You may be working remotely these days, but that doesn’t mean your staff meetings should be canceled. In fact, when teams are separated it becomes more important than ever to meet in order to maintain connection.

But meetings via video conference are…well, different. Awkward, even. They don’t have to be. To help you make the most of virtual meetings, here are six tips.

1: Use routines to provide a sense of stability

So much about our lives is unpredictable right now. Use regularly scheduled team meetings as a reliable constant to help give your team’s work life some structure. Many property management teams kick the day off with a 15-minute morning check-in. Not only does this set the course for the day, but it also nurtures a sense of connection and camaraderie—even when team members are not working side-by-side.

  1. Turn cameras on

It’s undeniable that communication is more effective when non-verbal cues are involved. Turning webcams on is the closest we can get to face-to-face communication for the moment, and it’s worth requiring for at least some of your meetings. Here’s why. Attendees are more attentive and less likely to multitask when they’re on camera. Facial expressions humanize your virtual meetings, help to build and strengthen relationships, and enhance trust–something we need more than ever right now.

  1. Short and sweet

Strive to keep your staff meeting as short as possible. Have a structured agenda and stick to it, while allowing for all to offer input, of course. If more time is needed to sort through a complicated agenda item, schedule a separate meeting for that purpose rather than allowing it to hijack your regular meeting. Short and sweet is the best recipe to keep teams focused and productive.

  1. Share the floor

Your staff meetings will be most efficient when one person takes the lead, but that doesn’t always have to be you. Consider rotating the meeting leader role among your team members. Giving every associate a chance to lead the occasional meeting can boost engagement and keep things interesting.

  1. Be even-handed

Regardless of who leads the meeting, welcome input from all participants while not allowing more outspoken team members to dominate or drone on. If you have team members who are reluctant to speak up, try to coax their contributions by asking for their opinion or for updates on their work.

  1. Add appreciation to the agenda

Staff meetings aren’t just for knocking out to-do lists. Make it a habit to celebrate effort and accomplishments, also. Consider adding appreciation to the agenda once a week. Fridays seem like the obvious choice for attaboys, although no one would argue with adding some sunshine to a Monday, either! Encourage peer-to-peer recognition by asking meeting participants to recognize their co-workers for work well done. Over time, your team members may find themselves on the lookout for something and someone to praise at the next meeting, which is great for morale.

It’s not clear how long remote working will be a part of our work lives—for some, it may be here to stay. Effective staff meetings are vital for keeping work relationships working well even when teams are dispersed. Try incorporating these six pointers to improve communication and productivity within your property management team.

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