The Covid-19 pandemic has completely transformed the way professionals are executing their tasks. With forced lockdowns of nearly global proportions, remote work has become the new “normal” for millions of businesses.
Although most professionals that rely on technology in some way have “worked from home” (WFH) before but the entire workforce of a company working remotely overnight is a scenario no one saw coming prior to this pandemic.
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The Challenges of Connectivity
Modern workloads have become highly team oriented in which the completion of most tasks relies on chunks of work coming from each relevant corner. Team oriented tasks are very difficult to execute remotely in the absence of some collaboration platform.
Remote Work and Online Collaboration Tools
Ever since Covid-19 has imposed massive lockdowns, we have observed a manifold increase in the subscription of online collaboration platforms such as Teams, Slack, Hangouts and Zoom to name a few.
The base versions of most such platforms come free, which is great news for businesses that are already struggling with liquidity. Although premium versions of most such tools offer more features, they are not free.
Virtual Meetings and Remote Work
An integral part of corporate and formal work culture, meetings serve as a great medium for generating ideas and deliberating upon the best course of action. Now, the in person meetings or brainstorming sessions have converted into virtual meetings.
The conduct of virtual meetings in an efficient and effective manner is very crucial to making remote work happen. However, most new remote work employees find it difficult to acclimatize them with this change.
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In this post, we will highlight some key aspects of making the most of your virtual meetings and enhancing productivity.
In virtual meetings, it is vital that every participant enjoys a consistent experience. In case you are also using video feed, keep in mind that you will need a decent bandwidth to stream video. Members whose bandwidth is low should switch to voice only feature.
Most online collaboration platforms are highly centered towards use over smartphones. If your internet bandwidth is low but your smartphone comes with 4G technology, use that instead. This will deliver a much seamless experience and may also support video.
Securing Virtual Meetings
Even amidst this global pandemic, cyber attacks such as ransomware and phishing are touching unprecedented levels. With millions of people interacting over virtual meeting platforms, securing your meeting is a crucial element.
Some helpful guidelines include enabling all the built in security and privacy features of the virtual meeting platform itself. The little extra effort will be beneficial in the long run. The most important guideline is to always go for private meetings.
Avoid using the actual name of your company, employees and designations so that you don’t leave any obvious clues. Using aliases is a much better and safer option. Always have a unique password or passcode that must be required to join the virtual meeting.
Some employees that may be new to the whole idea of virtual meetings may not be participating very actively. This is where the role of team leaders becomes very important. They should ensure that every relevant member gets a chance to share their inputs.
This in turn will remove the hesitation some team members may feel who are new to virtual meetings altogether. During the virtual meeting, take a few moments out to connect on a personal level and mutually ask each other how they are holding up in this crisis.
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Objectivity and Productivity
Due to the prolonged lockdowns imposed to curtail the spread of Covid-19, remote work has started to take its toll on employees as well. Meetings, whether virtual or in person, do tend to increase stress levels that are otherwise quite high these days.
To achieve objective results, team leaders should carefully select each virtual meeting participant who actually has something to offer related to the agenda. It is not a very prudent option to add all team members even if the issue does not relate to them.
You have to aim for a balanced approach between productivity and virtual meetings as every such activity consumes valuable working hours of an employee. So, such meetings should be scheduled in a way that there is minimal effect on productivity.
Thanks to modern technology, we have very effective virtual meeting and online collaboration platforms. Cloud Computing is playing a pivotal role in powering most of these solutions. Such platforms can really save the day for us amidst this crisis.