COVID-19 had a dramatic impact on the lives of nearly everyone. Hundreds of thousands of employees were suddenly working from home. Plus, many saw their personal lives get incredibly complex, particularly those impacted by school closures or who found themselves having to directly care for family members in high-risk groups.
While telecommuting traditional came with productivity boosts, the unprecedented nature of the pandemic introduced distractions that weren’t present prior to the outbreak. Plus, safety concerns surrounding gathers meant that working from home wasn’t an occasional requirement; it was a permanent way of life, at least for a period. As a result, one critical part of the workplace paradigm fundamentally changed.
If you are wondering what major workplace change is likely to impact companies not just today, but well into 2021, here’s what you need to know.
How the Pandemic Changed the Meeting
For many companies, in-person meetings were a common occurrence. When ideas needed to be shared or guidance delivered en masse, leaders, and employees gathered into conference rooms.
Face-to-face meetings essentially disappeared as the pandemic spread across the country. Getting together in-person simply wasn’t safe, and, in some cases, large group gatherings were outright banned.
As a result, many companies shifted to virtual meetings. The hope was that these approaches could replicate the face-to-face experience. While it can, in many ways, this communication method comes with its own set of challenges. Connectivity issues can be disruptive, and it can be hard for participants to eliminate outside distractions.
Couple that with rising general stress levels and overall fatigue, and online meetings also became incredibly cumbersome. Dedicating a lot of time to gathering virtually quickly became draining, and hindered productivity for many.
This created an additional shift. Not only were meetings going online, but they were also being completely re-envisioned. At times, meetings were canceled outright, eliminating what was often perceived as a burden for team members. Those conversations found new homes, such as on message boards.
For the meetings that remained, streamlining became the priority. Participant lists were pared down dramatically, ensuring that only those who genuinely needed to be in attendance were invited. Additionally, agendas became more rigidly planned, increasing the odds that conversations remained focused and as brief as possible.
Adjusting to the New Normal
Companies that want to make sure that meetings remain productive need to adjust their approach. Burnout and fatigue are likely plaguing much of their workforce, and the situation is unlikely to resolve in the near future. Without adjustments, meetings will be viewed as an unnecessary burden or will actively prevent employees from handling their duties.
If a meeting is a necessity, keep it focused and short. Limit attendance to those who actually need to be involved in the conversation. For everyone else, send out a summary or overview in writing, ensuring they are aware of any decisions that impact them.
Additionally, try to keep the meeting to about 30 minutes. While one hour may have been typical before, it doesn’t work well in the current paradigm. By reducing the length, you encourage everyone to stick to the agenda, allowing everyone to get back to their workday as fast as possible.
If you’d like to learn more about how the pandemic has altered the workplace, the team at TempStaff can help. Contact us today.