Just ask any one of your employees: The last thing any business wants is another unnecessary, unproductive meeting. Bad meetings waste employees' (and the company's) time and leave teams with tension rather than solutions. When making the switch to remote work, many businesses simply replicated the in-office experience for meetings, bringing with them a slew of familiar challenges. Worse yet, some companies added extra meetings, naively assuming that more meetings meant better communication. The result? Many managers now mistakenly believe that remote meetings are less successful than in-person. In reality, remote meetings offer distinct advantages that can help you transform bad meetings into good ones.

What makes a meeting good?

The misconception about remote meetings being unproductive stems from a basic issue: Some leaders don't know how to run good meetings in the first place. Good meetings have a purpose and a clear agenda. They bring together the right people who are prepared to participate. At the end of a good meeting, the team has identified a solution and outlined the next steps.

Some meetings are action-oriented, with short-term solutions. Others are fact-finding missions that contribute to the research phase of a larger project. The type of goal doesn't matter, so long as each meeting has one and all of the participants understand their roles in it.

The best meetings don't end when everyone leaves the room. They help dictate what happens next, helping the organization solve a larger problem or create greater efficiency.

Remote meetings focus on results

When thinking about the components of a good meeting, it becomes clear how virtual meetings can help teams employ best practices. Generally speaking, remote work encourages employees to focus on outcomes rather than the amount of time spent on a project. Leaders can leverage this trend to create a culture of outcome-based remote meetings. Unnecessary meetings become a thing of the past when every appointment has a clear objective that aligns with your organization's overall business goals.

Getting everyone in one room becomes easy  

Working remotely also increases the chance that you'll be able to discuss important matters with the right individuals. It's much easier to get the right people in one room when they can join in virtually from anywhere in the world.

Remote meetings eliminate many of the traditional logistical issues of face-to-face meetings. Scheduling becomes easier, you don't need to book a conference room, and no one has to call IT for help with the projector. All you need is the right video conferencing software.

Virtual communication can also encourage employees from diverse backgrounds and introverted employees to share their thoughts. Team members who were hesitant to speak up in the conference room may find it easier to voice their opinions on video calls and through online collaboration software. As a consequence, remote meetings can give you extra insight to help solve the problems at hand.

Conversations don't stop when the meeting ends

We've all been to meetings in which thoughtful solutions were proposed and never acted upon. These missed opportunities can frustrate employees and keep businesses from meeting goals.

Because most successful distributed work environments are built on comprehensive project management systems, there's less likelihood that ideas will get lost after remote meetings. Instead, meeting discussions become a part of the continuous project history. Often, these records are saved and remain accessible, allowing them to add value to future projects as well.

Embrace better, more productive remote meetings

Remote businesses have the opportunity to conduct better virtual meetings than they ever did in person. By focusing on outcomes, setting clear goals, and making sure everyone comes prepared, teams can use remote meeting time wisely to create meaningful solutions.