"Meeting"​ your coworkers for the first time: Three tips for your first Working-From-Home meeting

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Microsoft

 

Yep, it's happening. Professionals everywhere are beginning a journey into a remote working-from-home (WFH) culture after years of working primarily in-the-office. For many, it may take some time to adjust to the idea of only interacting with their co-workers thru email, chats and computer screens.

 

One of the biggest changes will be the shift from having team meetings in the conference room down the hall, to having virtual meetings using a conferencing tool like Microsoft Teams, Skype or others. But to help make that transition a little smoother, here are three tips to think about during that first WFH team meeting:

 

#1 - Be aware of your mute button

 

You may be surprised to find that there are some folks who tend to get passionate about the topic of "mute button" etiquette. (including this guy I know who looks just like me that even recently posted on LinkedIn about it) It can be very distracting when you're trying to have a productive meeting, only to be distracted by the loud background noise (or worse, conversation) of someone who forgot to hit their mute button. In short - don't be that person. Stay on mute as much as you can when you're not speaking to help the overall call quality of the meeting. In fact, tools like Microsoft Teams even help you here, by recognizing when you're joining an in-progress meeting with a bunch of people in it, and turning Mute on automatically before you enter.

 

This of course is even more important when WFH'ing, because there are likely a lot more potentially awkward background noises in your home than in the office.

 

#2 - Turn on your camera

 

I get it - being on camera is as weird as hearing your own voice on a recording. But remember that, in this case, everyone on your team is already extremely familiar with how you look [for better or worse]. :) So turn it on so that you can leverage some of the benefits of using video in a virtual meeting:

 

  • your body language, so important in effective communication, can be seen
  • you're more likely to stay engaged, as you would in an in-person meeting, knowing that everyone can see you (there's a strong temptation to multi-task and half-listen during these meetings)
  • when you inevitably forget Tip #1, your coworkers are able to help remind you to come off mute much faster when they see your lips moving yet hearing nothing

 

#3 - Plan to end early

 

One of the best tips that MyAnalytics gave me after analyzing my meeting history was the suggestion to make my meetings 45 minutes instead of the typical 1 hour. This is good because it recognizes that so many of our meetings run longer than we anticipated. And while we no longer have to plan for walking-to-the-next-meeting-room time now that we're WFH'ing, we still could use a break between meetings to take notes, collect our thoughts, or maybe just to handle some.... pressing biological needs. Help keep your coworkers from having back-to-back meetings all day - they'll thank you for it.

 

Whether your new working situation is temporary or permanent, these tips should come in handy to help make your virtual meeting experience a little more productive, and maybe even fun.

 

1 Reply

@Ricardo Wilkins

 

Hi Ricardo,

 

I really like these tips and I would like to add two new features on Microsoft Teams meetings that for me are excellent features:

Background hides feature:

https://support.office.com/en-us/article/blur-your-background-in-a-teams-meeting-f77a2381-443a-499d-... 

And live captions:

https://support.office.com/en-us/article/use-live-captions-in-a-teams-meeting-4be2d304-f675-4b57-834...

 

I hope everyone are safe and healthy!