Like many of us, I’ve been working from home extensively these last few months. We’ve been using Microsoft Teams to facilitate our daily stand up meetings until we’re safe to return to the office in large numbers.

Collaborating online isn’t without its problems of course. Off the top of my head I can think of:

  • Accidentally interrupting colleagues/being interrupted by colleagues when the connection is a bit flaky.
  • Being unable to infer a tone/mood/sentiment from a colleagues unless video is on and I can interpret their facial expression.
  • Not being able to walk over to a whiteboard and draw something out – instead being constrained by whichever digital tool is in use.

However there is one huge advantage to all these meeting tools – being able to record meetings.

Just one simple request “anyone mind if I record this meeting?” gives so many advantages when agreed to.

  • Missed the point of what someone said? Go back over it at your leisure and ask questions if you’re still confused.
  • Misunderstood something someone said? Listen to the meeting again, and and perhaps the thing that’s confusing you is introduced earlier/ elaborated on later.
  • If you’re trying to understand a tricky domain, no more embarrassing. “I know you already explained this to me 3 times before but…” situations. You can refresh your knowledge at will – another form of spaced repetition.
  • Forced along to a meeting where it’s not relevant to you for large sections? If it’s recorded, then you won’t miss anything and you can skip large sections later. Plus points for working from home folk who do some housework/childcare during this ‘dead time’ 🙂
  • Depending on how complex the meeting content is, you can play back at faster than 1 x speed.

Best of all though , you can try and opt out of more meetings by saying you can catch up later on what’s relevant. As long as you keep that promise, you can make meetings bend around your day and not the other way around.

As long as you don’t need a say in the meeting “there and then”, then you should be able to get this agreed to. No longer does everyone need to be available at the same time. I know the tendency is to get people to attend meetings ‘just in case’, but I’d be inclined to push back. You can say something like:

“Record the meeting, and contact me if you actually need me for anything. Any questions, you can give me the 5 second version during the live meeting. I’ll be going back over the full recording later on anyway”

Why not leverage recording meetings for your own productivity boost? And if you’ve got any other ideas on that, why not contact me and let me know? I’ll give credit in any future articles.

By James