More businesses today are allowing their employees to work from remote locations, either full time or part time. However, this doesn’t negate the need for holding meetings that involve these employees. With the help of Onstream Media's web conferencing tools, businesses are able to continue conducting those meetings, no matter where their employees are located.
The logistics of using audio or web conferencing for meetings with your employees who work remotely can be difficult, especially when you have multiple people who are out of the office. When you follow these conferencing tips for setting up a conference involving remote employees, you will increase the chances of having a successful meeting that keeps everyone involved.
Choose the Right Meeting Tool
There are many meeting tools that are available for businesses to use for web conferencing. However, not all of them are friendly to those who will be participating in a work meeting from a remote location. Therefore, it is up to you to make sure you choose the program that will work best for everyone. First of all, you want to cut back on the work the remote worker needs to do to participate. This means choosing software that doesn’t require any downloads and one that can be used on just about any Internet-capable device.
Another concern your remote employees may have is feeling as if they are isolated during the meeting, especially if there will a larger number of people attending the meeting in person. To help remote workers feel as if they are truly present, choosing web conferencing software that also allows for the use of a webcam is helpful. Talk to your remote employees to find out just what they want from their conferencing experience.
Offer Multiple Ways to Connect
Not everyone has access to the Internet at all times. They also may not always have access to a phone. For this reason, you need to make it easy for all your remote employees to connect to the conference at the perfect time. Some web conferencing tools allow people to connect either through the Internet or through a simple telephone call by integrating audio conferencing solutions. Allowing your employees to choose which one is easier for them will ensure more people are able to attend the meeting. Onstream provides users with a variety of these different solutions, all specifically tailored to help meet all of their conferencing needs. Always make sure you send a link to the online version, as well as the call-in number and passcode to each attendee.
Verify the Time
While some companies only hire remote workers who are in the local area, other companies have employees who work across the country or around the globe. You need to keep any time differences in mind when you are planning your audio conferencing. In addition to time zones, you should also check with each of your remote employees to ensure they have the availability to attend. The more attention you pay to the timing, the more likely you are to achieve maximum attendance.
Keep Everyone Informed
Nothing is worse than showing up for a meeting, even one via audio conferencing, only to find the time was changed and you weren’t notified. However, a lot can happen between the time at which the meeting was scheduled and when the meeting is held. If there are any changes to the time or the agenda, it is important to make sure you send an email to everyone who is involved in the meeting, especially those who work remotely. This will avoid any confusion.
Engage Your Remote Workers
One of the biggest potential problems with web conferencing as a way to meet with remote employees is the difficulty in keeping everyone engaged. When you are meeting with someone who is working from a remote location, he may already feel isolated. You need to work even harder to make sure you engage any remote employees during the course of the meeting so everyone feels involved and important to the meeting. You can best do this by asking questions that require an answer and asking for their input on the topic at hand directly.
Long meetings simply aren’t feasible when it comes to working with remote employees. These employees often work on slightly different schedules than the rest of your employees, making their time management different as well. If you are able to keep your conferencing meetings shorter, you will keep these employees more focused and increase the chances of a successful, productive meeting.
It is true there are times when you need to schedule a spontaneous meeting due to an issue that has come up or some other important reason. Your remote employees understand these emergency meetings. However, it can be best to make an effort to keep your audio conferencing meetings on a specific schedule whenever possible. When your remote employees are aware of when meetings typically take place, they will be able to make a better effort to keep their schedules cleared around these times so they will be free to attend.
Web and audio conferencing can be a great way for you to keep tabs on your remote employees, as well as to keep them involved, despite their remote location. If you follow these conferencing tips, you will be able to make attending these meetings easier for your remote employees, increasing the value everyone will obtain from them and improving your working relationships.