Nowadays, many modern organizations strive to set their work duties up as effectively as possible. Thus the idea of combining remote work with office meetings. Employees working from home won’t be spending their time commuting to work, and the company won’t be paying for renting office space. This will result in both sides benefiting from cost reduction. There are, however, some situations which require live meetings.
First occasion to meet the remote worker is the recruiting process. It is highly recommendable to meet with the potential worker face-to-face before we hire him for a remote position. There is no better way to check how the employee is prepared, what is his motivation, what is his idea about remote work and whether he has a proper equipment to work remotely.
It is no secret, what the psychological researches also show, that communication is in majority nonverbal and body language is the key to understanding people. No matter how effective and usable the various communication tools are, there is no way they could ever truly replicate the benefit of live meeting. It is about a totally different type of communication, and a better understanding of someone’s personality that through video conference would never be noticed.
Nevertheless, it is not always, or even very rarely possible to meet face-to-face, even once a year, especially if your remote team consists of people comming from various places all over the world. Here is where the above mentioned communication tools are the best choice. The use of written language, however, would still be treated as a last resort to communicate even the simplest and shortest messages. Features mentioned above – nonverbal contact and body language – if not live, then would be best expressed through video conferences. Having an eye-to-eye contact, you are able to build a level of rapport that is very hard to replicate over the phone, not even mentioning e-mail messages.
The obvious feature of body language has already been mentioned. What about the other merits of face-to-face meetings or video conferences?
- Engagement Ensuring – you probably might imagine what people are doing during phone calls. Definitely not everybody is engaged (maybe you also were such a person). Meetings where the eye contact comes in ensure that people are true participants, not only attendees.
- Purpose clarification – Conference calls can lead to misunderstandings either due to lack of communication, or communication being unclear as to what exactly is the subject of the call. Many times also people are supposed to take part in a call just to ”represent” one side, but are not really taking part in it, so the actual purpose of the call is not known to them
- Participation – referring to the first point – being in the same room encourages or somehow even forces people to active participation in the conference. You can’t just sit in the corner and do whatever you want just to ”survive” the meeting. Yet, this is what people tend to do during phone calls
- Efficiency – usually face-to-face meetings are shorter than phone calls. On the phone, people sit around and just wait for the conversation to end. During live meeting there is a greater pressure to get to the point – here we can observe the effect of body language, e.g. someone rolling his eyes or sighing may give you the impression you are talking too long, so you would rather go straight to the point than make the conversation longer and boring.
Face-to-face meetings can give your remote team nothing but positive effects. Starting from getting to know each other, through improving communication and relationships between the team and you, and finishing at better results of your cooperation. You should definitely figure out your own way of getting the team together once in a while, it’s absolutely worth doing.