Virtual Reality – communication is key
Working anywhere but the office is taking off but communcation remains the key to successful transition. Managing remote and virtual works and running virtual meetings is becoming an important competency for managers. The trouble often is that few are being taught this vital skill. It is something managers and co-works are picking up on their own through trial and error.
This is a problem because as companies become leaner, the virtual worker will become more prevalent. More will be providing their services from home or from a separate office location even the beach. With leaner offices and more workers owning mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones, remote working will become a lot easier and more common. Gone is the need for massive big office space for many industries.
This market is booming and so is the video conferencing market with over 28% growth from 2010 and more companies cut travel costs and tighten budgets. This market is said to be worth $700M by 2018 in Australia.
The problem is remote and virtual workers often complain they have been left out of the loop and managers moan about a lack of communication. So how do managers handle the remote and virtual workforce? How do you run a virtual meeting? Successful virtual meetings takes a careful management skill set. Teleconferencing works best when there is a firm agenda, papers are circulated in advance, clear decisions and expectations are followed up and there are minimal side discussions or distractions.
Companies need to ensure they have the best technology; while it may cost, it creates more effective meetings that bring more people together. That’s the return on investment not to mention saving time and money on travel.
Any side conversions need to mute themselves when conducting internal discussions to avoid distracting the others and keep the focus. The ability to scan what everyone is doing during the video conference comes with experience.
Set some ground rules before you start teleconferencing or skype meetings:
- Log in 15 minutes early before the meeting because some items may need to be installed or viewed prior to meeting
- Be aware of background noise
- Make sure no one is multi-tasking or using their mobile phone, tablets or email
- Allocate tasks to different individuals such as a white board manager, minutes recorder, Q&A manager etc
- Each meeting should start with five minutes of people taking turns and talking a little about what’s going on in their lives (personally or professionally). It breaks the ice and brings people closer together across cyberspace.
So enjoy the new virtual reality of business but remember the key to success is all about the communication.