Productive Virtual Meetings How To Ensure Your Virtual Meetings Are Productive?

Many of us were forced to change the way we work due to COVID-19. The remote model that was not previously allowed for many companies became the one and only solution during a pandemic. For many organizations, operating 100% online and communicating largely via virtual meetings is a completely new experience.

If you’re asking yourself how to effectively adapt to a changing reality so that your business does not suffer, how to organize remote work wisely and support your employees in this process, or what kind of tools may help you, this content is for you.

In fact, it may turn out that the challenges you’re now facing can actually help your company, and the new process can take it to a higher level.

  1. What to focus on when choosing a tool for holding virtual meetings?
  2. How can this solution help during remote work?
  3. How to support your remote employees in the adoption process?

This is a part of an article series we created to help you implement a remote-first work environment with the help of MS Teams and Azure. Here you’ll find valuable tips to keep your business secure and efficient. See the additional articles here:

    1. How to boost and measure remote work productivity?
    2. How to use Microsoft Teams for crisis communication?
    3. Azure AD WAP: How to set up secure remote access in two hours
    4. How to run a delivery team in the era of remote work?

According to research by Global Workplace Analytics, the number of people who work from home, not counting the self-employed, has increased by 103% since 2005 (source). Predica belongs to this group. We’re certainly no strangers to remote work. So, how to manage the change?

Find the right tool

If you are completely new to remote work tools, start with asking an open question on LinkedIn, joining one of the remote work-themed groups there, or checking the offer of the most trusted suppliers such as Microsoft, Slack or Zoom. Research the costs and features, and don’t hesitate to gather user opinions.

Focus also on the capability of holding virtual meetings which are key in the remote-first model. They will largely aid keeping your company operational. Through this functionality, employees can contact each other, hold video conferences and share screens when they need to collaborate on something.

You can also use virtual meetings to communicate externally. For instance, you may want to use them for calling your clients – by showing a presentation on your screen you can still deliver that sales pitch you scheduled some time ago! You can also hold external conferences and webinars to keep in touch with your contacts.

There are a lot of different services for remote work on the market, each featuring different functionalities, e.g. video recording, real-time collaboration or calendar integration. Choose the service that’s most suitable for you and adjust it to your needs.


Based on our experience, we suggest adopting Microsoft Teams. The service is a hub for teamwork, bringing together the best of Office 365 to empower customers to chat, meet, share files, and work together with business apps.

In the second week of March 2020, the number of users was 38 million, and in the next, it increased to 44 million and is still growing. These numbers alone show that it’s the service of choice for many, and rightly so.

With Microsoft Teams, your employees can remain productive. They don’t have to switch between applications, but instead, they’ll work in one space. Collaborating on the same file, quickly exchanging information and knowledge, saves a lot of time. In addition, Microsoft Teams provides great remote work experience for virtual meetings which is extremely important right now.

virtual meeting screenshot

A great tool for collaboration, or to say hello when you can’t meet face to face!

Why are online meetings with Teams so effective?

There are several benefits to holding meetings online using Teams. Here are some of the key ones:

  • With a single click, you can set up a face to face meeting thanks to video features. It is possible directly from the chat, or within a Teams channel. Additionally, you can blur your background and let the caller focus on you, and not the surroundings you work from.
  • You can stay in touch with people from inside and outside your organization. When you’re setting up a meeting in Outlook or directly in Microsoft Teams, just type the email address of your external guest. Your recipient will get the invitation with a Teams meeting link and instructions on how to join the call.
  • During online meetings, you can share the content on your screen and choose which elements you wish to share (e.g. a whole desktop, a window, or an application).
  • Your meetings can be recorded and shared after. The recording happens in the cloud and is saved in Microsoft Stream.
  • You can take notes before, during and after the call. In private chat meetings, you can access your notes from the chat window (they will open in Wiki), and in a channel meeting, the notes will be placed in its tab.
  • The maximum number of people in a Teams call is 250. If you wish to organize a meeting for more people, you can set up a live event, then the limit is 10k attendees. You’ll find more about Microsoft Teams live events here.
MS Teams for virtual meetings overview

Quick start guide to MS Teams (image source)

Discover more Microsoft Teams’ capabilities here.

It’s time to get started!

Once you’ve decided that Microsoft Teams is the solution for you and it can bring advantages to your business, what should you do next?

  • Check your licenses. If you already have Office 365 in your company, find out what kind of plan you own. Then, connect with a trusted Microsoft solution provider to assist you in finding the right application and support you with configuration.
  • If you have never touched Microsoft solutions but you wish to start – good news! Currently, there are various types of Office 365 licenses that can be installed for free with tools that let you work remotely. Take advantage of modern teamwork and start using Microsoft Teams. We will happily assist you in this process.

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Educate your employees on the new reality

There are several areas that will need particular attention during this transition. Remember that communication is key to make sure that everyone stays connected and engaged throughout the process.

Foster a sense of responsibility

Regardless of whether we work from home or from an office, using Microsoft tools or others, our responsibility for performing tasks is still the same. Remote work should bring the same quality of services.

Inform your employees clearly about it, include it in company policies and emphasize this fact as often as you can.

Organize weekly company-wide video calls to update everyone on business conditions, plans, and current status. It is extremely important to build commitment and awareness that we all play as a team.

Do not assume that everyone is an expert at using remote work tools

If your organization already uses Microsoft Teams, Microsoft OneDrive or other Office 365 applications, you may be one step ahead here. However, you should still make sure your employees understand how to use these services correctly and are aware of all useful functionalities.

Many people are seeing new tools for the first time and have the right to feel lost. It is important that each person receives support in learning and using the new solution. Take care of the proper flow of information.

Consider company-wide training, appoint experts in individual departments who can help their colleagues (IT department for instance), or ask for external support. Choose training services from companies that have the knowledge, use good practices, and can provide training materials for your team.

At this time, the most important thing is to educate employees about the basics of using a new tool so that they can freely perform their daily duties. Feel free to contact us for further guidance.

Stay safe and productive, wherever you are. Check out our rescue kit. Download

Establish netiquette for virtual meetings

If you have already implemented remote work solutions, set up some rules for using them. Even a basic set of principles can go a long way in helping your employees adapt to the new work environment. It will also establish consistency in communication and improve its efficiency.

Some of the best practices include:

  • Switching on your camera during video calls. It increases the engagement of participants
  • Acting with care and not scheduling consecutive meetings. Let people breathe
  • Recording meetings and sharing them with the absentees
  • Taking notes digitally and collecting them in one place.

Consider what may be the most important for your operations. You may find a lot of inspiration in this article where Microsoft MVPs share their tips on how to optimize Microsoft Teams usage.

Our recommendation

If you use Microsoft Teams, then set up a dedicated channel for a team meeting where you can keep all notes in Microsoft OneNote, recordings in Microsoft Stream, tasks in Microsoft Planner and surveys in Microsoft Forms.

Example channels in MS Teams

Example channels in MS Teams

More about working from home with Microsoft Teams here.

Plan adoption and see the long-term benefits

New tools changing the way of working are an adjustment for the entire organization. Such major transitions normally affect the experience of both the business and the employee.

Your company must face this change and the impact it has on its strategies, processes, and culture. But, above all, remember that it also affects people, your employees.

We are aware that a new work environment can cause concerns and a sense of being lost. That is why it is extremely important to teach your employees how to use their new tools, but also to adapt them to their needs.

It’s like when you move into a new house: first, you need to get to know how it looks, what is its plan, then you can begin decorating the space.

Adoption plans can range from simple to complex, depending on your environment. They may include thorough analysis, development of usage scenarios and carrying out a communication plan, training and information campaigns.

All these actions aim to ensure a smooth transition. Check out the Microsoft Teams Adoption guide here and get started.

Our recommendation

Consider planning a full Office 365 and Microsoft Teams adoption project at your organization to make the most from your implementation.

A successful adoption takes your business to the next level and secures it for the future. We have a lot of experience in such projects, so we’ll be happy to help if you need it.

Skills required to successfully drive adoption projects

Organizational Development Business Acumen Technical Competence
Marketing & Communication Portfolio Management Leadership Capability

Most importantly, see the benefits of the journey!

Virtual meetings can be enjoyable and effective. As part of remote work, they can bring measurable benefits today and in the future. Most of all, this feature is not an obstacle, it can save your business during a crisis.

Choose proven tools, invite experts to help, prepare a new environment, plan the appropriate adoption and be one step ahead.  

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Key takeaways

  1. You don’t have to go it alone – seek out tools and partners that will help you manage the change. Use our recommendations and don’t hesitate to ask for help.
  2. Explore the various functionalities of your new solution and investigate how they can support your business. Feel free to pick and choose what works best for you.
  3. Don’t assume that your employees will all adapt at the same speed. Make sure you have some training sessions or documents and foster mutual support among teams.
  4. Most of all, be patient. Getting used to virtual meetings, like any change, will take time – but it will bring benefits in the end.

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