How to Lead a Dynamite Remote Meeting

During this unprecedented demand for workers and consumers to stay home, it has become more and more necessary for meetings to move online and towards reliable video platforms. There has been an increasing demand for services like Skype, Zoom, and Google Hangouts, especially for workplace environments. Since we can’t all meet face-to-face for business meetings, it’s important that your meeting time is managed properly and facilitated by the proper tools.

Choose the Right Tools

Before scheduling your first meeting, consider what platform will suit your needs best. How many employees or team members will need to be present? Does everyone need to be able to send video to the live feed? Will you need to share slides, notes, or mirror your screen for everyone to see? If necessary, reach out to your IT department for their opinion on what platform you should ask everyone to use; otherwise, do a little digging to see what will best serve you and your team.

Have an Agenda

One of the biggest tips that can make or break your online meeting is whether or not everyone is aware of the meeting’s topic. Everyone should be briefed ahead of time on what will be discussed; this way they can prepare their segments or questions prior to the start of the meeting. There’s nothing more confusing than logging into a private video space and wondering who is supposed to be doing what; give everyone a job for the meeting (taking notes, coming up with questions, etc.) to help your employees stay engaged.

Allow Time for Chit-Chat

Carving out time for ice-breaking is the perfect way to start a remote meeting. Ask everyone to get warmed up by running through a test sequence; have everyone state their name, talk about what they were working on prior to the meeting, and ask everyone if they can hear and see the feed properly. As the meeting leader, let everyone know what time you’ll regroup and begin discussing the agenda.

Decide on Meeting Etiquette

Depending on the type of meeting you will be hosting, you may want to ask members to hold their questions until the end of your presentation. If your style is more loose and informal, let them know in advance; most people will assume that they are receiving a lecture-type meeting unless otherwise specified. If you want interaction, say so!

Keep an Eye on the Introverts

Everyone on the team is valuable – they were hired or promoted for a reason, and their shyness shouldn’t hold them back from contributing. While you don’t want to call out the introverts specifically, try to think of a way to encourage everyone to contribute. Perhaps you may wish to ask team members to take turns providing input (or building upon previous information); this will push the less talkative members out of their shells and encourage them to share what they are thinking.

Be Prepared

Above all, be prepared for everyone to connect and work together; if you bring the right tools, the conversation will follow. Right now, the biggest hurdle for offices seems to be getting the technology right. Ask your team members to test call you in advance, or set up a mock meeting with your employees so that things go smoothly on the day of the big meeting. Upload any documents necessary ahead of time and run through your slides to make sure they will be legible through screen sharing. Take the time to plan now so that your meeting will run like a well-oiled machine!

Office Hygiene: Protect Yourself, Protect Others

It’s cold and flu season, as we’re all aware; with the novel virus running around, it’s more important than ever to stay vigilant about hygiene at the office. While you and your co-workers might be young, fit, and healthy, you don’t know what kind of situation their friends and family might be in this year. Immunosuppressed individuals and the elderly generally have a harder time fighting off pneumonia-like symptoms, so it’s very important that these people stay healthy. You can do your part to protect them by not spreading germs.

Wash Your Hands

We know you’ve heard this a million and one times, but it’s a dead horse that must be beaten. Since the common cold, flu, and other viruses are spread through droplets and surface contact, anything picked up on the hands can be spread to twice as many surfaces within minutes. Whether you’re in the restroom, breakroom, or simply at your desk, take every opportunity to wash your hands with soap and hot water to stop or slow the spread of surface germs.

Cover Your Mouth

Even if you don’t feel sick, you should still cover your coughs and sneezes. Aside from being standard etiquette, this is an immensely effective way to prevent the spread of germs you don’t even know you have. Since viral illnesses can be active and spreadable before the onset of symptoms, it’s best to exercise 100% caution at all times.

Stay Home

If ever there was a time to play the “sick card,” it’s now. As mentioned, it’s not just your health at stake if you enter your office feeling ill. With the common cold, most people recover fine, but some workers might have a lower tolerance for illness than others. Generally, employers are understanding about illness and wish to prevent the intentional spreading of viruses through the office. The issue, really, is when employees misuse the company’s sick policy. 

Cold and flu season is upon us, and being amplified by nature’s latest novel virus. During times of sickness, it’s easy to get anxious and concerned; take matters into your own hands – literally. Keep your body clean, your insides nourished with healthy, vitamin-rich food, and avoid heavily populated areas. Be smart, don’t misuse company leniency, stay safe, and keep others safe in the process.

Spring Break “Staycation”: 10 Ideas to Keep the Littles Busy

Whether you’re looking to stay in small circles or hunkered down at home while the virus passes, one thing is for certain: it’s easy to go stir-crazy with children in the house for a week or more at a time. Typically, it’s fun to plan trips and vacations during spring break, but 2020 doesn’t seem to be shaping up as the perfect year for that – if you catch our drift! Check out these six ideas to help keep the kids busy – and safe – this spring break.

1. Tournaments

If you have older children, this can be a blast! Spend some time one day during the week to learn how to play their favorite video games, or pull all of the board games out of the cupboard. See who can win the most games in 2-3 hours, offering the winner some kind of prize. Make sure all of the rules are outlined ahead of time; consider altering the rules a bit to make the games more fun or silly!

2. Not-So Out and About

Does your family like to hike? Do you know about a secret swimming spot that no one else does? This is the time to visit the old gems from your childhood – share them with the kids and make a special day of it; you could plan a picnic at the top of a small mountain peak or along the beach. Just because it’s best to avoid contact with sick people, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be able to get out and enjoy nature – don’t go stir-crazy!

3. Backyard Bash

Rummage through your basement and attic for odd objects that can serve as obstacle course objects. Paper plates on the ground could work well for hopping, a long plank across the grass is perfect for side-stepping. Old tennis balls and 5-gallon buckets can be used for short-distance hoops. Use your imagination, but try to keep it safe! Time the whole family and see who can set the fastest record!

4. Homemade Game

Now’s the time to get crazy! Ask the kids for ideas, but make sure you have supplies on hand for the basics; this activity is best planned in advance so that you can order your cardstock, poster boards, die, and other game pieces a few days before. The sky is the limit for this fun-filled day of excitement!

5. Movie Marathon

We know parents usually try to limit TV and general screen time per day, but let’s all be honest with each other for a second: that’s going to be pretty impossible this year during Spring Break. Try your best to keep the kids off the screens if you want, but keep in mind that they might be an absolute lifesaver during the lie-in. If your kids have a favorite movie series that they haven’t watched in a while, rent or buy it to watch this week as a special treat! Oh, and don’t forget the popcorn, that should still be in stock online!

6. Craftsy Camp Day

See if your friends or family members will let you borrow some camping gear during the week. Kids love campouts, even if they’re right outside the house! Have a campfire, make hot dogs (if you could find them at the store), s’mores, and tell stories!

During the day leading up to your campout, make a bunch of homemade crafts that the kids can play with: modeling dough, paint by numbers, mad libs, whittle sticks into wands and have the kids color them. Rummage through your paper products and craft items and come up with something new! The great thing about kids is that you can get them excited about almost anything if you hype it up enough.

Stay safe this Spring Break, but don’t sacrifice the fun! Luckily there are lots of exciting things at home if we take some time to look around. Don’t forget that there’s some safe space around your home, too! Take a walk in the woods to get some fresh air – it’ll help everyone’s mood.

Organizing your work year

2020 is finally here! For many, this new decade marks a new opportunity to set new intentions and resolutions. It’s a great time to refocus your energy on those dreams that you’ve had for a while and develop a concrete plan to achieve them. But, what about work? You can approach your professional life the same way you approach your personal one. Get ready to set some goals for the year!

Setting 2020 work goals

Look at the big picture

When thinking about how to approach your professional life in 2020, it’s best to start by looking at the big picture. What are those 2-3 things that would make the most impact in 2020? What would you have to do to consider this a successful year? 

Most likely, you have various responsibilities at your job. Try to group them into categories and assign a goal to each area. Do you interact with customers? How can you improve your customer relations? Maybe you’ve been eyeing a promotion… what would you have to do this year to step up your game and get that new title? 

Remember to also take into account your professional development. What skills would you like to develop this year to be better at your job? Talk about this with your manager, they might even pay for a course or a conference for you to work on your professional development. 

Break it down

After you’ve established those big goals you want to achieve, you should break them down into manageable chunks. This will make them seem a lot more attainable. For example, if you want to sell $1 million dollars this year, you can say that your goal is $250,000 per quarter (or break it up based on your sale seasons). Now, what do you have to do to sell $250,000 this quarter? Start to think of the strategies you’ll need to employ to get to those smaller goals that will add up to your bigger one. Also, remember to set yourself up for success by planning ahead. What do you need to do this quarter to prepare for the next one? 

Breaking down your big goals into digestible chunks will not only set you up for success, but also give you a blueprint on what you have to work on each quarter (or week!) to achieve them. 

Keep it visible

Goals are only as good as their execution. To make sure you keep them top of mind, have them visible on your workspace. One thing that might help is to prepare a presentation so you can write everything out and then create a worksheet that includes the big goals and the breakdown of each. Give yourself some space to check off each milestone as you achieve it and keep it visible near your desk. Another idea, if you keep a notepad to write all your to-do’s, is to use the front cover or back cover to write them down. This way you can easily consult them when needed. You can also post them as your computer desktop background image or screen saver. Using a productivity planner is also a good strategy to keep your goals in mind, many of them offer the break down we mentioned before. 

Check-in with yourself

Each quarter (or week), review your progress and evaluate how you’re doing. Are you making progress toward your big goal or did you derail with other responsibilities? If you’re not on track, what can you do to get back on it? Or, do you need to reevaluate your goal? Sometimes things will change throughout the year, and that’s ok, but don’t use it as an excuse to forget about your goals! Adapt them and keep going. 

By checking in with yourself you can make sure you’re on track toward your goals. And make sure you celebrate every time you achieve a milestone, your hard work is paying off!

Adapt

Like we mentioned before, sometimes things change throughout the year. That’s ok! Just make sure that you adapt your goals as well. Don’t use this as an excuse to not work on a goal. Say, for example, that you are crushing your sales goal… aim higher! Or that certain company-wide priorities shifts to something else, change your goal accordingly. 

The important thing is to not let your goals fall to the wayside because your priorities changed. 

Setting yearly goals is something we should all be doing. If your company doesn’t have a plan in place to do this, make sure you do it on your own. You’ll see how your work year is a lot more structured and successful because of it.