New Normal – Ideas for Handling Meetings and In-Person Work

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Revising How Companies Work in the New Normal

New normal is quickly growing to be one of everyone’s least favorite, overused phrases, but it’s the most succinct and accurate description of what business leaders are facing. The questions they’re looking to answer range from what does the new normal look like for our employees; what does the new normal look like for delivering our services or product; what does the new normal even mean in the short term versus the long-term?

Company Meetings – Hybrid Models

As we move into some employees returning the office, but possibly not all team members, we have to look for best practices to hold hybrid meetings. A few tips:

  • Conference room technology – make sure you have a camera and microphone set-up that is appropriate for the platform (Zoom, GoToMeeting or MS Teams) and the size of the room. You may have to invest in more than one microphone so everyone’s voice is heard in a hybrid meeting.
  • Come up with some rules for speaking up during a meeting like raising hands so people remote and in-person have an equal opportunity to contribute and speak up without speaking over each other. Leave plenty of time for remote meeting participants to chime-in in case there’s a delay due to technology or internet connection.
  • Encourage your participants to turn on their video. In larger meetings, people who have their video on have a better chance of being remembered for their contribution. It’s also a better way to interact remotely.
  • Presenters – make sure you’re prepared to share your screen and stop frequently to ask for questions or clarifications.

Solid Office Safety Recommendations

Here’s some of the best tips for reopening your office to consider. Please note that not all recommendations may be appropriate for your company. Review the recommendations with your property manager or landlord if applicable.

  • Designate an “In” door and an “Out” door to reduce traffic crossing paths.
  • Figure out how to break-up your staff into teams that come in on certain days to reduce the overall population in the office.
  • Have more collaborative, essential management return to the office first to test out your new procedures before asking more members to come back.
  • Reduce the number of chairs in any given meeting space and ask that meetings don’t exceed a certain number of people.
  • Encourage meeting participants to wear company-provided, disposable masks.
  • Provide plenty of hand sanitizer and antibacterial wipes so employees can clean and disinfect frequently.
  • Remove “community” jars of candy, snacks, and other high-touch items.
  • Ask employees to eat at their desks and keep social distance while in common areas.
  • Touchless doors, faucets, and paper dispensers – if you’re able to upgrade your sinks with touchless

Make the Rest of Your Company More Nimble

  • What’s going on with the rest of your technology? Make sure your office phones can easily convert back-and-forth between the office and home to make flexible working possible. Server and FTP access are all items that need to be sorted through reputable IT vendors or managers to make jumping back and forth easier.
  • Make your employees comfortable while at home. Chairs and other ergonomic considerations are easy to manage in-office, but if your staff might need to jump between telecommuting and working in-office, you may want to consider their at-home safety needs.
  • Lead generation and sales activities should have parallel digital strategies. If your company is heavily reliant on non-digital forms of marketing and lead gen, now, more than ever, you should consider moving or developing a digital strategy that can keep the pipeline full no matter what working conditions are.
  • Go paperless. Reduce your need for printing and filing systems with paperless administration. Invoices, proposals, presentations, reports can all be developed, distributed, signed and filed digitally with cloud storage now.

New normal probably means that there is no normal anymore. We’re facing uncertain times where your company’s adaptability and agility are going to be tested. No matter what the future holds, take a moment to examine the areas of your business that look and feel like the Titanic and start lightening the load while keeping your staff safe and happy so you can quickly turn the ship before the next iceberg shows up.