Remote Meetings & Engagement

I have this theory that many of the perceived challenges of remote work are gaps that have always existed but have become illuminated now that we can't run over to a coworker's desk in the middle of the day.

Last week, we hosted our quarterly town hall and monthly team meeting. For these team-wide meetings, we enjoy experimenting with new formats regularly. Our focus is on hosting meetings that feel more like a team-wide dialogue than a formal presentation.

Back in the office days, we didn't talk about team meeting engagement nearly as much as we do as a remote-first company. Now, we're hard on ourselves when less than a few people participate. We use this as fuel by asking for feedback and identifying areas to improve the next time around.

From that perspective, I think our team-wide meetings have only gotten better since going remote. We used to rely on non-verbals and laughter to gauge engagement. These days, with Zoom and the need for muting, this can be a challenge.

This constraint has forced us to think more deeply about our time together. Here are a few changes from the last several months:

  • Roll out straightforward updates via email memo (introducing a new role, work hours updates, etc.)
  • Email team ahead of meeting to let them know what we're covering and give them time to think/prepare when necessary
  • Feedback forms, especially when experimenting with new workshops