Virtual meetings aren’t too bad at the start of the day, but when they keep racking up throughout the day, it can make things difficult for employees. Mental fog, mental fatigue, and lack of creativity and focus are all too common, partly due to too many online meetings. Thankfully, there are ways employees and managers can get more out of their remote meetings and avoid long-term meeting burnout.
Get the Most Out of Remote Meetings
Tip 1: Prepare and Present Correctly
Nothing is worse than a meeting that could be fantastic and end up boring and unproductive. People aren’t focused, participation is low, and the presenter must repeat themselves multiple times. Make sure that the small stuff is taken care of; share the right link on the team’s online calendar and ensure that everyone at least knows about the meeting. Managers can easily send out a reminder via Slack or other communication methods to inform team members that the meeting will start in an hour.
Regarding presentation, managers, and employees can ensure that audience members are mentally present by prioritizing audience engagement. For those leading or facilitating the meeting, asking questions to specific individuals can be powerful. Consider asking team members if they can participate in a small way during the meeting. Even though they may only speak for a minute or two, it can keep them engaged before and after their comments and thus more attentive throughout the meeting.
Another small change presenters and facilitators can make are pacing themselves for the benefit of the group. When presenters speak a million miles a minute, it can make it more difficult for team members to understand them and, thus, more likely for them to tune out. After meetings, presenters can also message team members individually and get their feedback on the overall points of the meeting.
Team members vary in preference and engagement levels, so getting your team’s feedback will help you become a better presenter for your team.
Tip #2: Get Rid of Distractions.
More than 50% of individuals perform other non-productive tasks during meetings, such as checking emails and looking at their phones. Around 40% Browse Social Media, with some surfing the internet and others daydreaming. In a remote setting, you can’t fully control what your employees do, and it’s tough to tell when a team member is looking at something else on the internet. In fact, some employees admit to playing video games during meetings. To combat this, try to cultivate a culture that prioritizes meetings. Encourage team members to engage in a “ceremonial closing of tabs” when joining the meeting.
Tip #3: Be Selective About Meetings
Meetings aren’t always necessary, and sometimes organizations will schedule team meetings that could really be an email or even a Slack message. A Harvard Research Study found that roughly 70% of meetings prevent employees from engaging in productive work. The study also found that employee productivity increased by 71% when the number of meetings held was reduced by 40%.
HBR recommends that managers scale back meetings by being more selective about meetings. They recommend only “holding meetings when absolutely necessary. That typically includes to review work that’s occurred (what worked or didn’t and why), to clarify and validate something(policies, team goals, etc.)” or to “distribute work appropriately among your team.”
Even when meetings are needed, be sure to invite only the team members that are absolutely necessary to the meeting and to the goal that the team is shooting for. HBR also recommends that managers can encourage team members to flag or cancel meetings if those meetings aren’t a great use of their time.
Owl Labs created a list of questions for managers or anyone that could call the need for a meeting. The first question they recommend is to ask if the matter is urgent or time-sensitive. If the matter is urgent and important, consider first messaging team members on Slack if you don’t necessarily need their input. If there is an issue that absolutely requires input from other team members, it would be best to call a meeting with everyone,
Tip #4: Keep Meetings Short
Shorter meetings help employees be more productive overall, but how can managers keep meetings shorter? As discussed above, limiting the number of team members or individuals in the meeting can be beneficial, especially for keeping meetings shorter. Another strategy managers can take is to assign meeting roles for various team members.
Managers can also consider cutting the time of meetings and fitting the content they need into the time set. For example, cut hour-long meetings to just 45 minutes or 30-minute meetings to just 15 minutes.
Tip 5: Refresh Your Mind.
Inhale, exhale and return your attention to your physical and mental health. Guided breathing methods are now accessible online, enabling users to take a break between meetings and even during sessions. Additionally, to help you feel more at ease, consider surrounding your desk with something small to help you relax. This may be something as small as a houseplant or a picture of your significant other, but it can make a big difference.
Lastly, a great way to refresh your mind is by getting outside. Getting some fresh air and sunlight on your skin can help people be a bit more alert overall and refreshed when they return to their desks. This can be just sitting on the front porch for a bit, hanging out in the backyard, or going through a stroll in the neighborhood. Walks don’t have to be long to be effective either; 15 minutes can be enough to get employees rolling again.
Tip 6: Create an A rea Just for Meetings
When working remotely, setting up a specialized meeting space has numerous noteworthy advantages. It improves professionalism and productivity in the first place. Setting up a more formal and concentrated environment is facilitated by having a location set aside expressly for meetings. Participants can actively participate in talks more successfully, improving communication and decision-making by removing distractions and providing a professional setting.
Second, a designated meeting space can significantly raise the standard of online interactions. It enables people to arrange the ideal lighting, placement, and audio gear to guarantee effective communication. Participants can communicate non-verbal cues more effectively during meetings if sufficient lighting and the right camera angles improve understanding and engagement. Furthermore, enhancing audio quality with noise-canceling technology or soundproofing techniques helps to reduce background noise and guarantees that participants can clearly hear one another.
Specific meeting space also promotes work-life harmony. Drawing lines between work and personal life is simpler when meetings occur in a defined location. People can psychologically switch between their professional and personal roles by physically entering and exiting the meeting location. This division lessens the propensity to be in a work mindset all the time and enables more focus and presence during meetings, which increases productivity and enhances general well-being.
Tip 7: Avoiding Meeting Burnout is a Team Effort
It takes a collaborative effort to prevent meeting burnout rather than just being an individual responsibility. Teams should collaborate to design procedures that reduce burnout and foster a healthy work environment by acknowledging the cumulative impact of meetings on team members’ productivity and well-being.
First and foremost, a team’s ability to communicate and work together effectively is crucial. The frequency, length, and purpose of meetings, as well as other preferences, should be openly discussed by team members. Teams can decrease the overall number of meetings and ensure that only important subjects are covered by deciding whether each meeting is necessary collaboratively. This prevents wasting time, which leads to burnout.
Groups can actively encourage effective meeting procedures. Each meeting entails establishing clear objectives, agendas, and outputs that can be implemented. By adopting these guidelines, team members may stay on task and productive during meetings, reducing time lost on side topics or pointless conversations. Meetings can be run more effectively by promoting the use of technologies and tools that simplify communication, including collaboration platforms or shared documents.
Teams might also take a flexible stance when it comes to meetings. Team members can use asynchronous communication channels for non-urgent talks, such as email or project management software because they know that not all discussions require synchronous communication. Teams may lessen the overall strain of meetings and give people more control over their calendars by embracing flexibility and enabling people to manage their time well.
Tip 8: Change your diet
Keeping a balanced diet is essential for preventing fatigue from virtual meetings. Proper eating promotes general health and gives you the vigor and concentration you need to get through long sessions. Here are four ways that a balanced diet might help prevent burnout in the workplace.
First, eating foods that are high in nutrients helps maintain cognitive function and brain health. Your body will get vital vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants if you choose a balanced diet full of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, and healthy fats. Thanks to these nutrients, you can stay focused and involved during virtual meetings, which also help with memory and concentration, lowering your risk of burnout.
A balanced diet also contributes to sustaining energy levels throughout the day by helping to maintain stable blood sugar levels. Lean proteins and complex carbs from whole grains, legumes, and veggies can give you a continuous energy supply. This lessens the mental tiredness brought on by burnout by preventing energy crashes and assisting you in maintaining focus and productivity throughout back-to-back sessions.
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