Research* shows that approximately 65% of enterprise meetings now include remote participants. The reasons are obvious, including endeavoring to leverage a diverse global workforce, saving money on office overhead, and — in some cases — taking advantage of less expensive local labor.
If your company employs remote teams, is it putting effort towards auditing the success of these programs? Are you realizing the expected ROI?
Interviews with enterprise employees indicate that the answer is "probably not."
Over a period of about six months, Prysm interviewed a number of folks in positions that included leaders of Agile development teams, corporate trainers, product-development people, and directors of customer-experience centers. All of our interviewees regularly attended meetings with remote participants (from customers to agencies to employees). We asked about the meeting experience, productivity, decision making, and more. The answers were both surprising and enlightening.
- Meetings that include participants in other countries can be difficult, since team members may have trouble understanding each other's accents.
- Because it's hard to have "hallway" conversation or spontaneous huddles with team members in different locations, companies are holding an increasing number of formal meetings, eating into employees' productive hours.
- The length of these formal meetings and lack of visual tools frequently causes people to tune out, which results in poor retention of meeting content and decisions made (so they hold more meetings to compensate).
- Available tools force meeting attendees to choose between seeing on-screen files or other participants' faces.
- Seeing only one piece of content at a time (with screen sharing tools) makes it difficult to keep track of context and limits brainstorming.
Perhaps most surprising was that participants were extremely emphatic and emotional about their feelings regarding these meetings, using visceral language, such as "torture," "barbaric," "murder," and the like.
It's easy to see that these problems — which are difficult to capture with quantitative analysis — are stunting agility, impacting ROI, and contributing to the well-documented epidemic of employee disengagement.
These questions are of particular interest to us, because Prysm's digital workplace platform is designed to tackle these challenges head on. Because we use our product internally, I am confident in saying that we succeed on a number of levels, including:
- Being able to interact with onscreen content at the same time as remote participants facilitates conversation and reduces dependence on the auditory component of conversation. For example, our co-browsing feature allows distributed development teams to take turns going through JIRA tickets and user stories together.
- By improving our ability to work together effectively (through enhanced retention of content, a more visual interface, and the ability to view multiple pieces of different types of content onscreen at once), we are able to keep meeting length shorter. As an example, our weekly marketing meetings almost always end 15 minutes early these days!
- We get the benefit of seeing participants faces at the same time as static files and live content.
- Our digital whiteboard, annotations, and sticky-notes features aid in engagement and understanding.
- Unifying multiple sources of content seems to lead to more effective and lively brainstorming — it feels closer to the experience of being in the same room together.
The sum of these advantages means that we are much less likely to resent the time we spend in meetings. Even I feel this way, and I'm notorious for eschewing meetings (see my blog on "Five Reasons I don't Want to Attend Your Meeting," to get an idea of what I'm talking about).
Simply put: meetings at Prysm don't suck.
We would love to show you how Prysm can make your meetings livelier, less torturous, and more effective, from the comfort of your own desk (to simulate the experience). Use our self-service meeting scheduler to set a time for a quick demo. Also, if you've got strong feelings about meetings at your company, please share your experiences in the comments below.
*Prysm Enterprise Meeting Survey (n=1,600), 2017