Virtual meetings have become a standard part of remote work culture. From quick hangouts in Slack to virtual Monday morning roundups in Zoom, we're all spending a lot more time in remote work meetings.

Just how much time? The average remote worker spends about 21.5 hours each week in virtual meetings. In a five-day work week, that's over four hours per day in video meetings. With all that extra meeting time, you'd think we'd be more productive and engaged than ever.

However, recent data shows that virtual meetings could do more harm than good if they're mishandled. In fact,

  • 42% of remote employees admit to feeling Zoom fatigue.  
  • 92% of employees feel like virtual meetings are unproductive and costly 
  • 70% of virtual meetings delay task completion

Virtual meetings also increase worker stress and fail to engage employees. In fact, 40% of virtual meetings have below-average engagement. Additionally, 22% of attendees don't participate in conversation, 50% arrive late and 11% don't have audio or video on.

So, does this mean we should throw virtual meetings out the window? Obviously not. However, it does mean that you must be strategic to make your virtual meetings successful. Here's how.  

9 best practices for better virtual meetings with your remote team

As a virtual team ourselves, here are our top tips for making virtual meetings more successful for everyone. 

1. Have fewer meetings.

Could you communicate the same thing via email or chat? Try to eliminate as many unnecessary meetings as possible. We know this sounds counterintuitive. However, employee productivity is 71% higher when companies reduce their meetings by around 40%. 

So, get really focused on which meetings are must-haves and which you can scrap. Consider surveying your team to gain greater insights into which meetings are most beneficial for them (and which they can do without). 

2. Have a clear agenda. 

Fifty-six percent of remote workers feel like virtual meetings usually last too long. As a result, the shorter the meeting, the better. To have shorter meetings, you must create a meeting agenda. Determine ahead of time how long the meeting will last, what points you're planning to cover, who's participating and more. 

The more thorough you can be with your agenda, the better equipped you'll be to keep things organized and running smoothly. As a bonus, consider having one employee be in charge of keeping meetings on track and running smoothly. 

3. Encourage more 1:1 meetings. 

Studies have found that employees who participate in more one-to-one virtual meetings with their colleagues and managers are more likely to stay with their companies. In fact, employees who quit tend to participate in one-third fewer spontaneous, 1:1 meetings than other team members. Here's why.

Spontaneous, 1:1 meetings more closely mirror in-person chats. In other words, when team members have an impromptu virtual meeting, it mimics the connection of being in an office. 

4. Reassess the invite list.

Ensure everyone on the meeting invite list needs to be there. There's no worse feeling than being trapped in a meeting and wondering why you're there. Every participant should have a reason for attending and an opportunity to speak at least once. 

5. Encourage conversation and questions. 

Be sure to leave some time for extra conversation and questions. Having time to connect as a team can be critical for bonding and collaboration. Rather than asking, "Does anyone have any questions," try coming up with some specific questions to ask to spark conversation. 

If your meetings have too many people to get everyone talking, consider running surveys instead. Ask quick questions throughout to keep everyone engaged and contributing to the conversation. 

6. Be conscious of time zones. 

If you work with a global team, it's essential to be considerate of your employees working in different time zones. Scheduling a meeting at inopportune times might result in less participation from your international teammates or lead to feelings of frustration. 

Instead, take votes for when meetings are most convenient for everyone or consider holding multiple meetings to accommodate everyone's schedules. 

7. Get serious about the audio and video quality.

Nothing is more aggravating than distracting background noises or inefficient mics. Make it part of your remote work policy that everyone mutes their mics when they aren't actively talking. This will eliminate unwanted background noises from inactive participants.

Additionally, be sure your team has the hardware they need to communicate effectively in meetings. If your employees are stuck with subpar mics and cameras, your video meetings will always fail to reach their full potential. 

8. Use visual aids to keep everyone engaged. 

Virtual meetings require a lot of mental energy to keep up. Our eyes naturally move from speaker to participant, trying to make sense of the "room." Research shows that excessive amounts of self-evaluation and close-up eye contact make virtual meetings more exhausting than they have to be. 

To avoid this dilemma and negatively impacting the mental health of your remote team, consider using and encouraging visual aids to move through the conversation. Using things like PowerPoints, graphics, videos, memes, slide decks, whiteboards and pictures can help eliminate some of the distractions and make meetings less draining. 

9. Have an after-meeting plan.

Be sure to summarize the main points at the end of every meeting just in case anyone missed anything. Then, make any expected follow-up tasks very clear. Each person should leave feeling like they know what they need to do. 

Additionally, consider sending video replays, meeting summaries and task lists post-meeting. This allows your remote employees to get the most out of the meeting and ensure they didn't accidentally miss anything important. 

Supercharge your virtual meetings with people and technology 

While virtual meetings can cause the dreaded Zoom Fatigue, they can also be an excellent way to keep your remote team connected. As long as you're thoughtful about how you run and manage your virtual meetings, they're sure to be a valuable asset to your remote team. 

One of the best ways to ensure your virtual meetings are successful is to have the right team and tools from the start. That's where we can help. 

At, we make it simple to hire, onboard and manage remote talent from around the world. Plus, with our #WorkfromAnywhere technology, like our Managed Devices and VR Workplaces, we make sure your remote employees have the tools they need to succeed in virtual meetings. 

If you're ready to build and manage the best global team and give them the tools they need to thrive – contact Outstaffer today

Jan 26, 2023
Remote Work

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