Working from home, flexible working and hybrid working (some days in the office and some at home); the way we work has seen so many changes, some of which will come and go and some that are here to stay. In a recent poll on LinkedIn, the majority of people who voted stated their preferred choice of hybrid working would be 2 days a week in the office, closely followed by entirely working from home. With stats. like these it would indicate that the virtual meeting is here to stay.
Say goodbye to stressful commutes, overnight stays and hours of lost work time. Virtual meetings allow instant get- togethers wherever you are and a new freedom away from the office board room or conference room. Along with this freedom, virtual group meetings present a whole new set of challenges for the organiser. Aside from the most obvious technical challenges like ensuring a good internet connection, suitable computers or mobile devices, one of the biggest dilemma's is how to create an engaging environment online.
Roughly 66% of our workplace interaction used to be face-to-face, now face-to-face has become face-to-screen. Online meetings can be a really intense environment, staring at the screen for several hours at a time is tiring. Zoom fatigue or Teams fatigue, it doesn’t matter which video conferencing platform is being used, video calls can make people feel really tired. The savvy organiser will be very aware of this and have strategies to keep everyone engaged and feeling fine. Handy tips for planning a successful online meeting include:
How to have a Successful Virtual Team Meetings
- Plan ahead
Sending treats like a cream tea or afternoon tea to all participants prior to the meeting is sure to get things off to a great start and everyone loves a treat to look forward to! Food and drink keep everyone energised, hydrated and fuelled for the day, especially if a virtual meeting is lasting several hours or there will be back-to-back online events with no time to escape to the kitchen and prepare food. Working from home has meant packing up snacks and lunches to take to the office has become a habit of the past and bathroom breaks become prioritised over food breaks during the busy online working day. Giving participants food is not only a welcome treat (we all love food that we haven’t had to prepare and organise ourselves), it also acknowledges that breaks and refreshments are an integral part of the working day.
- Have a planned agenda and stick to it
An agenda keeps everyone on track, especially if each topic is given a specific time frame. An agenda can stop a meeting from drifting on longer than planned or moving off topic. Scheduling tea and snack breaks into the agenda makes sure there is some ‘downtime’. A Devon Heaven cream tea hamper delivery includes 2 Devonshire tea sachets; perfect for a couple of refreshing tea breaks. If you have a group of avid tea drinkers in your meeting, corporate hampers can be customised to suit your own particular requirements, so more tea bags can be added, dietary requirements such as gluten free can be catered for and additional selected items can be included.
- Change the pace
Include different speakers, a presentation or powerpoint and breakout discussion rooms. Changing the pace and level of engagement (sometimes listening and sometimes talking) helps reduce online fatigue and means participants don’t have to be constantly on camera.
Snacks for virtual meetings
Schedule regular breaks. The virtual meeting environment is known to be more tiring so factoring in more breaks than normal makes sense. Asking participants to open their cream tea or afternoon tea hamper for a mid-morning break is a great piece of downtime and everyone relaxes as they explore what’s inside their delicious hamper. For morning meetings, a mid-morning cuppa and delicious scone with clotted cream and jam is the perfect treat. And an Afternoon tea selection of strawberries & cream shortbread, yogurt topped flapjack, cracking nuts, elderflower bubbly and a selection of west country tea is a decadent way to break up an afternoon meeting!
- Don’t try and multi-task
You wouldn’t sit in a board room full of colleagues and answer text messages and emails whilst someone was talking so don’t do it in the virtual environment either. Multi-tasking is just not possible and creates stress. Focus on the meeting you are in and nothing else. If you dedicate all of your attention to the meeting, it’s easier to follow along and you won’t be caught off guard. Trying to divide your attention span between different tasks and media is stressful, when you focus on one activity at a time, you stand a better chance of that one thing being successful and enjoying it.
- Have some fun!
Sometimes not all the participants in a virtual group meeting have actually met each other in real life. Team bonding over Zoom or Teams can be tricky but is entirely possible. Enjoying food together is a great ice-breaker and a cream tea or afternoon tea provides an instant conversation starter with the classic topic of ‘jam or cream on first!’. Supporters of the Devon way will agree that it’s definitely cream on first whereas those with an affinity to Cornwall will be true cream on first supporters. Taking a break and talking about things totally unrelated to the meeting lightens the mood, helps people get to know each other, gives everyone’s mind a rest and helps reduce virtual fatigue.
Afternoon Tea Delivery for Virtual Team Meetings
Virtual afternoon tea delivery is easy to organise for small or large meetings and dietary requirements such as gluten free are easily catered for. Corporate cream tea or afternoon teas can be ordered for groups of between four to sixty participants and ordering is easy. Place an order on the Devon Heaven website and send a spreadsheet of recipient's name and addresses and we will do the rest. We are GDPR compliant and ready to take your order!
We hope you find these handy tips useful. Send us pictures of your virtual meetings with a Devon Heaven cream or afternoon tea to feature on our website or social media pages!