by Amy Fillhouer
Our conference room lights are on, the kitchen is full (of course, with cases on cases of LaCroix), the beer & wine fridge is restocked, and cold brew is on tap. The vibrant pulse of Media Bridge’s North Loop office is back and we couldn’t be more excited to see each other’s faces after a long year and a half apart.
The return to face-to-face contact with colleagues is a big adjustment after a year spent in solitude at your kitchen counter or home office. Swapping out sweatpants for slacks is one thing, but managing human interaction is in an entirely different league. Some people are probably looking forward to an opportunity to leave their quiet WFH space to mingle with coworkers and chat about their weekend plans. Others might be excited to escape the chaos at home for a quieter workspace at the office. No matter what personal changes to your work atmosphere lie ahead, there is one consistent adjustment being made in businesses everywhere: how to handle meetings in real life.
A silver lining to 2020 is the universal comfort that developed with virtual meetings. As long as there are people working remotely, there will be Zoom links attached to meeting invites. However as more companies reopen their doors, meeting backdrops will look a little less like a green screen beach or someone’s basement and a lot more like real conference rooms. And unfortunately, there is no “end meeting for all” button in person. The classic “dipping out for another meeting” excuse is hard to do when your talkative coworker is sitting directly across from you. So how does one keep things concise when our office culture has been turned upside down for the last 15 months? Here’s how we’re doing it:
Step one: Thinking Twice
Is the meeting really necessary in the first place? Like many companies, we scheduled periodic, 15-minute meetings to touch base throughout the week to maintain as much team synergy as possible during the pandemic. Now that more desks regain occupancy in our office, communication and collaboration look completely different than a year ago for our team.
Step two: Thinking Ahead
The biggest key to ending a meeting on time is to start the meeting on time. Spell out the “what” and “why” in advance so that attendants know what to expect. It’s easy to get off task when you’re in a room with people you haven’t seen in awhile, but staying on topic is the best way to make valuable use of your team’s time. Remember — some of us lost our social stamina while working from home!
Step three: Wrapping Up
Channel your inner “end meeting for all” button and get the show on the road. Is there time for questions? Keep them quick! If not, set up a followup email thread for any questions left unanswered. Shake hands, bump elbows, awkwardly air-hug… do what feels right.
It’s been tricky to navigate our world’s “Grand Reopening,” but at Media Bridge, we believe in no excuses, just results. It’s why we cherish our trips to visit clients across the country or opportunities to host local clients in our Minneapolis space. This new reality is uncharted territory, but we’re grateful to be back.