How can you ensure everyone gets a voice in the online meeting workplace?
by Kerry Smith
Over the past few years, we have seen an unprecedented shift in how we work, who could have imagined back at the beginning of 2020 that throughout the world, we would all be working from home by March 2020, and that google meets and zoom meeting calls would become the new norm for interacting with our peers and friends.
The pandemic has not just affected the way we work but for some it has also had a detrimental impact on our mental health and created anxiety and a fear for some of venturing back to the office. Especially with a new hybrid approach of working from home, combined with some days spent hot desking in the office.
For others, it has been a light relief, as they can escape the office chatterbox, or can be more productive by not being interrupted by the office gossiper. However, we still must interact online with our peers, and so at times we can't escape that one work colleague who likes the sound of their own voice and can dominate a meeting. This again can affect the wellbeing of other work colleagues and they can feel excluded, and their voice not heard and utterly feeling totally alone.
Work colleagues may have also felt totally isolated having worked full time from home over the past two years, and if they live alone and haven't ventured out due to the pandemic, they could be feeling completely isolated and alone. As we enter Mental Health Awareness week (9-15 May), where the theme is focused on loneliness in the UK. It's important to look at how the workplace can be more inclusive during a work meeting. Ensuring that every work colleague has equal representation and a voice can really have a positive impact on an individual, which in turn can have a great impact on their work productivity and the energy they bring to the meeting.
As we attempt to get back to some normality it seems that Google Meets and Zoom meetings (and the likes) are here to stay. Bearing this in mind, surely there is something out there that can ensure that each virtual team meeting can ensure equal representation for all participants? Having participated in global team meetings, it's refreshing to have software that ensures everyone has an equal say in the meetings. The name of the software is apt as it does what its name's sake suggests and that is ensure everyone has an equal time to chat in a meeting.
Equal Time is a game changer when it comes to diversity and inclusion, as this software plugin is like having a virtual meeting coach who ensures everyone has a say (it tracks all interruptions and monologues, measures the speaking times by each participant and also gender too) and monitors this and ensures equal representation by all.
Having worked in a variety of public and private sectors, I feel this would be a great asset to universities and similar public and also private sectors, to enable them to run more effective meetings and ensure everyone has a voice and a chance to speak and really level up the leadership.
What I also like about this software is that it is totally free to try! So it's definitely worth a try. Let us know what you think of the software as we love to hear feedback. (firstname.lastname@example.org) At the moment Equal Time is available for Google Meet, and there is a waiting list for Zoom and MS teams.
Check out our main page Equalicert (the company who created the Equal Time software).
For more information around Mental Health Awareness Week, check out this link: Mental Health Awareness Week | Mental Health Foundation.