How to reduce the number of meetings in remote work

Virtual office platforms are a great way to reduce the number of scheduled meetings in a remote or hybrid work environment.

How to

Remote and hybrid work models bring many advantages to both workers and employers. However, the forced shift towards remote work has also brought many challenges.

One of the main issues businesses faced as they moved towards a remote or hybrid work model due to the pandemic circumstances is the increased number of scheduled meetings. Businesses found this counterproductive, as many working hours needed to be spent for communication and community purposes, things that were easy and natural in the physical office.

Workers also faced Zoom fatigue, which means increased fatigue and burnout associated with overuse of videoconferencing platforms.

A manager who walked around the office to feel the “office temperature” and see how their team is doing, team members having a quick chat in the coffee room, or a coworker who needed to confirm a small detail with the supervisor; these are cases of microinteractions that didn’t require too much effort in the physical office.

In this article we will discuss the reasons why businesses had an increased number of scheduled meetings in the remote work environment and what is the solution to reduce them.

Why the number of meetings increased working remotely

The problems that arise when implementing a remote or hybrid work model are not caused by the medium itself, but rather because of the tools we use in that medium. As businesses had to make a swift change towards remote working, the tool that was the only option at that time was videoconferencing software.

However, videoconferencing apps such as Zoom or Webex are not suitable for remote working, and therefore businesses had to adapt their work processes to overcome these limitations. These applications were intended for video calls, and that’s the main purpose they serve.

But when businesses use videoconferencing apps for remote work they encounter limitations for the following reasons.

No spontaneous interactions

We took for granted the spontaneous interactions we had in the physical office. However, once we were put in the situation of working remotely through video calls, we could clearly see that when we don’t have these microinteractions in the workplace, the team feels disconnected, demotivated, and uncreative.

Videoconferencing apps lack the tools for spontaneous interactions, since they were intended for scheduled meetings. Everything needs to be scheduled, and that erodes the creativity of the teams, the sense of community and the workflow. No one can schedule their mind to be creative and energetic at a specific hour.

When a team member has a great idea, they need to discuss it with their team as fast as possible to monetise on the surge of creativity and work “magic”. If they have to wait until the next day at 16:00, they will most likely lose many of the ideas and energy that they have.

And since great work comes from team work, the lack of spontaneous interactions greatly reduces the quality and the quantity of the collective work.

No sense of community

Another issue that arises from working remotely with videoconferencing apps is the decreased sense of community. While businesses tried to compensate for the team disconnecting by scheduling even more meetings (with social purpose), the end result was still that people felt more alone than they felt in the physical office.

This is a major issue because the sense of community is a great motivator and support for teams. People need to feel like being part of something bigger than themselves. At the same time, workers need to see others work hard to be motivated, and feel seen and validated for the hard work they do. The sense of community is what drives the engines of companies.

Without this engine, we have independent workers who try to collaborate through scheduled meetings, but spend most of their time working alone.

Videoconferencing is not suitable for remote and hybrid work

No matter how much we try to adapt our work needs with the limited technology of videoconferencing apps, this relationship will never work. Because a remote and hybrid work model need specific features that apps like Zoom simply don’t have.

To make hybrid work possible, we need to take the best features of remote work and combine them with the best features of the physical office. In other words, we need to develop technology that is suitable for our needs.

The virtual office solution

Since hybrid work is here to stay, there is a need to find a solution by developing technology that combines the benefits of a physical office with a virtual one. The most important task is finding a balance between the advantages of having a traditional office where people can collaborate, talk with one another and socialise, and bring ideas to the table, with the advantages of working remotely and having an international talent pool.

Virtual offices also proved to be a solution for reducing the number of scheduled meetings in a remote and hybrid work environment. Here are the reasons why.

Spontaneous interactions

A virtual office platform allows team members to have spontaneous interactions throughout the working day. This is imperative for nurturing the sense of community and teamwork between coworkers. It is also much more efficient than trying to communicate everything through scheduled meetings.

If someone has a question, they can quickly ask a colleague. At ivCAMPUS, you can knock on someone’s door and have a quick chat or send them a note, which can easily provide the answers you were looking for.

Spontaneity is such an important element of collective work. It nurtures creativity and the sense of community that you get when you work with a team. And this is one of the main reasons a virtual office platform is a much better alternative to videoconferencing apps such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams, or Webex.

“Watercooler moments”

The proverbial “watercooler moments'' need to be part of the virtual office as well, but that is not possible with videoconferencing apps.

These moments are important for workers to stay connected one to another and feel like they’re part of something bigger than themselves. Microinteractions play an important role in creativity because great work takes place in spontaneous interactions.

Virtual office platforms such as ivCAMPUS provide the space for “watercooler moments”, where teams can bond over a cup of coffee and discuss everything that has to do with their work and life. At ivCAMPUS team members can see who is in the coffee room and join them to have a quick chat.

In this way, the team can bond and feel connected with one another, just as they would do in the physical office. Having these microinteractions in the virtual office is fundamental for making the shift towards hybrid work in an efficient and intuitive way.

Permanent presence

It provides a great deal of motivation to come into the physical office and see your colleagues working. It also made the manager’s job easier, as they could easily see who is working and what sorts of activities take place in the office.

This is why virtual offices now bring the permanent presence back into the workplace, and we are not referring to keeping your webcam connected all the time. Being connected in a virtual place and being present all the time makes work feel like work again. You can see your colleagues working, holding meetings, or if they are not available because they are at lunch.

All of this is possible on ivCAMPUS. A quick glance at the left panel can show who is present in the physical office, if they are available or not, and if they are in a specific room having a meeting or talking with each other.

Designed for hybrid and remote work

A successful hybrid work model requires an adequate technical platform. Current tools, especially video-conferencing solutions fall short of implementing sustainable hybrid work models.

ivCAMPUS combines the benefits of physical offices with those of remote collaboration. We digitalized office interactions to allow people to intuitively work together, socialise, and be part of the company culture just as they would in a real office. And all of this in an immersive platform that they can access from anywhere they want.

Here are the reasons why ivCAMPUS is an alternative to Zoom & CO that can be used to reduce scheduled meetings.

With ivCAMPUS it’s easy to create and join a meeting

ivCAMPUS is spontaneous

ivCAMPUS nurtures communication

ivCAMPUS doesn’t require users to install a software

ivCAMPUS is fully customizable to Corporate Design and organisational structures

Try it for free today or book a demo to see what ivCAMPUS can do for your hybrid or remote team.