Collaborating remotely on work tasks increases productivity

How to ensure pleasant and efficient video meetings

Disruption also creates opportunities. With the Covid-19 forcing teams to work remotely we have an opportunity to develop and improve how we conduct pleasant and productive video meetings. In EGGS we are using our strategies, digital tools and long-term experience collaborating across five offices to maintain momentum with our clients. We encourage you to use this opportunity with your teams to learn a new way of working to ensure that threats like the coronavirus don’t get in the way for your business goals.

Perform with brilliance

Here we share with you our tips and tricks in EGGS Design for how to utilise video for running smaller meetings with three to five participants, larger workshops with up to twenty participants and user-insight work in one-to-one online interviews. With the right rig, preparations and facilitation co-creation in video meetings will be both energising and productive. For us, in EGGS Design, it is all about maintaining our high standards for collaboration, creativity, and outcomes in our teams with our clients.

Cater for informal, personal interactions

A common mistake in video meetings is to become too formal and task orientated. We want the participants to relax and feel comfortable. Bring the human into the session. Cater for personal interactions. Make room for a little bit of coffee-machine-talk at the beginning of the meeting. It preserves the sense of camaraderie and helps people feel comfortable in our meetings.

All team members logging in from their respective computers instead of in sitting in groups creates a better balance and better dynamics in a video meeting. Here our team at EGGS, four designers across four locations, collaborating on their creative work using the digital whiteboard Miro, for sharing in funds done for one of our banking clients.

Curious about what Miro is?

Miro is the visual collaboration platform, a type of digital whiteboard, with communication features so that you can communicate and collaborate remotely.

In this 4 minute video from Miro, staff in Miro cover the core functionality of the boards as well as the add-ons and templates available.

In another 2-minute video Miro explains real-time collaboration, asynchronous collaboration, and the basics of exporting.

(We're sharing about Miro because we love it so much. EGGS doesn't profit from recommending Miro.)

Geography is a thing – create the new normal

Make the fact that you are all on video a topic of the meeting. Don’t pretend everything is normal. Let your participants share where they are working from. Orient each other if you have background distractions or other situational factors that might be affecting you. Are you in a non-traditional workspace to shield yourself and ensure focus to the meeting? Please share it!

The start, the end, and the work in-between

Check-in by asking how the other participants are doing. Introduce everyone, let everyone state their name and purpose for joining the session. Likewise, end the meeting with a few minutes of checking out. Ensure that everyone shares shortly what they are taking with them from the meeting and what they’ll be working on till next time. Set a date for the next meeting.

For our client Bodø Smart City we put a lot of effort into how to make the participants feel comfortable. To help all the participants know who was in the meeting, we ensured that they all made a card presenting themselves in the digital whiteboard Miro. The short presentations contributed to a sense of community, the human touch, and that the participants knew a bit about the other people in the workshop.

Preparations are king

Uniting and aligning a large group of people across different organisations and departments, or just meeting your project team for a status meeting is fruitful when the session has been planned properly. Share the plan, schedule and exercises (applying the chosen co-collaboration tools) upfront so that all the participants come prepared and are well acquainted with the format, content and tools.

Spell out the roles and responsibilities. Keep all the participants in mind. Identify and prepare a local host at each location, both for technicalities and content.

Make sure the meetings aren’t too long. In EGGS we always aim for less than 2 hours. If more time is needed, we include 10-minute breaks and work-sessions. Here our friends in Bodø Smart City are doing individual exercises during the workshop.

Keep it short and to the point

Make sure the meetings aren’t too long. In EGGS we always aim for less than 2 hours. If more time is needed, we include 10-minute breaks and work-sessions.

When you are doing exercises or running breakout sessions use a digital count-down clock to ensure all locations check-in at the same time. Stick to the schedule and plan. If new topics arise, note them down in your collaboration tool for further discussions in future meetings.

For our client Bodø Smart City we ran an energetic kick-off workshop on video with 12 people from 5 organisations across 2 locations. The EGGS team represented here with Lena Sendstad, and Lisa Siegel was in Oslo while the Bodø team of 20+ people was in northern Norway. Our collaboration tool was Miro, a digital whiteboard.

Make face-to-face communication happen

Focus on human interactions. Show your face, look into the camera. We experience that when all team members log in individually from their respective computers, we achieve better dynamics and balance in the video meeting. We maintain eye contact and see all the participants faces equally. We become equals in the same virtual space.

Whenever you are not discussing what’s on a screen – un-share so you can see each other better. Establish a streamlined way for people to ask questions or comments using hand signals.

Master and use the technology

Technology makes the difference between good and bad meetings. Make sure the participants master the video-technology. During the meeting, mute yourself when you can. Leave short pauses between comments, to make sure that people are still connected. Don’t interrupt, listen attentively and wait for your turn to talk.

In EGGS we ran an interactive course in pitching with Rick Salmon. We were 11 people from 11 locations in the same digital room experiencing a combination of lectures, collaborating on pitches and sharing best practice. Here we are using the video provider Zoom.

Log on individually for better dynamics

Often it is better that everyone logs on individually from their respective computers than for some to sit in groups while others are alone. It creates a better balance and better dynamics in the meeting.

Tools for leading and conducting good digital meetings

  • Use Miro as a digital whiteboard

  • Dropbox Paper for notes, task lists, plans, summaries

  • Are you talking with your users? Lookback is an excellent tool.

There are several video providers, several have free editions

  • Slack

  • Zoom

  • Office Teams

  • Whereby

  • Teams by Office - Teams is Office’s video service and comes as a part of the Office package so many of us have through our work.

Sounds interesting?

Let's talk to Director of Marketing & Communication

Eline Strøm-Gundersen

Eline Strøm-Gundersen
+47 971 05 580
Email

Get in touch with Creative Director Service Design

Lena Sendstad

Lena Sendstad
+47 932 82 811
Email

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