Tips for SMEs Working Remotely During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Tip 1: How to Run Effective Virtual Meetings
In this time of crisis, it’s more important than ever to have meetings that are short, impactful and technically sound. Believe it or not in-person meetings are rife with daydreaming, email checking, internet surfing etc. These distractions are much more extreme when your team is remote and especially if the meeting is audio-only. So plan for it. Here are some tips:-
- Make sure that all the attendees that need to be there are present.
- Circulate the meeting agenda in advance and stick to it.
- It may seem counter-intuitive, but spend a few minutes at the outset socializing. This will engage the group and afford members who are still trying to connect, some extra time to join the session.
- Expect that attendees may lose focus. If you need to call on someone who hasn’t been speaking, provide a lead-in, use their name (that’s always an attention-getter!)
- Offer a recap of the last 10 seconds of the conversation as a transition
Tip 2: Managing your Bandwidth
With the COVID 19 pandemic, many employees have suddenly started working remotely and have not built up their Wi-Fi environment. Those who have, now find themselves sharing Wi-Fi with others who are working or playing at the same location. This has strained home networks and telephone networks in general. As a result it results in many cases to time outs, buffering and dropped connections. Many mobile towers in residential neighborhoods are overburdened by the sudden shift to Wi-Fi. If you or your co-workers are experiencing connectivity issues, keep your bandwidth usage low by :-
- Disabling inbound and outbound video
- If you can, keep a secondary device handy (one that you’ve prepared before your meeting), because most conferencing tools work on phones and tablets as well.
- If you’re setting up a meeting, always include a call-in number so participants with Internet challenges can phone in.
- If you’re attending a meeting, find the call-in number and have your phone ready so you can quickly switch to your backup device if you’re dropped from the meeting on your primary device
Tip 3: Maintaining your Workday
Remote work often takes on a slightly different schedule than a typical office day. People may start work earlier, as they do not have a commute to the office to contend with. Here are tips on maintaining a regular work day:-
- Some staff may have interruptions at certain points in the day (such as the children needing attention or other family matters) and need the flexibility to start and stop work.
- Agree on core hours as a team, or share individuals’ core hours so everyone is in the loop on availability.
- Current closures mean your employees have increased responsibilities at home, so it’s important to be flexible
These practical tips, should help you to run more efficient virtual meetings, while working remotely from home.