Meetings are rarely the best part of anyone’s nine-to-five, yet they’re an unavoidable necessity for millions of employees across the UK.
Traditionally, a meeting involves travelling to a location chosen by someone else, sitting in an uncomfortable chair and wondering whether anyone will be bold enough to take a biscuit.
Yet this model of corporate discussions seems increasingly archaic in the age of fibre broadband and live streaming software.
Like fax machines and ring binders, face-to-face discussions are being usurped by technological progression.
And given the huge advances in home working technology, the days of battling through heavy traffic to sit in a stuffy boardroom twiddling a leaky biro may finally be ending.
Home broadband to the rescue
Face-to-face meetings aren’t the only opportunity to share information these days.
Home broadband is the primary weapon in the fight against meeting creep – the endless chain of scheduled discussions where much is said but little is accomplished.
That’s because home broadband enables staff to contribute to projects and planning from anywhere, day or night.
In the same way video conferencing calls allow off-site personnel to join in the debate, home broadband keeps us connected from our sick beds or over the Sunday papers.
(As a side note, home working has been shown to boost everything from job satisfaction and staff retention to efficiency and out-of-hours accessibility.
Some careers clearly aren’t compatible with being offsite, but fibre home broadband has enabled millions of people to enjoy flexible working arrangements for the first time.)
Cloud-hosted software packages
Collaborative software tools like Trello and Slack are ideal for progressing projects and keeping real-time tabs on what should happen next – traditionally a key function of meetings.
Having remote access to other people’s diaries lets you check whether your boss has arranged that long-awaited training session yet without facing them across a conference table.
Google Docs can be accessed from any device by anyone with appropriate sharing credentials, while cloud storage solutions such as Dropbox also let everyone access key files.
If people are fully updated on how something is progressing, there’s no need to arrange a meeting to discuss it – especially when the findings could be out of date an hour later.
Even if a meeting is unavoidable, a virtual presence might be more effective.
The travelling time saved can be used more productively, instead of shivering on a train platform or staring at the back of a lorry in slow-moving traffic.
High-quality video streams and lag-free audio make virtual attendance entirely practical, especially since remote attendees have access to all their electronic files and folders.
That often leads to more productive outcomes than sitting around a conference table promising to check something when you’re back at your desk.
Since cloud-hosted documents are easy to share, printed hand-outs and agendas become superfluous – saving resources and improving efficiency.
Even no-cost platforms like FreeConference provide document sharing; ConnectWise supports remote operation of other devices, and TeamViewer has session recording facilities.
If you can accomplish it a meeting, there’s a virtual alternative awaiting discovery.