The coronavirus pandemic has changed the way we all work. Global Workplace Analytics estimates that almost 30% of the workforce will continue working from home — at least multiple days a week — until the end of 2021. For most employees, that means learning to not only work remotely but stay connected with our co-workers without seeing them face-to-face for months.
Most employers have found that the best way to create structure and keep employees connected is through online meetings, like Meeting Pulse.
Find out how you can help your workforce avoid online meeting burnout, stay on track, and get work done under these new and often stressful circumstances.
Online Meetings Galore
Harvard Business Review recently surveyed 182 senior managers in a variety of industries and found that — surprise — they felt that an overabundance of meetings was getting in their way. 65% said meetings kept them from completing work, 71% said meetings are unproductive, and 62% said meetings don’t bring teams closer together.
Organizations spend over 15% of their time in meetings. With so much time wasted on meetings, over 90% of employees end up multi-tasking during meetings, looking at emails, and getting other work done.
Yikes. So should we stop holding meetings? No, not at all! In fact, meetings are definitely still important. You just need to find a way to avoid meeting burnout. Luckily, we have a lot of advice to keep your team from dreading online meetings.
But first, what are the side effects of too many meetings?
Not a lot of people have a home equipped for eight-hour work shifts. Being curled up on the couch or sitting on the bed can be comfy and cozy at first, but eventually lead to back pain and discomfort when sitting at a computer for long periods of time.
Employees’ eyes are another concern. Blue light from computer, phone, and tablet screens can cause eye strain over time. This causes blurry vision over time. In some rare cases it can ultimately lead to retina damage. To avoid this side effect, people have turned to computer glasses, anti-reflective lenses, and filters.
For many employees, the meeting isn’t the beginning. Most people admit to preparing for a few hours before meetings, whether it’s notes, a presentation, questions, or work. Not having that time to dedicate to their projects or work that’s approaching a deadline can lead to a lot of emotional distress. It’s no surprise that people can’t pay attention at meetings when they have to keep thinking of all the work they could be getting done if they weren’t stuck on Zoom.
When COVID-19 lockdowns and quarantine measures were put into place, a lot of people instantly became worried about how they’d cope without seeing their friends, family, and coworkers.
But over time, social distancing and isolation have become the “new normal.” While people still want time to talk with their coworkers and discuss projects face-to-face, too many meetings can make people feel pressured to socialize and communicate beyond their capacity.
Tips to Avoid Online Meeting Burnout
While employers are definitely concerned about these side effects of excessive online meetings, they know that meetings still need to happen. So how do you go about online meetings while still ensuring that everyone is focused, productive, and not stressed out?
When putting together your presentation, consider how you can communicate the meeting goals clearly and efficiently. Have an agenda ready that you can share with everyone prior to the meeting so attendees know what to expect. This also allows other employees to prepare for the meeting properly.
On your end, you want to decide what accompanying material you’ll want to implement during the meeting. Having visual aids and interactive elements will ensure that attendees are engaged and interested. Tools like MeetingPulse engage your attendees before and during the meeting.
Create a Space Specifically for Meetings
When you’re just sitting on a couch with your dog or watching Netflix on your bed, it’s quite easy to become distracted during online meetings. To get in the zone for meetings and get the most out of the interaction, create a space you use specifically for work and meetings. Create a small nook in your bedroom that’s designated for online meetings, or create a workspace free of televisions and family members.
Use Your Phone to Call into Some Meetings
Most online video conference tools allow you to either join by computer or just dial in on your phone. If your job is holding a lot of meetings, some of which you feel could just be done through a simple message or quick phone call, try joining from your phone. This will keep you from feeling too burnt out, giving you a break from having to sit in the same seat and stare at your monitor over and over again.
Don’t Schedule Back to Back Meetings
When employers get too meeting-happy, meetings start to overlap with each other. There’s just not enough time in the day to schedule multiple hour-long meetings. If you are the one creating the meetings, talk with employees about their schedule to make sure nobody has multiple meetings in a row.
If you’re an employee attending these meetings, reach out to your boss to discuss a new meeting schedule that still allows you to be productive. Scheduling online meetings might be a new thing for them and they’re unaware how much of an impact they are having on employees.
Take a Break from Your Screen
After a meeting, take a break from your screen, even if you still have work to do. Even if it’s just for a few minutes, step away from your computer to sit on your bed and read, lay down and listen to music, or sit outside and get some fresh air. Just like you would at the office, you need to take some time to move around, change scenery, and get a new perspective.
Keep Everyone Involved and Engaged
As we noted earlier, most people feel that meetings are unproductive and don’t lead to teams feeling any closer. The best way to make meetings feel like a success is by implementing opportunities for all attendees to feel involved and appreciated.
Meeting Pulse provides various tools to keep everyone engaged, including live polling and surveys. This allows everyone to quickly and efficiently make their voice heard on a variety of topics brought up in the meeting. For employers, this is valuable feedback that they can implement almost immediately. We also have live Q&A sessions, which are the perfect way to end any company meeting, along with raffles and prizes.
Let Us Help with Your Next Online Meeting
Meetings are necessary. You can’t avoid scheduling a few meetings here and there. But employees — and managers — have made it clear that they don’t like meetings at all. Luckily you can make online meetings meaningful with Meeting Pulse, ensuring that meetings feel productive, fun, and meaningful. Contact us today to find out how we can help you avoid online meeting burnout.