Keep your team on the same page, even if you’re not in the same room
Stay connected, even if you're apart
Working remotely has completely revolutionized how we work, for better and for worse. While it no doubt has reduced office costs and increased people’s autonomy and flexibility, it comes with its own set of challenges too. When you’re communicating mainly through messages, it’s easy to resort to only sending messages instead of scheduling a meeting to talk. On the other hand, we may send a meeting invite every time we need to talk resulting in a calendar full of unnecessary meetings.
During the meeting, the flow is much different than when we’re in person. There might be technical difficulties or interruptions that increase frustration. Not to mention the awkward silences and people accidentally talking over each other.
Sixty-two percent of senior managers said meetings miss opportunities to bring their team closer together. In remote meetings, we have to over-rely on verbal communication because we can’t see most of the nonverbal cues we normally pick up in person. There’s no whiteboard or sticky notes to convey the ideas we’re dreaming up in our heads. We might assume someone else is taking notes only to find out no one took notes and no one remembers who was accountable for specific tasks.
Templates for remote teams
Clear is kind
With so many opportunities for miscommunication, our meetings need to be as clear and focused as possible. At 3TW, we like to say, “Clear is kind.” Be clear with your team so there’s no room for misunderstanding.
Being clear with your team means sending an agenda before the meeting so everyone has context for what the meeting is and how they can prepare. Clear means setting up discussion points so the team can brainstorm ahead of time and bring their ideas and feedback to the meeting. Give your team a sense of focus by following that agenda in the meeting and bringing the conversation back to it when it goes down rabbit holes. So no matter the interruptions or awkward silences, you always have your agenda and discussion points to come back to.
Set your team up for success
- Focus on what’s most important. Share the purpose and agenda for the meeting so each person is clear on why they are there and what you aim to achieve.
- Hear from everyone on your team, even the more quiet folks. Each person has the opportunity to share discussion points to get their opinions and feedback out in the open.
- Get more out of your time together. Send a reminder 24 hours before the meeting to ensure everyone has reviewed the agenda and added their discussion points.
- Show your team you care by respecting their time. Get more done in each meeting so you spend less time in meetings and more time on what matters most.
- Get important feedback from your team. Have better conversations with your direct reports and give them space to share how you can improve as a manager and as a team.
- Keep everyone accountable. Assign action items and due dates to help everyone keep their promises to the team.
- Conversations fall through the cracks because you don’t run into someone in the hallway
- People arrive late to the meeting, some people don’t have their cameras on, and every meeting is inconsistent.
- You misinterpret a decision because there was bad audio on the call.
- The team feels disconnected because they don’t have time to catch up on each other’s lives or what’s going on with their work.
- A lot of decisions are made during your meeting, but there’s a lack of follow-through after the meeting.
- When you think of an idea, you add it to the agenda for your next meeting.
- Specific guidelines are included in the meeting invitation that everyone reviews ahead of time.
- Decisions are documented in one place that everyone can review.
- You set aside time at the beginning of your meeting agenda to catch up with one another (without letting it take up too much time).
- Each action item is assigned and given a due date as the conversation unfolds.