Conferencing in the age of remote working | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, April 14, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, April 14, 2020

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Conferencing in the age of remote working

We have all been pushed into our homes with the current pandemic of Covid-19, which has led to the altering of life's various activities throughout the world, with working at offices taking a major backseat. Yes, the idea of working has now found itself conspicuously changed in a completely new lexicon.

Work is now being defined as working from home and has enabled employers, employees, students, interns, researchers, and specialists of diverse fields to enhance their own field of work in order to maintain an untrammelled yet flexible mode of working.

Conferencing, a major component of firms, companies, and research think tanks alike, is no longer done in a conference room surrounded with swivelling chairs and a central TV or projector monitor. It is now all done from the comforts of your room, living room, or dining table — wherever the participant deems fit.

Conferencing takes a good amount of energy and for that productivity, boosting techniques are required. With major tech companies making their services free, conferencing has become an embedded part of working from home.

Organise the mental set-up

The first major boosting technique is to have a proper mental set-up given everyone works from home and they need to treat work as work, not anything else. If the proper mental set-up is not in harmony with the etiquette and target of the firm, the meetings largely take an informal turn, disrupting the flow of the conference with sudden entries and exits, improper noisy distractions by family members, and untimely interruptions.

A proper mental set-up includes getting up on time for the conference and prepare oneself fresh with proper attire and checking whether the Internet connectivity and lighting is all right alongside informing others of the conference subsiding any form of distraction.

Keep yourself and the team goal oriented

A second major boosting technique is the preparation of the team beforehand. Conferencing includes the inputs-outputs of a properly organised team. For that, teams must come together and communicate with each other.

This saves time and allows for a systematic approach in dealing with clients without losing any time and allocating a few minutes to each member for ice-breaking and easing into the moment. Professionalism needs to be maintained beforehand at all costs, even though everyone is working from home.

Allocate responsibilities properly

In order to make a meeting productive in a given timeslot, only the most productive and insightful members should be allowed to participate in the conference itself.

The third rule to enhance productivity is ensuring there are a number of adequate and the right number of participants who can carry the meeting forward without any discrepancies of any sorts; from Internet disruptions to being tongue-tied to those who have minimal experience in handling such sorts of calls.

Time and tide matter

Time is always limited and productivity tends to drop beyond a normally allocated timeslot, for example, beyond the 45-minute mark. Anything longer than this and productivity begins to drop quickly, serving as a reminder to make a plan for the meeting and stick to it. Although everyone is working at home, balancing other responsibilities of work and home often get enmeshed together, making the timing often very chaotic.

The perfect timings for the meeting hence needs to be set to boost confidence and a productive ethos. Meetings done right before lunchtime from the hours between 10AM and 1PM give everyone plenty of time to refresh, rethink, and reenergise himself/herself for a good conference and check whether all the variables are put in check.

Focus is the key

The fifth and major productive boosting technique is to stay focused and avoid all distractions by any means necessary. E-mails, calls, and other social media tabs must be completely muted or shut down. When video conferences happen, one must look into the camera with proper attire, not wearing typical homely clothes, but professional casual clothes to give off the vibe of seriousness and professionalism.

If there is any need to communicate, it must be done and notes should be taken and shared to make the most out of the meeting, allowing effective use of the conference itself.

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