There is no doubt the pandemic has changed us in immeasurable ways and the way we hold business meetings has been affected in every way. With the Delta strain surging, companies need to rethink whether it makes sense to hold in-person meetings again.
This Harvard Business Review article explored how employers are grappling with what a return to the office should look like and recommends that they should take the opportunity to think carefully about which parts of work should be done in person, which should be virtual, and which can benefit from a mix, then can design toward that ideal.
The author says that we need to reframe the conversation and focus on what we’re actually trying to achieve rather than where, precisely, we’ll be sitting when we achieve it.
This involves examining the precise nature of the tasks in front of us, our specific objectives, and the weight we attach to the ones that compete, like efficiency, effectiveness, camaraderie and mental health.
Now that in-person interactions are possible, and now that we know how to do virtual work well, let’s think very carefully about whether time spent meeting might be better spent thinking, writing or engaging in other projects.
The author suggests that you first ask whether a meeting even needs to be held because less is more, explaining that it all comes down to purpose. Ask yourself: Why are you meeting and do you really need to meet?
Should you do a hybrid meeting? The HBR article says that until those running your meetings hone their skills in the art of hybrid facilitation and have the technology to support them, consider holding an entirely virtual meeting, even if many participants are Zooming in from the office.
As the article notes, “Given all that we’ve overcome throughout the past 15 months, it would be a shame if we didn’t take advantage of every single hard-earned pearl of wisdom around work, life and the nexus of the two. Let’s harness our new perspectives on time, technology, and togetherness to rethink how we work — and specifically, how we gather.”