In the world of remote work, meetings can be both a blessing and a curse.
While they're essential for collaboration, many teams miss out on the benefits of a well-structured meeting cadence. A haphazard approach to meetings can lead to miscommunication, wasted time, and low engagement.
That's where the concept of meeting cadence comes in—creating a systematic approach that enhances team productivity and communication.
In this blog post, we'll explore the core components of a successful remote team meeting cadence, including often overlooked elements like spontaneous synchronous time. It's time to upgrade your remote team's meeting game, foster better connections, and unlock your team's full potential. Let's dive in!
What's a Meeting Cadence?
A meeting cadence is the combination of various meetings that occur on different timelines—daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, and yearly.
These meetings serve unique purposes and fit together like pieces of a puzzle, creating an effective and energizing system for your team.
A well-defined meeting cadence is a roadmap for collaboration, providing structure and clarity on when and how different conversations will take place.
Here's a breakdown of the meeting cadence components:
- Short check-ins or stand-ups to ensure alignment, monitor progress, and address immediate roadblocks.
- Blocks of time to work together, both scheduled and spontaneous.
- Start of week team meetings to set goals, plan the week ahead
- End of week check-ins to assess progress, and celebrate successes.
- Strategy sessions for in-depth discussions, goal-setting
- Individual and team performance reviews.
- Review and planning meetings to assess progress towards objectives
- Adjust strategies, and set new goals for the upcoming quarter.
- Annual meetings to reflect on the past year, celebrate achievements, and outline long-term goals and strategies.
By integrating these different types of meetings into a predictable, cohesive and purpose-driven meeting cadence, you can create a rhythm that keeps your team engaged, informed, and energized.
This meeting puzzle becomes the backbone of your team's collaboration, ensuring everyone is on the same page and working towards common objectives.
Remote teams face unique challenges when it comes to collaboration and communication. Establishing a solid meeting cadence is crucial for overcoming these challenges and ensuring that your team thrives.
Regularly Scheduled Meetings
Stick to a predictable schedule for various types of meetings. Consistency helps team members know what to expect and plan their time accordingly
Clear Agendas & Objectives
Well-defined agendas and objectives ensure that meetings stay focused and productive. Share agendas ahead of time to give team members a chance to prepare and contribute effectively.
Appropriate Meeting Duration
Keep meetings concise and time-boxed to avoid fatigue and maintain engagement. Adjust meeting lengths based on the complexity of topics and the number of attendees.
Summaries & Action Items
Document and share key takeaways, decisions, and action items after each meeting to maintain clarity and accountability. This practice ensures that everyone is aligned on next steps and reinforces the meeting's purpose and value.
Remote teams have an advantage here. Apps incorporating the latest AI technology into their meeting tools means your team can have notes, summaries, and action items created for you. With zero work.
Check out SoWork's AI meeting assistant to see what's possible and how these tools can save your team a ton of time.
Inclusive Scheduling For Different Time Zones
Be mindful of team members' time zones when scheduling meetings. Rotate meeting times, if necessary, to ensure fair and inclusive scheduling.
Use of Engaging Meeting Tools
Leverage video apps that are engaging and make your team feel like you're really together in one place. Not just tiles staring at each other on screens. Check out a SoWork office as an option.
The Units Of Your Meeting Cadence
Revisit the structure and format of your virtual daily stand-ups. Ensure they remain short (10-15 minutes) to quickly align on priorities, share updates, and identify roadblocks.
Introduce spontaneous synchronous sessions for quick, informal check-ins or problem-solving sessions, fostering real-time collaboration.
Consider a virtual office for engaging, productive, and life-like spontaneous synchronous sessions.
Reinforce the importance of weekly team meetings for maintaining strong communication and collaboration.
Encourage active participation by rotating facilitation duties among team members and allocating time for open discussion or brainstorming.
Incorporate spontaneous synchronous time for casual chats or team-building activities to strengthen connections and boost morale.
Reassess the effectiveness of your virtual monthly strategy and goal-setting sessions. Ensure they remain focused on discussing in-depth topics, setting goals, and analyzing performance.
Try an all hands meeting template, and review common mistakes that kill all hands meeting productivity.
Bigger team? Break out into smaller groups for discussions, brainstorming, and problem-solving. Consider using a virtual office make to make this easy, engaging and fun.
Evaluate the efficiency of your remote quarterly reviews and planning sessions. Share presentations and reports in advance to give team members time to review and prepare their input. Utilize polls and surveys to gather feedback and encourage engagement, ensuring that everyone's voice is heard.
Incorporate social activities in a virtual office before or after the meeting to take advantage of cross-functional time together.
The Critical Meeting Cadence Unit Most Remote Teams Miss
In remote teams, spontaneous synchronous time needs to be added back in intentionally. This is time where teammates can connect unexpectedly, talk to people they haven't seen in a while, or join in on something they otherwise wouldn't have known about. We don't get this 'for free' like we used to in real life.
What do most remote team leaders do? Add a block to the calendar where teammates meet on Zoom and play games.
This isn't.. bad. But it isn't actually checking the box. It's awkward, clunky, and doesn't foster true spontaneity.
Teams who have virtual offices are able to solve this, by working together in a place where they can see what's happening. And walk up to each other to connect, spontaneously.
Instead of adding Zoom games into the meeting cadence, remote teams who use virtual offices often schedule blocks on the calendar where they work beside each other in their virtual offices.
This balances the scheduled nature and allows it to be added to the meeting cadence, while maintaining the unstructured and spontaneous nature of the time.
Ready To Tackle Your Meeting Cadence?
Before you blow everything up...
We recommend first considering adding a virtual office to your remote team's tech stack.
Virtual offices make building your remote team meeting cadence so much easier. Your team works beside each other, able to move seamlessly between spontaneous meetings, scheduled meetings and deep work.
Wanna try one? Check out SoWork.