Nowadays, nearly every work function can be done virtually, but there are still times when gathering face-to-face is optimal for businesses. Read on to learn when to organize your employees for an in-person meeting.
The hybrid working model is great. It offers immense flexibility and an outstanding work-life balance. However, it can be pretty confusing as well. One of the significant elements employees are confused about is when it is optimal to come to the office and in which scenarios working from home will work best. This is especially true in the case of meetings. The following pointers will help you determine when it is time for a meeting in person.
Should This Be a Meeting in Person?
We have learned over the past year the value of time. The first and foremost thing you need to determine is whether there is a need to schedule a meeting in the first place or not. Can you communicate the plan via email or with the help of a work chat group? It is better to convey it via another medium and skip the meeting if possible. If not, let’s move to the next point.
Relationship-Based or Task-Based Goals
Once you have figured out that this meeting is essential, the next thing you take into account is the type of goals: task or relationship based. Task-based plans include updating the board, event planning, and briefing constituents. Teams can accomplish all these tasks efficiently in a virtual meeting.
On the other hand, relationship-based goals involve strengthening or/and repairing connections amongst your team members. Such plans are usually better accomplished in person. If that is the case, we would recommend meeting in person.
The Complexity of the Objectives
There are times when complexity is a more helpful framework to determine which form of the meeting to go for. It includes emotional complexity and a level of interdependence for certain decisions. If more than one person is involved in decision-making and determines the course of action, meeting in person is much more effective.
Can Meeting Take a Different Form?
Three things pop up when we think of different types of meetings: zoom, hybrid, or the good old room. However, there are possibilities beyond these three options. There are many more tools available now that can be used to impart the information in a much more effective way.
Let me illustrate by example, a good friend of mine has replaced her monthly meetings with a pre-recorded video that her team members can listen to on their own time. If you aren’t looking for an interactive session, this is a great option that you can follow up with a Q&A session at a later time.
Which Type of Meeting Is More Inclusive?
First thing first, you need to determine where your employees are based. An in-person meeting is convenient and inclusive if you are in a small town where everyone lives close to your office. You can still host in-person meetings if your company doesn’t have a central office by renting a private office.
Everyone can attend the meeting without worrying about the commute. However, the virtual format will be highly inclusive if your employees are located worldwide or in a big city. You can also alter the meeting style for a more productive virtual meeting.
For instance, a pre-recorded video instead of a regular zoom meeting can work wonders if your employees have different time zones. They can attend the meeting without compromising sleep and get back to you with questions over a specific chat group or email. Choose the format which works best as per your unique situation.
Skills and Tech Setup of the Facilitator
Once the offices gradually started to open up after an extended COVID shutdown, there was a powerful temptation to hold in-person meetings with a hybrid option for those working remotely. The hybrid meeting involves special skills to ensure everyone gets the same experience.
It is an excellent solution when done well, allowing everyone to show up comfortably. The problem is that it is only a great solution if done well. If not, the meeting can turn into a disaster. When done incorrectly, it might lead to sidelining/alienation of the remote attendees, which is something none of us wants.
If you have a skilled hybrid facilitator on board, they will make your zoom participants feel like total participants. The facilitator can do this by establishing protocols for participants regarding input. Sometimes it involves making direct eye contact with the participants and the camera.
Preparation and technology play a critical role here. The use of the right technology is a deal breaker here. If you think you aren’t equipped to hand it in virtually or via a hybrid model, opt for an in-person meeting to get the best outcome.
Ask Your Team Members
One thing you can do to determine which meeting format is most effective for your teammates is to ask them — your employees’ opinion matters. We are surprised to know why no one does this. Generate a poll on one of your work mediums and let the employees pick a type of meeting. Do not simply ask for yes and no answers. Make sure that your employees list their reasons as well.
Both virtual and in-person meetings have their own merits and demerits. Companies should choose by considering their company’s dynamics and the goals of the meeting. Consider all the elements mentioned in this post and make the right choice.
Which type of meetings do you like more? And what are some of the challenges you faced with each format? Feel free to pour down your thoughts in the comments section below. Contact us if you have any questions, and we will assist you.