Quick Catch-Up Meetings: Effective Tips & Tricks
The number of people working from home has tripled in the past few years. A recent US Government survey found that 27.6 million people currently commute to work virtually. As companies adjust to this new reality, they sometimes struggle with scheduling and communications. Managers may overcompensate for the lack of face time by scheduling too many meetings, resulting in issues like Zoom fatigue and a lack of productivity.
Streamlining communications can involve relying on email, text chat, and other asynchronous methods. These tools work for some task-related conversations, but they leave out an important human element. Studies have shown that social connections at work lead to more productivity, and even brief interactions can re-energize workers.
A quick catch-up meeting is ideal for providing this type of connection while also providing managers and team members a chance to discuss current work tasks in a streamlined manner.
Here are the ins and outs of organizing and hosting a catch-up meeting in a virtual workplace.
A catch-up meeting, which is called a catch-up call in some offices, is an informal get-together of team members and coworkers. Rather than a formal meeting with an agenda, presentations, and specific goals, this event is much more relaxed and shorter in length. It is meant to focus more on workers' personal experiences and state of mind in the office and in life in general.
Ultimately, the goal is to build trust, rapport, and better communication through a catching-up meeting. The participants should eventually learn that they can provide their honest opinions, openly express themselves, and share ideas in any office communication.
A catch-up meeting can take different forms. In some cases, they may be one-on-one meetings between a manager or team leader and each team member. In some instances, workers may be more open in this type of setting. It is also possible to have a small group. However, because of their quick and informal nature, a catch-up call will not work with a large group.
Here is what you need to know about planning this type of casual virtual event.
A catch-up meeting should be quick and productive. For this reason, planning is essential. Despite the informal and relaxed nature of these virtual get-togethers, you will have specific goals and topics you want to discuss during the time together.
The agenda might vary slightly depending on group dynamics and whether you want to meet each person individually or all together.
Here is the plan you might follow for a quick catch-up meeting:
You can start with a brief icebreaker, such as asking each person what they did so far in the day, what type of coffee or tea drink they have in their mug, or what distractions they had to deal with during the day. This step puts participants in the mood to interact and brings their attention to that task instead of the mindset of sitting passively listening to the meeting.
It is a good idea to personalize the meeting by asking about each worker's current mindset. In many cases, the best approach to the topic is to ask what is going well at work and what is going poorly. You might get participants to talk about things they are happy about at work and things that cause frustration. Since the goal of this step is to get insights into mindset and morale, you can even expand the question to include things outside of work, like general wellness.
The next step in a catch-up chat is to find out about work-related interactions. One of the biggest challenges for most remote teams is working together in a virtual environment. Therefore, the relationships between coworkers are very important. A catch-up meeting can help managers gain insights into any issues making collaborations more difficult. This will make it possible to address general communication problems and specific conflicts between two coworkers.
Finally, the meeting should wrap up with a discussion about goals. This can include both updates on progress toward benchmarks and suggestions for improving performance in relation to the aims. Ideally, because of the relaxed nature of the meeting, participants should be comfortable sharing ideas freely and brainstorming.
Like all meetings, the big-picture goal of these get-togethers is to boost productivity and morale. However, the benefits often go beyond that.
What advantages can a catch-up meeting bring to your office? Here are the benefits you can pursue through these regular, brief encounters with your team:
Catch-up meetings can serve as a reminder of the goals of a specific project and keep team members on task.
After a meeting, you should have a good idea about the mindset and morale of team members.
A catch-up meeting can offer early warning about potential issues that could harm performance and lower productivity.
Like any group meetings, these will give remote workers social contact and allow them to interact with their peers and take a brief break from their solo work efforts.
Catch-up meetings provide the opportunity to deliver and receive feedback.
If you have one-on-one meetings, you can compare notes from each worker and see which issues are a matter of personality and individual opinion and which ones may have a wider impact on the performance of the whole team.
Here are four ideas for helping you plan productive meetings that provide the expected benefits:
Many virtual office managers schedule too many meetings because they see these voice or video calls as a solution to the lack of face-to-face interactions. Daily catch-up meetings may lead to redundant conversations and participants tuning out or not showing up at all. These meetings can be weekly or every other week, depending on the workload and the time frame for the projects the team is tasked with completing.
The lack of formality is what benefits and differentiates quick catch-ups from larger business meetings. Therefore it is important to make these quick meetings something that can happen spontaneously. Good managers should practice and encourage their team to be very open to having quick, unplanned, conversations. These impromptu catch-ups help to quickly resolve blockers, foster better collaboration and increase productivity within the team.
These casual get-togethers are meant to be relaxed and foster open conversation. However, the goal is to gain specific insights. As the meeting organizer, you should have these insights in mind and think about how to bring them up during the meeting, in order to manage time efficiently. Also, if workers are reluctant to participate or engage with the other attendees, you need to have some go-to ideas to help spur engagement.
A quick catch-up meeting shouldn't contribute to Zoom fatigue. However, video conferencing software is typically the best option for engagement during a meeting. It will give the participants a chance to get away from whatever tasks they are working on and communicate with others face-to-face (in the virtual sense). Since one of the goals of these meetings is to gauge mindset and morale, video feeds can help you assess body language, facial expressions, and other cues that won't be evident in text chats or voice calls.
Employees often have calculated responses to requests for feedback. They may shy away from constructive conversations because they do not want to rock the boat or create problems with coworkers or management by saying things that someone might take as criticism. Others may be unsure about whether or not they are supposed to voice their opinions in a meeting.
By starting with an icebreaker to set the tone for meeting participation and then asking targeted questions, you can provide workers with an environment where they can openly express their viewpoints. This will lead them to provide valuable insights into their mindset and the state of the projects they are currently working on.
Kumospace offers an immersive virtual office environment where participants can easily communicate and catch up with each other. In addition to allowing quick catch-up meetings and other interactions, it features many tools for collaboration and asynchronous communication. You can also personalize icons, create custom office spaces, and use chat, collaboration, and virtual whiteboard features to enhance productivity and teamwork both during meetings and throughout the workday.
Visit Kumospace to learn more about how to try the unique platform for free.
A catch-up meeting is a short, relaxed chat in either a one-on-one or small-group setting. It provides insight into workers, their mindset and morale, their status with goals, and any issues they could be dealing with during their workday.
A quick catch-up meeting is meant to be informal. It is a relaxed interaction that lets workers feel comfortable expressing opinions and providing feedback and insights in a casual environment. At the same time, you want to get specific details about their mindset and issues that are important to them, so you should have a plan for the meeting that ensures you gain this information.
You can improve the usefulness of catch-up meetings by carefully scheduling them so that these sessions do not become redundant. You should also have ideas to spur engagement during the meetings. Finally, the tone of these events is meant to be casual, so you will want to avoid the formality that often comes from longer planning or progress meetings.
Catch-up meetings provide insight into workers’ mindsets and give them a chance to voice opinions and concerns and provide feedback that could help improve productivity and performance. It is also a chance for remote employees to socialize and connect with each other.