One in, all in for remote meetings

Working to engage remote participants in meeting is important and requires a plan to avoid this - or worse. Photo by Julien-Pier Belanger on Unsplash

Working to engage remote participants in meeting is important and requires a plan to avoid this - or worse. Photo by Julien-Pier Belanger on Unsplash

At their Team Tour last year in Sydney, Atlassian's Head of Talent, Bek Chee spoke about a wide range of ways that Atlassian work to get the most out of their people including remote work. There were several examples and specific ways that they do remote meetings. This is increasingly common and relevant for many organisations as more people work across locations or have flexible working arrangements meaning that they could be working from home, a cafe, a beach or airport.

This post includes two specific tips that I picked up and recommend that you consider for your meetings.

One in, all in.

Bek described that they have a process that means that their meetings are either in person or remote. Sounds straightforward. What this means, though, is that:

If even one person is not in the office, then it's a remote meeting.

Everyone is at their desk and on a video (see point 2). I love this. At its core, this would change the dynamic of many remote meetings. It moves the conversation:

  • From: 'Hub & Spoke' - where the people in the office have a conversation that people connected remotely occasionally contribute to at best - and are ignored at worst

  • To: 'Network' - where there is more equal participation from and between all participants

Video on!

Have you ever dialed in for a meeting on the phone. Is it possible that maybe .. sometimes... perhaps... you weren't fully engaged in the conversation?

I've been that person. I've also been in meetings where the person at the other end was definitely not there. I recently ran a workshop where a participant confessed to having a shower while 'attending the meeting'! Video increases the likelihood of all participants remaining actively engaged in the meeting. If they don't need to be actively engaged you have a different problem!

Give these tips a shot - I'd love to hear how it goes for you. It may feel strange to be on a remote meeting with several people at their desks in view of each other. It is, however, worth a trial. The signal that you send to all participants is significant. You value everyone's contribution equally, not just the people that happen to be in the office that day.

Some questions for you to consider:

  1. Are your remote meetings as engaging for all participants as they could or should be?

  2. Would one or both of these tips make your meetings better?