May 15 2020 Courtney Livingston Blog Workplace Culture Working From Home 101: Virtual Team Meetings Hello! Courtney Livingston here, Senior Product Designer at Centro. I hope you’re finding fun and interesting ways to stay connected with friends, family, co-workers, and your communities in these strange times. I’m here to share what I’ve learned about optimizing virtual meetings with your team when working remotely. Here are my top tips! Include an agenda and goals in the invite Before scheduling a meeting, add a high-level agenda and what you hope to get out of the meeting. This allows others to prepare ahead of time with questions, talking points, or artifacts that may be beneficial for the discussion. If you didn’t schedule the meeting, familiarize yourself with the agenda and goals so you can fully participate. Allocate time for connecting with your team at the beginning/end of calls Without being in the same physical space, you miss out on running into people in the kitchen or grabbing an impromptu coffee. So plan for that time in your meetings and throughout the day. Be present I have this tattooed on my forearm as a general reminder, but it works for meetings too. If you are taking the time to be part of a meeting, really be there. I flip my phone over or put it in another room to keep myself from mindlessly opening and scrolling. Join on time or let your colleagues know if you are running late. It doesn’t have to be all business—schedule in time to virtually hang out with co-workers I’ve seen many people at Centro, and around the world, taking part in virtual lunches and happy hours. Try adding in one of those to your team’s schedule. Have patience with yourself and others Sometimes the wifi is spotty or you are still connected to a Bluetooth headset in another room. No one wants to feel like they are the ones holding up a meeting, so have compassion for yourself and others when technical difficulties arise, because they will and probably already have. But enough from me—here’s what a few of my coworkers had to say! “Have someone lead and direct the conversation as much as possible. If it’s a ‘stand’ meeting, specifically ask someone to go next, so that everyone doesn’t try to speak at the same time.” – Ben Smith “Muting your phone or computer is your best friend. This shouldn’t be any different than in the office. No one wants to hear your roommates/dogs/dishwasher.” – Christine Lundell “Have fun! Take a moment to ask how everyone is doing. Share any difficulties you are having—your team is there to help.” – David Lempp Interested in joining our team? Check out our careers page.