Team meetings are a great way to get together, however, online team meetings have become exhausting, with commentators noting symptoms like eye fatigue, online exhaustion, zoom burnout, lack of real connection, biases, stilted conversations and often meetings running into another. This article will outline the best 6 top tips to guide a hybrid meeting that will improve your teams’ wellbeing and create successful hybrid meetings.
Organisations are aware that all meetings will include a hybrid presence, this means that there will be a remote aspect to meetings.
Over the last few years, technology has improved to facilitate hybrid meetings effectively, now however the focus has shifted to emphasising how can meeting leaders make these meetings more collaborative and less exhausting to ensure a successful meeting that is on point and connects the team.
Successful Hybrid Meetings
Hybrid working across different sites has meant less personal interaction and more virtual interaction. With the lack of face to face contact and less casual impromptu conversations, employees are also noting a huge increase in email communication which is creating increased workload, overwhelm and exhaustion. In order to reduce this stress and overwhelm, and then reduce the number of emails that employees are receiving – creating successful meetings that are efficient as well as considering the wellbeing of the team is vitally important in a hybrid world. Lessening the workload and improving connection and compatibility will ensure stronger mental health resilience.
In a recent roundtable conversation that I hosted, it was agreed that hybrid meetings need 3 core elements to be successful.
The elements that will ensure a successful hybrid meeting include:
- a coaching conversation style from the meeting organiser,
- a deep sense of connection with others in the team
- and a feeling of collaboration.
Ensuring every meeting whether in person or online is collaborative, connective and concise will mean that the meeting will create purpose and attendees will feel the value of the meeting. If you are interested in reading the full report you can download the full report here: A Coaching Approach To Management In The Financial Profession
The full Whitepaper report is based on a roundtable discussion with major financial services companies at the end of last year. The full report on how coaching improves engagement and trust in a hybrid environment is available here Whitepaper full report download here
Hybrid working with ‘intentional’ meetings
How to organise effective hybrid meetings
With the increase in online training and meetings, there is a need to ensure that online interaction is reduced and relevant to the participants to ensure that they are valuable and useful.
Creating meetings that are succinct and relevant with a clear agenda is important. Sticking to that agenda throughout the meeting will ensure a focused meeting and will reduce subsequent emails so that the workday is more productive is essential.
Increased emails are one of the biggest issues that are contributing to anxiety, overwhelm and burnout in many key performers, I have outlined some of the major concerns of mental issues in another article. If you would like to read more about this, this article will help and provide some more detailed insights What is the true mental health cost of hybrid working for your employees?
Top tips for great hybrid meetings with a wellbeing focus
Below are 6 of the best top tips for ensuring that your teams’ meetings are well attended, productive and also include space for collaboration and connection so that each member of your team feels included and cared for.
1. Agenda and Clarity
To begin with, ensuring that all attendees are aware of the purpose of the meeting will ensure a great start. Setting an agenda and sticking to it will mean that online fatigue will be kept to a minimum and requires steering and a nominated attendee holding the meeting accountable to the agenda.
- Ensuring that all attendees are clear on the timing, as well as the agenda of the meeting means that all attendees will feel comfortable and well prepared for the meeting ahead.
- Ensuring that everyone has a copy of the agenda will mean that the meeting members are prepared, and informed ahead of time and will be less likely to become anxious and allocate enough time in their diary, thereby ensuring that they are more relaxed and that their wellbeing needs are met.
- Setting an agenda, and sticking to the scheduled timings will also help with ‘online zooming out’ issues.
2. Split meeting into ‘task’ and ‘collaboration’
With the impact of hybrid working, many individuals are missing the camaraderie of the office. Ensuring that every meeting has an element of wellbeing check-in will improve the feeling of connection.
Including a wellbeing aspect to every meeting can be implemented by
- Opening the meeting chat room 15mins before the start of the meeting will mean that everybody has the chance to say hello informally and feel more relaxed before the meeting begins.
- Ask a question in the chatbox, about the weekend or non-work related activities
- Add in a conversation starter, or fun fact that will start the conversation
- Using leadership coaching skills to assess team members’ wellbeing by asking open-ended and curious questions.
- Setting the meeting up in this way will ensure a smooth and effective transition into the main points of the meeting
Be clear about the point of the meeting – allocating time for ‘tasks’ that need to be addressed and allocating time for ‘collaboration’ in the agenda meeting.
Whilst it may not be possible for every meeting to have a wellbeing meeting then make it known that this is a ‘task’ meeting and that other ‘collaboration’ events will be established. Establishing clear boundaries and acknowledging that a separate collaborative meeting will be held, which is separate from the main task event.
Setting up another separate meeting that is simply for collaboration and connection time, will mean that other meetings will be more effective.
3. Collaborative and Inclusive hybrid meetings
Since there are a number of communication channels in a hybrid meeting, it is important that either the team meeting leader – or a nominated member – check-ins and converses with those in the room, and online as well as checking the chatbox. This will mean that those team members who are more reluctant to speak up in this new environment – will be included.
It is agreed that hybrid meetings will need a stronger emphasis on inclusivity. This can be achieved in a number of ways, including
- Check-in with open-ended questions
- Ask questions and nominate a team member to check responses in all communication channels
- Use the chatbox and loop back to check in with those that haven’t spoken up in the meeting.
- Ensure that everyone has an opportunity to speak
- Enable speakers to finish their points and share without being interrupted.
- As the meeting leader feel free to stop those that persistently overtalk others, and thank those with strong opinions and ask others for their input. In a hybrid environment, it is vital that one voice doesn’t dominate the conversation.
4. Cameras on upper body
A quick tip that will help reduce online fatigue and increase that feeling of connection is to ensure that all cameras show not just the head of the speakers and attendees, but their entire upper body.
Research has shown that the loss of body language and other non-verbal cues has meant that attention spans are reduced and fatigue is increased.
Positioning cameras so that participants can see the top half of the body will improve connection with other members of the team, as well as reduce eye fatigue. Participants online are attempting to replicate an in-person event, by trying to ‘stare’ and make eye contact with everyone, which is exhausting.
In time technological advances will help this, a virtual team meeting with headsets will allow attendees to relax their eyes and become more relaxed in their virtual setting as if it was in the ‘real’ world.
I’d be interested to know what technologies you have introduced into your organisation that have helped with connection and improved wellbeing of your team? Drop me a line and let me know.
Communicating the expectations of the hybrid meeting is important. Outlining meeting expectations to all members is vital so that all members are clear on their own responsibilities and loop back on how they are going to feedback their comments, in a way that feels comfortable to them.
Team connection is further improved when it includes a collaborative meeting check-in, which will improve wellbeing and resiliency. Keeping the meeting on track and ensuring that each member knows their role and allocating smaller roles within the team so that the burden of responsibility doesn’t rest simply with one department or manager.
As the team meeting leader ensure that you check in and converse with those in the room, online verbally and check the chatbox for those team members who are more reluctant to speak up in this new environment.
Improving communication and addressing the wellbeing needs of each team member can be improved with a Resilient Wellbeing Strategy If you would like to create an in-depth wellbeing strategy that goes that stage further click here to read: How to Build Resilience in the Workplace: The Ultimate Guide
6. Hybrid Leadership Coaching Style
A change in leadership style is required in a hybrid meeting, to ensure strong team collaboration and mental wellbeing. Adopting leadership styles that work well in this long chain of connection and this adaptation takes time. Leadership skills and tools that can assess team members’ wellbeing needs requires a coaching management style rather than a directive task-orientated approach.
A coaching management style will end the meeting well, acknowledge and summarising the agreed points, outlining a clear pathway forward so that everybody understands their role after the meeting
In a coaching style, asking the team how the meeting can be improved for next time, will ensure that all team members feel included and have an invested interest in finding a workable solution
What leadership qualities are required to lead a hybrid team?
Leadership qualities are changing requirements in hybrid working teams. In a remote working environment, it is no longer suitable to use a directive approach or command and control to produce results.
This style of micromanaging is not sustainable for managers. Working away from the office or having members not in the office means that more flexibility and autonomy is required for the individual to find their own solutions and feel supported in doing that.
If you’d like to read more this article will help The 6 leadership skills that are essential for hybrid working
Managers are aware that it takes more effort to connect with team members in this way but over a longer time period, it will reduce presenteeism and increase team productivity.
Creating a Resilient Wellbeing Strategy that includes a coaching leadership style that will support managers and allow employees to be more expressively will mean that organisations will be able to retain staff – if you are looking for a simple Guide on how to create your organisations’ Wellbeing Strategy then this will be the perfect place to start click here and download your free Guide to creating your Resilient Wellbeing Strategy
To support organisations with hybrid performance issues and boost productivity contact Adele to co-create a Resilient Wellbeing Strategy that is bespoke to your organisation.
A strategy that will include personalised wellbeing training as well as coaching sessions that develop personal and professional growth for the individual and a strong proactive, solution finding, organisational culture for your business.
If your organisation is looking to incorporate a Wellbeing Strategy that has a coaching programme at the heart and you would like to investigate the opportunities that Wellbeing coaching can offer please email me to discuss your organisational requirements or book an appointment straight in my diary