Since the start of the global coronavirus pandemic, much of the world's workforce has moved online. In-person meetings were rapidly replaced with conference calls that required virtual meeting etiquette.

As businesses began to adapt to a new normal, it became clear that the real challenge would be how to make meetings efficient and productive. Working from home has helped create a more relaxed daily schedule with no more commutes to and from the office. But for businesses, especially those that have had to shift their operations or pivot completely, making sure all teams are working to their full potential requires a bit of extra effort.

So what can your business do to make meetings more productive?

Here are a few tips for virtual meetings to help you increase productivity in the online workplace.

Virtual Meeting Etiquette Guidelines

Create Ritual

You never know what's happening in the minutes before employees log in to a virtual meeting. Between homeschooling and adapting to new workplace norms, it's important to bring everyone together at the beginning of a meeting to help the team be fully present and productive. This can be done by playing icebreaker games or creating a collective ritual that requires everyone to participate. Taking this moment to check-in and connect as a team is key to setting the tone and diving into the task at hand.

Set an Agenda

Keeping meetings focused and structured by having an agenda is essential for effective virtual meetings. If possible, provide all attendees with the agenda beforehand and allow them to suggest topics or issues that they believe need to be added.

The meeting agenda is an important component of in-person meetings but is even more crucial to virtual meetings because it centers everyone on the call, helps them stay focused on the task at hand, and provides a visual guide as an anchor.

It's also helpful to have a moderator who keeps the meeting moving along as planned and that people can look to for direction. One way to encourage participation and keep people engaged is to rotate the role of moderator among team members. By doing this, more participants will be encouraged to speak, practice virtual etiquette, and be present for their colleagues.

Be Consistent

Virtual meeting best practices include consistency. Having meetings at the same time each day or week sets a predictable schedule that then becomes routine, just as if employees were in the office together. It helps provide additional structure to the virtual workday and allows employees to be prepared. Consider holding meetings either in the morning so that everyone can set objectives for the day or at the end of the day so that team members can recap what's been done.

Use Business Driven Conference Solutions

Communication and connectivity problems can hinder productivity, but using quality conference software can help with audio quality, latency, and video delay. Using software solutions with up-to-date security features and built to handle multiple participants can help meetings run smoothly. 8x8 videoconferencing is easy to use and integrates with both Google and Microsoft calendars. Save meetings in the cloud for team members that may not be present, and live stream on YouTube for unlimited participants. Learn more about how 8x8 is pioneering creative solutions to help teams collaborate and work more effectively.