Over the last few years, virtual meetings have risen considerably in importance and application; for many organisations, especially given recent events, meeting physically could soon become entirely obsolete. Now more so than ever before, technology provides an easy and productive way to communicate across organisations and beyond, no matter the location. All attendees need is a computer, internet connection and the virtual meeting platform, of which there are many to choose from.
There are a number of benefits that come with the adoption of virtual meetings, making them an even more viable and sustainable option for businesses long-term.
Benefits of Virtual Meetings
By switching to holding meetings virtually, naturally the expenses associated with traveling to and from in-person conferences or meetings are eliminated. Train fare, vehicle rental, hotel accommodations can all very quickly add up and eat a large amount of your budget. Opting for more virtual meetings removes a large portion of cost, freeing up budget and expenses to be used elsewhere in the business.
When attendees are all able to use their own computers remotely, there is no need for venues or booking internal conference rooms even if you are office based. No matter where employees are based, by switching to virtual meetings, it enables all who are available, to attend. Meetings and conferences can be organised much quicker too, allowing urgent meetings to be scheduled swiftly and multiple virtual check-ins to occur in quick succession.
Bonus: Click here for 7 classic virtual workshop tools to enhance your virtual training experience.
Taking into consideration the removal of travel time associated with virtual meetings, an increase in productivity is to be expected. Eliminating the days of preparation and commuting allows for more time and energy to be directed into other workplace tasks and enables employees to return to their daily routines much more swiftly.
Ease of sharing information
Virtual meetings are important due to their ease of information sharing. It is easy to record a meeting or conference in order to share the information with absent colleagues, or to revisit the topics and discussions that took place. In most modern virtual meeting platforms, the ability to share audio and visual information is simple, and many come with the additional feature of sharing desktops or screens. This allows for a fluid sharing of information, agendas, training materials etc. Accompanied by a chat box ability, enabling employees to exchange information and opinions with one another without disrupting the meeting flow, sharing information has never been easier.
Better for the planet
An important and underrated advantage of switching to virtual meetings is the impact it has on the environment. That is, the greatly lessened impact when compared to its physical counterpart. By removing the need to commute, the carbon associated with travel and the waste in discarded pamphlets and handouts, virtual meetings are the effective green alternative to an outdated system.
- Deeper team building
Remote working has been on the rise for a while, and since the strike of the 2020 pandemic, it has been catapulted into being the new normality for most workers. Virtual meetings are key for workers who are not based in, nor near, head office. Using virtual meetings for check-ins, catch-ups and onboarding processes allows all employees equal opportunity to be involved and fosters a greater sense of togetherness for non-co-located teams.
Bonus: For a bit of fun – How not to run a virtual meeting – Click here for Video Conference Call in Real Life.
What are some ground rules for virtual meetings?
It's important to lay down some ground rules when it comes to virtual meetings. It is the host’s job to establish these early on, and then employ repetition so that they become common practice.
Here are a few to consider.
Encouraging attendees to turn on their video for meetings allows a greater sense of connection with one another; it lets everyone connect through non-verbal communication too, allowing for a better experience.
Being aware of background noise and dreaded heavy breathing noises is important, so actively encouraging attendees to manage their mute button is a great idea. Often the host has the power to mute attendees themselves too.
Making it clear how attendees should respond and engage is key. Using all the tools and features available, such as the chat box and quick emotion indicators, can ensure a more positive meeting experience.
4) Virtual Meeting Etiquette
If it would be frowned upon in a physical meeting, then it is likely inappropriate in a virtual one. Common offenders are eating, using phones, checking emails or notifications and talking over one another. It can be helpful to set up any specific expectations, or ‘no-no’s’ at the very start of the meeting and then policing it to ensure everyone adheres.
Virtual meetings are undoubtedly an efficient, cost-effective, and equally productive alternative to in-person meetings in the world of work. They provide a host of benefits that physical, co-located offices simply can’t offer and provide sustainability that will assist in the move to more of us working remotely.