Monday 13th May 2024
Why in-person meetings are better for collaboration | Condeco

Effective collaboration is vital to any business. It helps teams work together towards their goals and promotes effective productivity. It can also make employees feel happier, more engaged, valued, and more loyal to the business.  

Effective collaboration | Condeco

Because of the pandemic, remote working has become far more commonplace, and virtual collaboration using tools like Microsoft Teams or Zoom has been normalized. But while this provides benefits from a functional perspective (and is a big part of enabling the flexible work that’s so important now), in many cases, it can’t replace the nuance and creativity that can only be found when people collaborate in person.  

In this blog, we’ll explore where virtual collaboration could hold businesses back and the most important factors to getting face-to-face meetings right in a world of flexible work. 

8 reasons why in-person meetings are better

Firstly, virtual collaboration has merits in the right circumstances. If a meeting is going to be more formal, with a highly structured agenda and only a small number of people doing most of the talking, then there’s no real practical difference between staging it in person or remotely.  

However, virtual participation struggles to make the grade when it comes to meetings that are more fluid, more creatively focused, or where large numbers of employees are going to play an active role. There are eight main reasons why this is the case: 

Why in-person meetings are better | Condeco

  • Body language: In virtual meetings, you generally only see the person’s head, neck, and shoulders. You can’t usually see their hands or any other movements they may be making with their bodies. Not understanding this body language makes it much harder to understand any emotion, feeling, or context behind what is being said. 
  • Stilted conversations: Anyone in a virtual meeting will understand the frustration of too many people talking simultaneously or the awkward silence when nobody knows who can speak next. This conversational flow is much easier to adjust when everyone can see each other in a room, not as a bank of thumbnails on a screen. 
  • Technical mishaps: Whether it’s unreliable internet connections, problems getting everyone logged on, or even simple human mistakes like forgetting to come off mute, all sorts of tech-related problems simply don’t exist in physical meetings. 
  • External distractions: E very remote employee’s home working environment will be different, and there are practically limitless distractions that can divert their attention: partners, children, pets, visitors at the front door, background noise, and much more. 
  • Builds loyalty and trust: Employees can quickly feel isolated when working remotely and shut off face-to-face contact for long periods. In-person meetings keep them engaged and connected with their team and with your wider workforce, building a better relationship. 
  • Face to face can be more productive: Working together in person removes the rigidity of communicating through emails or video calls. Workers who can see and talk to each other will find it easier to streamline their communications and collectively innovate to develop new ideas. 
  • Easier to focus: When different teams work together (for example, Marketing and Sales), doing this in meeting rooms is much more straightforward than on large-scale video calls. Office-based work helps teams stay functional and aligned with the work of others. 
  • Address sensitive issues: By putting the correct measures around scheduling, social distancing, sanitization, and contact tracing in place, you can not only safeguard employees’ physical health but also improve their mental and emotional health by giving them the confidence to return to work safely. 

How to get in-person meetings right

Despite the potential limitations of virtual meetings, ensuring in-person collaboration runs smoothly means much more than just bringing everyone into a meeting room. The ideal setting and environment for an in-person meeting will vary depending on the people involved, the content, and the intended outcomes. To ensure that meeting organizers get this right every time, they should be given as much flexibility as possible in three areas: 

How to get in-person meetings right | Condeco

  • Type of meeting space: Companies should explore different specifications and meeting spaces to maximize the choices available for different meetings. These could include large conferencing rooms, smaller enclosed meeting spaces, and informal breakout zones with more comfortable seating where employees can feel more relaxed. 
  • Ease of space access: Searching and booking these workspaces should be as quick and easy as possible. Ideally, organizers would have access to a workspace booking platform where they can check the availability and details of a workspace, check the availability of attendees, and book at the appointed time in a matter of moments. 
  • Booking of equipment and services: At the same time as booking the workspace, organizers should be able to reserve any related equipment or services that can make the meeting even better. This could include audiovisual kits like large monitors for presentations or even catering if a meeting occurs over breakfast or lunch. 

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