We’re one month into 2021, and meetings still occupy about 15% of our time. As companies continue to work remotely or adjust to a hybrid model later this year, the time we spend on video meetings is unlikely to decrease. Our research shows that 55% of workers expect to be in the office for only two days a week following the pandemic, which underscores the importance of creating best practices for meeting productivity in 2021. To help my team and I stay on track, here are my 2021 meetings resolutions:
Prioritize meetings with your camera on.
For organizations adopting a video-first approach, it can be difficult to strike a balance between meetings with your video on vs. with it off. When participants use video at any point during a meeting, the length increases on average by 14 percent. However, because research has shown that senior executives spend more than two days a week in meetings, it’s important to avoid video call fatigue. To help combat video burnout, consider only using video for 1:1 conversations and large presentations, and turning video off for internal regroups and check-ins with more than three people.
Build in more breaks.
At Fuze, we encourage everyone to build “screen less” time into their day. Remote work has created an always-on and available culture, trampling the lines between the personal and professional. Take the time to look ahead at your calendar to schedule “off” time to have lunch, take a walk, listen to music or help kids with distance learning. Research shows that building in breaks throughout the day encourages creativity and boosts problem solving.
Turn virtual meetings into “real” experiences.
After many months, virtual meetings can become stale because they lack the human connection we all crave. For some, virtual meetings are the only time to connect face-to-face with team members. Early on at Fuze, we developed a remote-first culture around employee engagement while fostering strong team connections that create a sense of community. In meetings, we strive to keep things fun while remaining productive and encourage pre-meeting water cooler talk to mirror the experience of being in-office. When joining a video call, treat the conversation just as you would in-person by looking over the agenda, and preparing any notes or questions.
Schedule shorter meetings.
Research shows that a number of short meetings increase employee well-being compared to many longer ones. Typically, meetings are scheduled in 15 minute increments, with most being 30 minutes to one hour long. However, most teams can accomplish their meeting goals in less time than scheduled, as 25% of meetings are spent on irrelevant issues. By scheduling meetings for 20 or 40 minutes, it will enable teams to remain efficient and productive, and you’ll get more time back on your calendars.
Implement lessons learned and best practices from 2020.
At Fuze, we’ll continue to follow video best practices that proved to be successful in 2020, including:
- Remain on mute when not speaking to minimize background noise and disruptions.
- Avoid multitasking at all costs.
- Turn off / silence cell phones, group chats, and email to avoid distractions.
- Ensure lighting and background are appropriate. It’s best to be in a well lit room and in front of a blank or organized wall.
- Look into the camera when speaking rather than at the screen.
As the year continues, it’s important to remember to take time to do what is best for your mental health. Video fatigue is very real, and we are all trying to combat it as best we can.