We’ve all had our experiences of good meetings – and our fair share of bad ones. But when it comes to staging a meeting that is meaningful, productive and collaborative, there are lots of different factors that must come together to make it happen.
Within your own organization, you may have a pretty good feel for how to maximize your meeting experience within your particular workforce. But with our ways of working being fundamentally changed by COVID-19, and with these new working practices likely to be with us for some time to come, it’s worth considering whether your strategy around workspace scheduling needs to change.
Here are the four key ingredients needed to perfect your meeting recipe:
Obviously you can’t run an effective meeting without people. But are those people able to learn from what’s being discussed and make a meaningful contribution? Or are they just bodies that are doing little more than make up the numbers?
It’s essential that everybody coming to a meeting is fully prepared.
That means having a clear view of the agenda, and having sufficient time in advance of the meeting to read up on any topics or materials that are relevant.
Of course, in busy day-to-day working lives, making this a reality can be much easier said than done, but a simple means of doing so is to block out 15 minutes immediately before the meeting starts as ‘rehearsal time’. That might not always give everyone all the facts they need by the time the meeting starts, but it will at least make it quicker to get them up to speed.
Whether it’s graphs on a flipchart, notes on a whiteboard or a PowerPoint presentation, it’s critical that everyone has access to all the information being shared and discussed throughout a meeting. When everyone is physically attending, this is relatively easy to do as everyone can see the resources for themselves or collect paper handouts. But at a time when more and more people are attending meetings virtually, are those connecting using video collaboration tools being left out?
When planning your meeting, make sure you consider how people will be participating and how they’ll be able to access your information.
One good practice will be to email every attendee after the meeting and share all the documentation that appeared on your shared video screen throughout.
The type of meeting space being used is often overlooked and makes far more of a difference than it may see. For example, too many people in a small space can make people feel uncomfortable at being in such close proximity. On the other hand, too few people spread out across a cavernous conference suite may force people to shout to get themselves heard, and make it harder for naturally quieter employees to contribute.
But as well as the size and layout of a space, how social distancing can be maintained also has to be considered as we move forward. As you get at least part of your workforce returning to the office, the capacities of your meeting spaces will have to be substantially reduced. Because of this, keeping people safely distant but close enough to effectively communicate will be a tricky but necessary balancing act.
Many businesses are moving towards a hybrid approach to post-pandemic working, whereby employees will have more flexibility in the days of the week in the office and the days they work remotely. Without careful management, it will be very difficult for everyone to keep track of who is working where and when, and whether or not they are available for meetings on certain days or at certain times.
This is where an integrated workspace reservation solution can come into play, by enabling social distancing in the workplace by controlling space and capacity to ensure employees are not exposed to risk:
- Aiding in reducing workspace density through the reduction of the number of usable desks and the capacity of meeting rooms
- Controlling space and capacity by limiting maximum number of people who can safely use each workspace and reduce available space by restricting the number of days an employee is able to book a desk in the office.
- Through office contact tracing technology, being able to react quickly to anyone who could potentially spread infection by tracking which employees have come into contact and where they’ve worked, so that appropriate isolation and sanitization measures can be enacted.
Above all, to answer the question of what makes a good meeting? The answer is all four of these ingredients working in unison; all bringing forth the components a successful organization needs to take into consideration.