One of the big stories to have emerged from the pandemic has been the UK’s biggest firms’ surprising flexibility. The same firms that strongly denied their workers’ rights to enjoy flexible hours and remote working have found it within their power to have their entire workforce work and collaborate remotely. Nonetheless, and although productivity remains high in remote-working firms, there are times when face-to-face business is still preferable. This article explores three such moments when sitting in the same room means everything in business.
There’s no doubt that those meetings in which you’re expecting to close important business deals, hire high-level executives, or merge your company with another, should be conducted face-to-face. That’s because of the simple fact that you’ll build trust with your partners, clients, and customers when you talk to them in the flesh.
This needn’t be a rule that you observe irrespective of social distancing guidelines: you can still conduct a meeting from opposite ends of a table, following all of the best hygiene practices handed to us by scientists and government officials. But showing your face, reading body language, and sealing the deal with a (pre-sanitised) handshake can mean everything in those high-stakes meetings that crop up from time to time.
Teamwork and Collaboration
The pandemic has revealed just how much excellent technology is out there to support collaborative working from remote settings. Your team will have been using these services – like Google Drive and Microsoft Teams – for the past few months, adjusting well to the ‘new normal’ of working from home and shielding from the virus.
And yet, as workplaces open up once more, and cowering spaces welcome back their occupants, it’s clear that there remains value in meeting up for face-to-face days in which you’re able to collaborate in the same room, across the same meeting room, or on adjacent desks. For Scottish firms, serviced offices Edinburgh offer the ideal working environment for part-remote workers – helping them fuse remote working with in-situ working with flexible contracts and ‘hot desks’ as a standard.
Some Zoom meetings and conference calls simply do not work when you’re conducting business at a high level. Some business decisions – and especially those that you’d ordinarily hash out over a whole day – take time, patience, coffee breaks, and more to drive through consensus. It’s far better to conduct these meetings in person than online.
Happily, these important business meetings only happen from time to time. You’re not going to need to rent out a meeting room once a week to get decisions made swiftly. But when you need to gather your managers and your executives for key decisions, you must be able to meet in the same room – helping you reach consensus and hear competing viewpoints in the flesh.
There’s no doubt that business can be performed online with high productivity levels – but for the above three reasons, there are always moments where it’s truly more appropriate and efficient to meet face-to-face.