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Uncommon remote working tip: Don’t be so efficient during meetings

If you’re a stickler about meeting topics, you’re hurting the remote workers on your team.

Blasphemy? Maybe.

Read on for 2 changes in your meetings to engage and include your remote workers.

Meetings are already a waste of time, why wouldn’t you want to minimize the time we are all stuck on one?

I’ve been doing the remote work thing for over a decade. Bear with me on this one.

1. Expect and accept small talk

It’s important to remember that remote workers don’t have the luxury of water-cooler talk. There’s no direct equivalent to chatting with someone in the hall.

Zoom meetings are one of their few human-focused, face-to-face interactions.

Even remote workers need an opportunity for small talk.

To build camaraderie, you need unstructured conversation. By allowing, and expecting, this to occur in your meetings you empower team bonding.

2. When the conversation diverges, give it a chance

And let’s not forget the benefits of serendipity.

Sometimes an unexpected topic comes up. With devs, it’s usually a bug, feature, or design decision. The original conversation prompted someone to pivot.

Allow that pivot. Let the conversation flow.

This isn’t an endorsement for derailing every meeting, dodging the original topics, or dragging things out to the detriment of everyone on the call.

It is a call for intentionality in allowing the team to interact, in a human-centric way.

With their voices, expressions, and emotion. All those things missing from Slack (regardless of how many emojis you use).

TLDR;

  1. Expect and accept small talk
  2. When the conversation diverges, give it a chance

Making these two changes to your meeting will give your remote workers a chance to bond with the rest of the team.

Don’t deny them that.

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