Stefan Eriksson, 2016-10-03
10 ways to hold effective distance meetings
Everybody knows that distance is no longer an obstacle to interaction and communication. Perhaps the greatest challenge is changing the corporate culture of meetings. Companies and employees alike can benefit in many ways by implementing a strategy to use more distance meetings. We have listed ten steps that will help your company increase its use of virtual meetings. This quick guide comes from the Swedish Transport Administration’s project “Travel-free meetings”. A more detailed version is available in several languages on our website.
1. Analyse your current situation
What sort of travel does your company do today? What does it cost? Double that cost to cover time and other personnel expenses and that will give you the complete cost structure.
2. Allocate resources
Company management can reach decisions based on the above analysis. It is important that management is involved and resources are allocated. It’s also essential that management sets a good example in order to send out clear signals that this is a serious initiative.
3. Create a working group
Form a team with representatives from different departments to ensure a wider and more effective use of virtual meetings throughout the organisation.
4. Identify communication needs and interests
Conduct an in-depth analysis to establish who travels, their destinations and if they are interested in non-travel alternatives. If so, what type of communication technology do they need and want?
5. Analyse the technical requirements
Check what technical equipment, networks, subscribed services, safety and security requirements and support your company already has and what investments are required.
6. Select the right equipment and services
Go through your list of requirements for technical functionality that has been set up. You need technology that is fully reliable and simple to use in order for your new strategy to be effective. It must also be accessible at all times, so don’t try to cut corners on equipment or quality.
7. Establish routines
It is essential to have clear rules for travel, meetings and virtual meetings and when they should be used. There should also be procedures for support, service and bookings.
8. Appoint individuals to be in charge
There should be no uncertainties about whom to contact when it comes to operations, bookings, support, training and reviews.
9. Be sure to inform and demonstrate
Invite employees to meetings for hands-on demonstrations of the techniques.
10. Follow up, improve and present results
It is important to follow up the process. Requirements may have changed and by extending equipment or services the company can continue to keep up the positive attitude.
This advice comes from the Swedish Transport Administration’s project “Travel-free meetings”. You can read a more detailed guide in several languages on our website (or on trafikverket.se/resfri in Swedish only).