Why are we talking about remote working now? Well, not even those living under a rock would fail to have heard of COVID-19 by now. It’s trending all over social media, toilet roll is inexplicably flying off the shelves, and the thought of an ice-cold Corona has somewhat lost its appeal. At this stage, we’re all starting to be directly affected by the Coronavirus whether we are in isolation or not, and that is because so many people are now having to work from home.
Here at Grey Bear, this has been such an interesting time for us, as while our team work remotely, we have seen many of our clients (and countless organisations in our networks) panic about the prospect of having to move online. It’s not just day-to-day tasks that are going digital, but every meeting, conference and event that now faces either being axed or moved online.
We’re here to reassure you, as a remote team working virtually daily, that you don’t need to cancel! It’s easier than you think to get set up online – even for those of us who find ourselves yelling at the computer daily.
Up And Running
There’s lots of talk about how the flexibility and focus afforded by moving meetings online will be something that, once experienced in the workplace over the next few weeks, will be here to stay. While it can be a bit of a cultural shift, when you move online you’ll probably see that it gives you back vital time – cutting out the travel, distractions and giving structured hours for the event (without the chance of a 30–minute run-over!) – while not compromising on the quality or efficacy of the communication.
So what do you have to know before going online? Platforms and devices are the natural places to start, and most workplaces will be set up with the technology to facilitate this. We love MS Teams and Zoom, and we often have meetings with some people using laptops and some using mobiles. (Although if you have a workplace with a mix of Macs and PCs, it’s always worth checking that whichever platform you’re using works on both!)
We’ve found that the simpler you keep remote working the better. It can be equally (or more) important to consider how you will arrange other, low-tech meeting-critical things such as:
- Developing and circulating a robust agenda. This ensures everyone can follow the discussion easily and you know who is speaking to what point.
- Developing and sharing materials ahead of time. This ensures you won’t be printing them on the day – a plus for trees too!
- Giving people the chance to flag any technical concerns about dialling in.
- Recording. Is everyone dialling in live or can you record the meeting? Lots of platforms will let you do this so that you can always email around a link afterwards to keep everyone up-to-date.
Does remote working…work?
When we started facilitating online meetings for our clients, we found that in some instances, they were more efficient than when they were held in person.
One of our clients wished to engage with a group of busy healthcare professionals from across the UK. The objective was to reach a consensus regarding an approach to a key project deliverable. They needed to meet in a suitable place, in a time-efficient manner and the whole thing had to be compliant within a highly regulated industry. So, we took them online.
We polled each of the attendees to find a time that worked for everyone (Doodle is a great tool for this), we circulated materials and an agenda well ahead of the day and gave them a video platform we could all meet on.
Our key findings were:
- The meeting went ahead as a planned, with 5 out of the 6 attendees being present.
- Running to time, the meeting covered all the planned agenda points. All stakeholders were able to voice their opinions equally, and agreements were made allowing the project to take considerable steps forward.
- A meeting summary was developed and sent to the client with 24 hours, and the project was initiated on time.
We were also able to work on the deliverable with few stakeholder comments received, which is indicative of a successful initial meeting, with stakeholder viewpoints being fairly captured and represented.
Connecting with you
The spread of COVID-19 is inevitably going to mean that this is a disruptive time for organisations, but we want to make sure that staying connected is not one of those stresses for you. Grey Bear was founded to facilitate powerful conversations – whether those be in person or online. So in the coming weeks and months if you feel lost or anxious about how to keep your event, conference or meeting afloat, keep calm and message us to see if we can help you with remote working!