people having a business meeting in a hallway

Mobile Challenges of Huddles at Your Firm

Apr 3rd 2017

Huddle meetings (also known as stand-ups or standing meetings) are a great way to get your day started, but it can be a challenge to get everyone in the same room if you have team members in different locations.

Despite this obstacle, a remote team will benefit from these daily meetings because they reduce the isolation and lack of oversight remote team members can feel. Huddle meetings will remind them they are part of a team and keep them on track.

The beauty of a huddle meeting’s effectiveness is the real-time interaction. The goal is to ensure that everyone is heard and accountable. Team members benefit from the instant feedback and acknowledgement these kinds of check-in meetings offer.

There are many ways to hold your meetings with a remote team. Some are better than others, and it’s important to find the one that works best for your team when they’re not all in the same location. Here are a few options to try out:

The Phone Conference (Easy, but Easily Distracted)

Tried and true and low tech, the phone conference is the easiest method to implement. Everyone has a phone, and everyone knows how to use it. Set up a conference call line and you’re in business.

Despite its ease of use, you run into trouble quickly when people start to talk over one another. And it’s hard to provide input, if you think someone else might speak. Another issue is people forget to turn off the mute button ... or forget to turn it on (we’re are all guilty of this).

It’s hard to manage a large meeting for these reasons, but by having a clear speaking order and a strong meeting leader, a lot of the difficulties can be overcome. After each speaker, allow the team to provide their input before moving on to the next speaker.

The Video Conference (Good, but Technology Can Fail)

A step up is the video conference. The benefit of a video conference is the face-to-face interaction. You can read a lot from people’s expressions and it also ensures participants are paying attention. 

With more advanced technology comes more advanced difficulties. We’ve all tried to do a video call on a bad internet connection, and it’s not fun. You’ll still have troubles with people talking over one another, and adding an internet delay will only make this problem more frustrating.

It’s vital to test a few video conference options first to ensure you have a quality service that is easy to use by everyone. Success with this method will also come down to clear speaking order and a strong meeting leader to keep things going smoothly.

The Millennial Approach (Ideal, but New)

You may not have noticed but the majority of your team are now millennials. There is an assortment of messaging apps these days (e.g., Slack) that businesses have implemented for real-time communication and team management. These apps are great for your daily huddle meetings, as they provide real-time interaction, quick relay of your team’s status, and a written account that can be referred back to by everyone.

One obstacle you may face is implementation. If possible, start by running trials on smaller teams before pitching a firm-wide implementation. They’re easy to adopt because they function just like any other messaging app.

You’d be amazed how these applications can improve your team’s efficiency and even morale. Same rules apply as above – you need a meeting leader and a speaking order to prevent threads of chaos taking over the efficiency of your specified huddle time.

The Worst-Case Scenario: Email (Better Than Not Doing Them)

Email “meetings” aren’t efficient, they don’t provide instant feedback, they clog your inbox, people don’t feel heard ... the list of annoyances goes on and on. I don’t know a scenario where you should use it, so let’s call it the worst-case scenario.

At the very least, you can get your team’s status on their work, and that’s helpful. Just don’t expect it to be as fab at building that camaraderie feeling.

Final Thoughts

Now that you have a few ideas about holding remote huddle meetings, don’t let not being together stop you from incorporating them. Huddle meetings will become a vital aspect of your team’s day, whether you do it in person or remotely.

From increased efficiency to increased morale, the benefits are worth the 10 to 15 minutes every day. There are many options available for a mobile team, and with a bit of trial and error, you’ll find the best that suit your needs.

Related article:

The Benefits of Daily Huddles at Accounting Firms

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