When you have a remote team member, meeting online regularly to discuss your workflow and plan for the week ahead is a critical part of doing business.
Having this meeting is a great start, but if you feel like your team meetings have become a ‘box-ticking exercise’ and aren’t adding significant value to you and your business, you need to rethink your agenda.
To put it bluntly, if your check-ins with remote team members centre on the question “How is everything going at your end?”, you’re doing them wrong.
So to really get a handle on how your team member is coping with their workload, whether they really understand the tasks that you have assigned to them and whether they have capacity to take on more, you’re going to have to dig a little deeper.
Having helped hundreds of businesses work remotely for the best part of a decade, we’ve tried and tested a bunch of ways for online work-in-progress meetings. Here are the three components of online meetings that we now incorporate here at 5 ELK, and recommend our clients do the same.
This format makes sure you’re having the right conversations for the right reasons and most importantly, that your team are focussing on the right priorities in the right order.
Tip 1. Share Screens 💻
My number one tip for bringing structure to your meeting is sharing screens. Ask your team member to open up your CRM and share their screen so you can see what they have on their list.
The invite them to go through their list with you, giving you a task by task progress update. This is the best way to ensure accountability and create space for your team to demonstrate understanding, communicate any issues and ask questions.
Also take a look at the way tasks are set up… if they are too cumbersome with different moving parts, it might be better to split tasks up to make them seem more achievable. This will give you greater visibility on progress, and your team member will have some “quick wins” to tick off (and a dopamine hit) to keep them motivated.
And feel free to push out due dates if they are no longer achievable. There’s nothing more daunting (and demotivating) for your team member to look at a sea of red on their task list, especially when it’s out of their control. Agreeing to more workable due dates sends a message of support and sets a collaborative dynamic.
Tip 2. Review Diaries 🗓️
This step is crucial if your team member is responsible for pre and post meeting preparation and is a great way to keep them in the loop. Flip the focus and share each adviser’s diary with your team member.
Start by looking back at the previous week, double check that all post meeting action items are completed from the previous week and that the file is tidied. This is a good opportunity for your team member to chase you or your team for any outstanding file notes that are needed to close the task.
Then look ahead to see what’s planned in the upcoming week. This is a great work habit to build (and to demonstrate to your team). Getting your team member involved from the outset will give them an insight into the end-to-end process, making them more informed and better able to take on actions arising from the meeting.
Tip 3. Recap and Next Steps 💬
Possibly the most important part of your remote team meeting is what happens before you sign off…Make sure you finish every meeting with a recap. Resist the temptation to do all the talking, it’s much more powerful coming from your team member. Ask them to recap the priorities for the next week, confirm all tasks and make sure due dates are clear. Don’t forget to allow time to ask any final questions.
As always, communication is king! Having a regular meeting like this will keep the peace and keep the pace! Remember that words such as “urgent” mean different things to different people, so instead, be specific about exactly when a task must be completed (and how you want it prioritised)
If communication is king, then consistency is queen! Keep up the meetings, keep to the format and it will soon be second nature. Before too long your work-in-progress meetings will be such a valued part of both your and your teammate’s working week, you’ll wonder how you did without them. Good luck!