Lots of people are having somewhat different working days now that more of us are working from home. At the same time, we all want to continue to deliver as normal. At Itera, we have extensive experience of working across international borders and I would like to share some tips here on how to run digital meetings and workshops.
Check out this blog post to learn more about how to succeed with distributed teams.
Day to day I am a senior interaction designer in one of the teams at Gjensidige, which is one of Itera’s largest customers. The tips in this blog post are inspired by the documentation I have written there on how we as a team should work on questions of design across countries and languages.
There are lots of good tools for keeping each other updated and resolving issues. Sometimes, however, the best thing to do is to hold a meeting. Here are 10 tips for meetings, regardless of the area in which you work:
- Ensure there is a clear purpose, a desired outcome and an agenda for every meeting.
- Plan for a few minutes to be spent on technical issues every time.
- Have a phone nearby so you can ring the other attendees in case technical problems crop up.
- Allocate some time to talking about subjects that are not necessarily directly related to work, such as ideas for dinner or whatever.
- Pay perhaps a bit more attention than usual to checking whether people have questions or comments, potentially going around the “room” in turn.
- Use video whenever possible, even if where you are working from at home is untidy or you haven’t managed to comb your hair yet.
- Agree on who is doing what next, and when your next meeting will be, if required.
- Summarise the meeting in writing and share your summary somewhere agreed to by all.
- Try to do as much work as possible outside of meetings.
- If you have any problems with sound: turn off your microphone when you are not talking.
When we have run workshops with participants in different locations, we have used Miro as a tool. This tool can be used in web-browsers and gives you a free starter pack to help you get under way!
Here are my tips for running digital workshops:
- Share the purpose, the desired outcome and a flexible agenda for the workshop with all participants in advance.
- If you have any information that participants can read or small tasks that they can complete before the workshop, share these as well.
- Ensure that everyone has what they need before you start - e.g. access to slack channels, Miro, a working microphone etc.
- Have a clear role as a facilitator, and team up with someone who can take notes and any screenshots needed during the workshop.
- Set aside time to review each activity and preferably work individually or in small groups.
- Review and summarise following each activity.
- Keep your workshops brief and divide tasks that can be done outside the workshop between the participants, and then hold a new workshop if required.
Remote workshops are a big topic. The Definitive Guide to Facilitating Remote Workshops, published by Mural, will give you lots of information regardless of the tools you choose to use.
I hope these tips are useful and that the meetings and workshops you organise from home in the time ahead are successful!