It can be challenging to ensure all group members are participating productively in a virtual environment, and yet it is one of the most important components of successful group work. Creating an environment where team members feel comfortable and empowered is key. Aside from making sure everyone is up to speed with the technology being used, having a clear sense of purpose and defined tasks, aids the success or the team. The following is a checklist designed to encourage engagement in a virtual workspace. Also see, building consensus, for tips on decision making in virtual groups.
- Communicate often and early–make sure shared goals and objectives are understood.
- Decide on a set of tools for virtual meetings and provide links to guides for them.
- Begin the meeting by asking individuals to remove any distractions.
- In virtual meetings, turn your video on and encourage others to do the same.
- Use polling tools available in virtual meeting spaces –ask participants to raise hands or select an emoji in response to a question.
- Take time to connect –at the beginning of virtual meetings, do a ‘personal check-in’ with participants as they join.
- Give each person time on the agenda –make sure individuals are aware of their role within the committee.
- Call on people for feedback, and set an expectation for interaction.
- Set the last 5-10 minutes of the meeting as a virtual water cooler–time for venting in the meeting.
- Schedule 1:1 check-ins, especially for those who seem to be struggling.
- Maintain momentum between meetings.
- Record meetings–so those who are unable to attend can still be in the loop.
- Create a safe environment–you want a space where people aren’t afraid to ask questions or discuss areas of difficulty.
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