Employers who have already based their systems on the cloud can react more flexibly here and keep day-to-day operations running smoothly, while others are annoyed that they did not react earlier and now have to reckon with considerable staff losses.
Everyday work on the computer or another device remains unchanged – whether you are sitting in the office or at home. What changes, however, are those interactions that would otherwise take place personally. This is where video conferencing comes in.
Many providers of these solutions have already reacted to the situation. For example, Google Cloud offers its G Suite customers free access to all functions of its video conference solution Meet for a period of 3 months. However, with the use of these systems, the way of working also has to be adapted, since only two of our senses, hearing and sight, are available to us – and that is also partially limited.
So what are the main points that distinguish a regular meeting and a video conference? What should you pay particular attention to if you don’t want productivity to suffer?
You don’t have to worry about having dedicated software on your device with Google Meet, as all you need is an internet connection and a browser. External users who do not have a Google account themselves can also dial in without any problems.
In addition, it is more the little things that make you stand: the source of voice input and output via computer or headset, sufficient internet connection and power supply, setting of the computer-integrated camera or webcam. All of these are just short steps, but can cost a lot of time at the beginning of a video conference.
And so we come straight to our next point: punctuality. Although this is also a prerequisite for a normal meeting, it is even more important in the context of a video conference. Make sure to appear in the video conference in good time – with appropriately tested technical settings. While you saw one of the missing colleagues in the office on the way to the kitchen to get yourself a coffee, in a video conference you can’t say for sure who of the participants will actually be present. Waiting for colleagues who are too late costs everyone involved unnecessarily time. If you – even at short notice – cannot attend a scheduled appointment at all, take the few seconds to cancel it so that the others are informed.
As mentioned earlier, there are fewer senses available to us. To do this, we don’t look our meeting partners in the face, but rather at a screen on which proper eye contact cannot be established and which often gives the impression that one is looking past each other. It has been proven that it is much more difficult to maintain attention over a longer period of time.
A clear structure is crucial here. Documents and information that are important for preparing for the video conference should always be provided in advance so that everyone can provide targeted input. Anyone who uses G Suite knows that the link to join a meet is in the corresponding calendar date. Here, for example, it is advisable to link documents related to the appointment in the description text below so that everyone can access them.
In addition, it should be clear before the appointment who will moderate it and which participant has to make which contribution. The content should be limited to the essentials and thus a minimum. It is also important to express yourself linguistically in the simplest possible language and short sentences and, at the end, to summarize it again in one sentence. We all know that the internet connection can be unstable at times, or the technology is otherwise not always 100% reliable. These disturbances of a few seconds can be bridged better and gaps are logically better filled if content is not unnecessarily exaggerated.
With the points mentioned in the structure and the clear distribution of tasks, you should at least once be able to avoid participants in this video conference becoming victims of multitasking, i.e. doing other work or answering e-mails on the side.
This is not only due to the dwindling concentration. Often there are far too many participants in video conferences, some of whom are out of place, notice this and do other things on the side. You should save yourself this inefficiency and only invite people who can make a productive contribution.
This also results in two different approaches to a video conference: productive vs. informative. If something is to be discussed or decided, the number of participants must be kept very low so that everyone has enough time to express their opinion. This is not possible in large groups. A video conference with more people should only be set up when a person wants to announce something or provide information about something. Otherwise it is more advisable to simply pass on small-scale decisions later in writing.
Regardless of all of this, it is of course important that all participants – especially within the company – have a common technical solution and also master it. If you would like to learn more about G Suite and Google Meet, or if you need individual training in how to use it, please do not hesitate to contact us!