Day #5 – Fully Remote Meetings are Bliss

This blog post is part of my Personal Coronavirus Challenge where I write about remote working and facilitation every day for as long as the imposed quarantine lasts with the intent to get into the habit of writing regularly and (hopefully) getting better at it.

“Hybrid Meetings” where most attendees are physically in a room and a few connecting remotely over video is pretty standard in my organization. This setup has a lot of disadvantages. In fact, I can’t think of any advantage for the meeting structure and facilitation.

  • Discussions happen in the room with the most people
  • Contributing to a discussion when remote is really difficult. It needs a good facilitator or a buddy system set up to make it work.
  • Most of the time, the meeting continues even if one remote attendee has a bad connection.
  • Oftentimes when using flipcharts or whiteboards in the room, remotes cannot see it. And if they see it they cannot contribute effectively.
  • We tend to ignore remote participants when discussions in front of a whiteboard or flipchart happen.
  • Facilitating small group discussions is almost impossible.

In short – Hybrid meetings suck.

But now that we are stuck at home, all these hybrid meetings have been turned into fully remote meetings. And what huge difference this makes to the discussions!

  • It promotes equal voice as everybody is in the same situation.
  • Good video conferencing systems offer breakout rooms which make small group discussions very easy.
  • Virtual whiteboards such as Mural or Miro are great to collaborate. Everybody can contribute.
  • You can share your screen and still see everybody clearly.

Fully remote meetings are bliss compared to hybrid meetings, and it actually should be the standard. As soon as you have one person joining from remote, everybody else should also connect from their computer, no matter if you are in the same office or building.