Remote meetings have become ubiquitous in the working world. As more places shift to remote and hybrid office environments, video call suites will become the new boardrooms.
As organizations adapt to these rapid changes resulting from the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic, many are scrambling to streamline their remote processes. To help you optimize your remote meetings, we recommend the following best practices.
Remote Work Isn’t a Perk – It’s Unavoidable
As the internet strengthens its ubiquitous hold in the working world, telecommuting has simply become a fact of everyday life for millions of people in the United States. In 2017, data showed that nearly 4 million people worked remotely.
Compare that to the United States’ approximate population of 328 million people, and that means slightly more than 1% of Americans work at home. If you filled a room with 100 people, at least one person, statistically speaking, telecommutes. Also remember that these numbers are pre-2020. With a rapid spike in remote work due to the COVID-19 pandemic, that number is guaranteed to have increased by now.
Working from home was once considered an attractive, occasional perk for many professionals. Now, home office products are a multi-billion dollar industry. This report estimates worldwide home office product revenue to surpass $80 billion USD over the coming decade.
Home offices are not disappearing anytime soon, which means that remote meetings will become more normalized over time. Considering this reality, businesses need to possess the means to offer each employee the means to communicate effectively with coworkers during working hours.
COVID-19 Made remote meetings Essential
Social distancing standards brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic has taught businesses of all kinds that social distancing and productive remote work are possible. For the majority of 2020, organization leaders in the United States have been able to test out these new working models firsthand.
For future managers and executives, knowing how to prepare for, participate in, and drive productivity during remote meetings will be essential skills beyond just this year. The ones who can inspire employee action in remote settings will stand out among their peers.
Remote meetings’ Greatest Enemy: Packet Loss
If you are reading this, we can assume you are interested in maximizing efficiency during conference calls and remote meetings. Before you can learn these best practices, you also need to understand your greatest threat: packet loss.
What is Packet Loss?
Most digital voice and video services compress data into “packets” to transmit messages quickly across a network to their intended destination. Packet loss refers to any instance where the packet partially or completely fails to reach its endpoint.
SIP trunking sends packets through a direct, virtual endpoint-to-endpoint connection that mimics the voice quality of a landline phone but without the miles of physical cables. This is intended to reduce packet loss and provide an overall improved call experience.
What Causes Packet Loss?
Packet loss can be caused by a variety of factors including, but not limited to:
- Unreliable or spotty wireless internet connection
- Network congestion
- Overwhelmed servers
Oftentimes, many remote meetings involve remote team members performing a direct sign-in using their at-home connection. Their call is then competing for their bandwidth against other devices in the house like smartphones, televisions, other computers, and video game consoles.
This is where SIP trunking can play a vital role in cutting through the network clutter and establishing a clearer communication experience. Using a SIP trunk unifies your network’s communication across a redundant network that minimizes packet loss and strengthens call quality.
What Are Some Examples of Packet Loss During a remote meeting?
If you were not familiar with the term “packet loss” before reading this, you have probably encountered it before. Excessive packet loss can derail a meeting, disengage participants, and result in wasted time for all involved.
Here are some common examples of packet loss:
- Voice and video out of sync
- Lagging voice and/or video
- Voice/video messages sending out of sequence
- Muted video for reasons not attributed to microphone error
If you find that you are experiencing technical errors like these, or other similar ones, it may be time to incorporate a SIP trunk into your business’s communications.
Benefits of Using SIP Trunking for remote meetings
As more businesses adapt to the changing work environment, reducing pain points in call quality will help further blur the line of distinction between remote and in-office work. SIP trunking can provide the following benefits, in addition to many others:
Minimal-to-No Packet Loss
Look for a SIP trunk provider that routes your SIP traffic through a reliable network. For example, SIP.US only utilizes Tier-1 upstream providers to achieve a high-quality voice experience through a redundant network.
Unlike sending your message packets through a large technology conglomerate’s servers, our SIP-dedicated network ensures that your calls are not competing for server space against other digital products and services. This more direct, frictionless experience nearly eliminates common packet loss threats present in other digital environments.
Beyond preventing packet loss, leveraging a redundant network will ensure that your call quality remains consistent. No one wants to join a remote meeting with incredible voice clarity one day and then suffer through an unlistenable mess of distorted voices the next.
This is why we prioritize offering solutions that provide your business with optimal voice quality and redundant network reliability. If you are always worried about the reliability of your SIP trunk solution, it is not providing the benefits you’re paying for.
Our goal is for SIP.US trunking solutions to integrate seamlessly with your existing digital infrastructure. This way, you can continue focusing on the rest of your business and trust that our network will deliver like it was always there.
Easy for the Whole Team to Use
Many SIP trunks do not offer flexibility to integrate with your legacy analog systems, or they may require specific connections to function. Again, if a SIP trunk provider is impeding your ability to streamline your unified communications, it is not doing its job.
To make adopting a SIP trunking solution as frictionless as possible, you can connect to our network using the bandwidth supply you prefer. Whether you prefer cable, DSL, T-1, or Metro Ethernet, you can implement your solution based on what works best for you.
If you are hesitant to replace your legacy PBX equipment with SIP trunking, don’t worry! There’s a solution for that, too.
There are IP-PBX adapters that will convert your voice data and transmit it over the internet instead of traditional PRI lines. This allows you to continue using the devices you are most comfortable with while also benefiting from enhanced quality and lower cost.
Remote Meeting Best Practices
Now that you have an understanding of how SIP trunking can solve common complexities with workplace communication, let’s discuss some remote meeting best practices for when you are getting ready to conduct your next conference call.
Plan to Prepare
For the person hosting the meeting, failure to prepare can torpedo productivity from the start. Do not invite people to a meeting before you have defined a clear purpose for it. Schedule it at a time where all participants do not have calendar conflicts and send them an email or direct message to bring it to their attention in addition to an automated notification.
Have a Clear Agenda
Develop a concise meeting agenda that communicates the purpose for the meeting, the key topics at hand, important discussion points, how it will end, and its projected run time. Once these details are covered, create an organized outline and send the document to all participants at least an hour prior.
Sending a well-written agenda to your participants will better prepare them to discuss important subjects. This way, you can shorten the introduction time, cut to the most pertinent information, and move on to the next steps faster.
Announce Participants Before Beginning
Since less and less people are shaking hands and swapping business cards in boardrooms, the meeting host ought to introduce participants at the start of the remote meeting. If there is a new person joining for the first time, the host should:
- State their name
- State their job title
- State their affiliation with the company, if not an employee
- State why you invited them to join the meeting and the value they will bring to the discussion
- Introduce them to other participants by name
If no new attendees are joining the discussion, the host should still ask all participants to announce themselves. This way, the host can make note of anyone who arrives late or is absent entirely.
Engage with Others
While preparing for your remote meeting, plan out questions you may want to ask participants during certain points in the discussion. If someone has particular expertise on a relevant subject, lean on them to play an important role in that portion of the call.
Invite Participants to Speak
Though you may be directing the meeting through its key discussion topics and wrapping it up at the end, do not turn it into a monologue. Instead, be sure to ask people questions and invite a variety of opinions on topics. Establish a standard for respectful communication, but also allow your team to share their thoughts.
Know the Ending Before the Beginning
A common piece of advice that authors share with aspiring writers: know how your story ends before you write it. You can adopt this same practice to running your meeting.
Knowing how you want your meeting to end will also help you direct the flow of the meeting and ensure all important topics are covered. Do not force the meeting to end at a particular point, but working within a framework will keep participants focused and prevent it from dragging on well past its end-time.
Take the Headaches Out of Your Next remote meeting
Simply put: SIP trunking is the best solution for common remote meeting mishaps and technical errors. By streamlining your unified communications, you can ensure that everyone is always on the same page, though you may all be in different rooms. We even offer a bring-your-own-bandwidth feature that allows you to connect to our ecosystem in a variety of methods that you prefer.
To learn more about how our network capabilities, flexible pricing model, and other features can add value to your next remote meeting, contact us anytime.