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productivity

Enhancing Workplace Productivity In The Age of Remote Work

In the past, many companies equated “working from home” with “slacking off from home,” fearing the potential productivity losses their company would face if employees had greater workplace flexibility.

Now, a year into the largest remote work movement the business world has ever seen, these fears have been largely overcome. Productivity in the U.S. rose 4.6% in Q3 of 2020, marking the largest quarterly productivity increase since 2009.

But there’s a catch: not every company is seeing productivity boosts with its mostly remote workforce. One study of 800 employers found:

  • 67% of companies reported similar productivity levels as pre-pandemic days
  • 27% reported an increase in productivity 

So what’s separating those seeing gains in productivity from the rest? It could be in how they define productivity and the tools they’re using to track it. 

Categories
online meetings

How To Combat ‘Zoom Fatigue’ For More Fulfilling Video Meetings

The rapid shift to online, remote-based work provided many benefits for employees and employers alike. These flexible working arrangements are here to stay, even once COVID-19 is no longer a concern. 

There is an unintended side effect of this new way of work, though, and it stems from ineffective, badly designed tools and misguided approaches to handling meetings with a remote team: “Zoom fatigue.” But by understanding the cause of this fatigue, you can adjust your approach to online meetings in a way that better engages your team.

What Is Zoom Fatigue And Why Are Video Calls Tiring?

Despite being a convenient replacement for our in-person interactions, video calls require a more significant effort to truly process the conversation (the primary cause of Zoom fatigue).

That’s because a great deal of crucial content is communicated not in what we say, but instead in how we say it, with nonverbal cues like hand gestures, facial expressions, and eye contact. Intrinsically, video calls make it difficult to absorb these nonverbal cues. Only so much of any given speaker can be seen, spotty internet connections can distort speech, and grid-style views can easily send an attendee into sensory overload. 

Categories
remote work

When You Can’t Measure It, You Won’t Fix It

This post originally appeared on the Team.Video blog.

According to Google Trends data, as much of America’s knowledge workers settled in for the second month of working at home under the COVID-19 work from home mandates, ‘Zoom fatigue’ hit an all-time high. But the truth is, it’s not just being stuck at home and having most of our socializing taking place over video conference calls that are to blame for our dissatisfaction with workplace meetings.

Whether it’s 9 million versions of conference call bingo or 21 million views of a conference call in real life, poorly-run company meetings have long been a source of employee dissatisfaction. A 2017 study published in Harvard Business Review surveyed 182 senior managers in a range of industries to gauge how meetings impact their work:

  • 65% said meetings keep them from completing their own work
  • 71% said meetings are unproductive and inefficient
  • 64% said meetings come at the expense of deep thinking
  • 62% said meetings miss opportunities to bring the team closer together

Many factors contribute to this negative outlook on workplace meetings, but one that has bubbled up significantly over the last few months is meetings are often where the lack of diversity and inclusion in the workplace shows up.

Categories
online meetings

3 Online Meeting KPIs That Can Uncover a Toxic Workplace Culture

This post originally appeared on the Team.Video blog.

With an estimated 42 percent of the U.S. labor force currently working from home full-time, your online meetings have become how you keep your workplace culture alive. Unfortunately, these same virtual meetings may also be contributing to creating a toxic workplace culture that leads to employee disengagement.

The good news is, unlike those in-person meetings held in your company’s cleverly named office conference rooms, your online meetings give you the potential to gather and measure data that can be used to identify and address potentially toxic workplace issues in the making. Here are three questions to ask your team members to weigh in on, and measure through your online meeting platform.

Categories
online meetings

Introducing now.me

This post originally appeared on the Team.Video blog.

Today we are excited to share now.me — a way to get right to the meeting you’re supposed to be in right now. At any given moment, if you visit the site, it will look at your calendar, see what video call you’re meant to be in, and take you right there. It works with most video call providers, including Zoom, Google Meet, Whereby, team.video, and others. We have been using this tool internally for a while now, and thought we might as well share it with the world.

In a way it seems like a small problem to solve. It’s not so hard to open up your calendar, find the meeting you’re supposed to be in, find the link to it, and open it up. But at that moment when it’s time to get together with your clients or colleagues, that time is precious. We want those brain cycles in to go toward preparing for the conversation that is about to take place. Especially if we’re running late, or if we’re trying to get together materials to share, or deep in thought pondering whatever trade-offs we are about to weigh — it can make a big difference not to have to context-switch at that moment.

As we use now.me, we find ourselves dreaming of next iterations: Beautiful as it is in its current state, it could be nice to add support for custom themes where we could set our own images, or toggle dark mode. Another idea we’ve pondered is an option to keep a now.me tab open, and then when a meeting is about to start, it would show a notification and even automatically join the meeting in a new tab, with no interaction required.

We’d love to hear your feedback! Try it out at https://now.me

Categories
online meetings

Zoom treats you like a child

This post originally appeared on the Team.Video blog.

Deeply ingrained in Zoom’s defaults are choices that do not encourage us to expect the best from each other. We spend such vast amounts of time in video meetings now that we should question what behaviors our platforms are driving us to, and how they affect our interactions with our friends, family, and colleagues at work.

“Waiting for the host to start the meeting”

This message can be infuriating. The host is on vacation, or they’re in a car somewhere, or they’re there but having trouble logging in. Or worse, everyone wonders, who is the host of this meeting, anyway? Is it me? Am I holding us back at this moment? For God’s sake, when will we be able to get on with the actual work we have to do?

And really, why can’t we just carry on without the host? Of course if you go into all the right admin screens and click all the right buttons, you can turn this off, but since it is the default, this experience inevitably creeps in.

Categories
online meetings

Camera on or off? A UX approach to video meeting fatigue

This post originally appeared on the Team.Video blog.

Video conferencing is the new office / living room / dinner table / doctors office…

As the spaces of our social lives have transitioned to a limited number of software interfaces, fatigue and burnout has skyrocketed taxing our mental health and productivity. While video conferencing apps are keeping us employed and connected, they are not prepared to handle this mass shift in our daily routines and social interactions.

What makes video conferencing so different?

When we spend our days sitting in our makeshift offices and personal spaces staring at our coworkers, friends, doctors, teachers and families (and don’t forget ourselves!) in little boxes on our screens we miss so much of the social experience of real face to face interactions. We’re unable to read body language, engage in normal social rituals, have serendipitous conversations—to move!

We’re also responding to a unending amount of new information that our brains need to process—our personal lives surrounding us at home, the apartments and houses of our coworkers and their personal lives happening around them, the host of distractions on our desktops and the lure of almost unnoticeable multitasking.

Categories
online meetings

Please interrupt me!

This post originally appeared on the Team.Video blog.

At Team.Video, one of our founding principles is “be inclusive.”

In life, and in video meetings, there are folks who are more and less inclined to speak. Sometimes folks get excited, and have a lot to say about a topic. It can be hard in video meetings for others to find a place to interject, whether to voice agreement, ask a clarifying question or offer an alternative view. One might wait for a natural pause, reach for the un-mute button, take a moment to consider their words and find that the conversation has moved along.

The more people on the call, the harder the decision gets — whether it’s worth the interjection to voice agreement or skepticism, or whether to abstain and let things take their course.

The easy thing to do, even for the extroverts, is to stay quiet. But in order to make the best decisions we can, it is vitally important to hear dissenting opinions. By staying quiet and not interrupting, while we let the meeting sail along, we might miss the best outcome.

Categories
team.video

Introducing Team.Video

This post originally appeared on the Team.Video blog.

Team.Video is built for remote teams, by a remote team. We’d like to introduce you to the product – which is now in open beta.

We built Team.Video with two foundational principles in mind:

  1. Team meetings should be as inclusive as possible; and
  2. Team meetings should be as efficient as possible.

On inclusiveness

Everyone can be seen. Our default video layout is a grid. Everyone can see everyone else, without fiddling with their layout settings or paging through a carousel or scrolling a strip.

Everyone can be heard. Teammates can always be heard with great quality audio. There is a bandwidth saver mode for folks on poor connections, which preserves audio at all costs.

But what about folks who are less inclined to speak up during a meeting? Chat and non-verbal feedback is built seamlessly into Team.Video – folks can raise their hand, give thumbs-up and thumbs-down, defer to the group or indicate that they are conflicted. This requires less weight than waiting for a good time to un-mute and interject, encourages participation from everyone, and keeps the conversation interactive and flowing smoothly.

On efficiency

Efficient meetings have a defined objective, start and end on time, and the takeaways are clear to everyone. Team.Video provides scheduling (integrated with Google Calendar), timed agenda items, and collaborative note taking.

Of course sometimes agendas can change – we’re all thoughtful humans. Team.Video agendas are collaborative, and can be built ahead of time or modified in the -call (items can be added, removed, rearranged, their timing can be adjusted, and external resources may be added). Of course, the our collaborative note-taking feature is in the call interface as well – no more switching away from the call to take notes and record your do outs. When the meeting is over, you can download the notes to continue the work.

At the end of the call, everyone is emailed the agenda, notes and resources of record, and they can be re-visited anytime in from your Team.Video workspace. Notes may also be exported to Google Docs.

Welcome to Team.Video

We’re excited to invite you to our open beta. When you sign up for a workspace now, you get unlimited team meeting minutes, a custom domain for your team, room permissions (private, knock to enter, public) and an experience that we believe will have you coming away saying, “this was a better meeting”.

Please give it a try, it’s free for everyone during the pandemic.

We welcome any and all feedback on the product. Thanks for reading.

https://team.video/