with employee productivity, reduce the dread of “Zoom fatigue”, and assist in becoming a more remote-friendly organization.
Our meeting structure causes us to have so much hidden potential in meeting utility. If there is a lack of commitment and top-down execution from management, technology can be used to help virtual meetings become more useful.
Virtual meeting utilization has yet to be a standard or benchmark given that each company is unique. The code of meeting efficiency isn’t cracked because organizations concern themselves with the utility of many communication channels. A few simple questions can help enterprises know they’re on the right path.
1. Are you requiring employees to be present for entire meetings when only a portion might be critical to their job function?
Weekly, hour-long all-hands meetings take up approximately 52 hours a year, and that doesn’t include the numerous other virtual meetings that employees attend daily from internals, client calls, business development, industry event sessions and others. Allowing employees to watch the most relevant moments on their own terms can improve retention and time management.
As asynchronous work is beginning to trend in the job market, it should carry over into meetings as well, even though internal meetings aren’t of equal importance to all attendees. Mandatory participants can conduct the live meeting and allow fly-on-the-wall colleagues to view the recording on their own time and find the moments relevant to them. Companies can use recorded meetings to create a new more efficient way to work.
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2. Are you making video moments shareable within collaboration platforms?
The platforms like Microsoft Teams and Webex have become a great place to quickly collaborate while also being the water cooler of remote work. Employees share a lot of content, so why not have a meeting to discuss it? Sharing meeting snippets securely internally creates a new vehicle to deliver relevant content to colleagues giving it more value and purpose.
Meeting productivity and engagement can sometimes feel like a new issue, brought on by the abundance of virtual communication, but has been a leading waste of time for many years. A survey done by Harvard Business School and Boston University found that meetings keep senior managers from completing work, are inefficient and miss opportunities to bring the team closer together, and that meetings miss opportunities to bring the team together. The way we deliver and engage with each other during and after the meeting must be changed.
3. Are you enabling employees to “react” to meetings in real-time?
Virtual meetings are less engaging than in-person meetings and there are practices that increase engagement to help close that gap. Employees should be able to leave comments to specific parts of a meeting in real-time, just like they do on social media.
Managers can view feedback in real-time and encourage collaboration with reactions. When Facebook created reactions for their social network back in 2016 which has subsequently been adopted by every other social media or collaboration platform, it dramatically increased engagement and companies can achieve a similar lift from their meetings.
Adapting for WFH and Hybrid Workflows
Employers have to adapt their workflows to match the new standard of hybrid working. If enterprises can answer these three questions affirmatively, they can improve the utilization of meeting content to be more meaningful and respectful of employees time.
The more effective way to reduce meetings is to maximize their usefulness and ability to bring together an organization rather than alienating participants, as many companies are experimenting with.
Humphrey Chen is the CEO and Co-Founder of CLIPr, a Video Analysis and Management (VAM) platform which uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to help users quickly identify, organize, search, interact and share the important moments within video content. He has built and bought start-ups in a variety of technology-based industries throughout his career. Prior to CLIPr, Humphrey was the Head of Key Initiatives for the Amazon Computer Vision API’s, the former Chief Product Officer for VidMob, and the leader of the New Technologies division at Verizon Wireless. Chen is a member of the Board of Advisors for Noom, DialPad, Gray Meta, and VidMob. On social media, connect with Humphrey. CLIPr can be found at clipr.ai/