A Guide to the Virtual Meeting

A team of Microsoft researchers examined how employees were adjusting to the change to remote work. They discovered an unexpected data point. The Workers were arranging more 30-minute meetings than they ever had before. It contributed to a weekly meeting-time increase of 10%. This is unfavorable news. Meetings, according to the study, often reduce employee productivity and pleasure. It is time to reconsider virtual meetings.

A virtual conference is a type of collaboration method in which individuals from all over the world communicate via phone, video conferencing, and webinars.

The two charts below might help you and your team decide when, why, and how to meet. The first, an HBR classic, provides a decision tree with alternatives to schedule that block of time on the calendar.

This model was published in 2015. It provides the option for in-person meetings. While this may not work for a completely virtual team. It may be a possibility for hybrid or remote teams that meet in person on occasion.

When scheduling meetings, you must consider more than just availability. If your team is dispersed, you should think about the psychological impact of videoconferencing. According to Scott D. Anthony, Paul Cobban, Natalie Painchaud, and Andy Parker’s paper “3 Steps to Better Virtual Meetings,” workers can suffer from “video fatigue,” with reduced concentration levels after just 30 minutes of videoconferencing and greater stress after two hours.

Their remedies (or BEANs — behavior enablers, artifacts, and nudges) give a psychological reset for teams that are overburdened by virtual meetings.

We don’t suggest convening a meeting with your team to address this! Instead, we’ll take you to the top of the page and let you make your own decision. If you do decide to arrange that meeting, ask your team what they would like to see in an ideal meeting. Which BEAN will you serve at your next get-together?

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