Written by Judy Campbell, RN
Bedside nurses talk about how they go home after their shifts and still hear call lights and bed alarms 一even in their sleep. For nurses who work remotely, we hear that “ping” alert when someone is sending us a message via chat or a calendar alarm reminding us there is a meeting in 15 minutes. The meeting reminder is usually a cue to use the bathroom, get a drink of water, brush your hair, get out of pajamas, and throw on a professional top. (We love the buttery soft scrubs Diana Jacket - still part of your most comfortable scrubs uniform, but perfect for home and easy to throw on over any top).
The COVID-19 pandemic undoubtedly led to significant changes in the way people work. Even the healthcare industry allowed those who could to work from home. Remote nursing includes roles in areas such as case management, auditing, telehealth, telephone triage, clinical informatics, nursing education, and many more. Within these roles, virtual meetings occur often, allowing access and collaboration with the team and its leaders.
In December 2019, Zoom had 10 million daily meeting participants. By April 2020, it was reported that there were 300 million Zoom participants. Surveys and research have confirmed that participants are not as engaged in a virtual space, resulting in miscommunication or mental fatigue. It’s important to mimic more traditional face-to-face meetings to combat the challenges of virtual meetings.
Get Reacquainted with Each Other
During face-to-face meetings, it is common (and important!) for team members to engage in small talk before a meeting formally begins. Taking a few minutes to check in with the team and casual conversations encourages otherwise quiet team members to participate. Open the floor for people to share resources and tips.
Working remotely can be lonesome. To build comaraderie and create a positive atmosphere to support and motivate team members. Build in a small period of time at the beginning to share personal announcements and celebrations. Allowing the team to share and socialize can build trust while encouraging participants to get comfortable speaking during the meeting.
Let's Get Physical
Sharing exercise tips or leading desk stretches can be beneficial and may energize the team audience. Remote workers spend much of the day sitting in front of the computer, often losing track of time or snoozing reminder alarms to take a break. Similar to floor nursing, avoiding bathroom breaks and missing meals are common with remote nurses. Inactivity can wreak havoc on one’s body and health.
Incorporating stretch breaks during virtual meetings can help team members improve productivity, ability to handle stress, and overall well-being. Encouraging stretching regularly emphasizes the importance of self-care and wellness, as well as offering health benefits such as reducing muscular fatigue, tension, pain, and joint issues.
Virtual games, such as icebreakers, can bring life to a meeting! Games also develop opportunities to collaborate. Incorporating fun activities can help break down barriers, encourage creative thinking, and give teams a chance to refresh and focus. The Stoke Deck provide creative, energy-boosting activities that build connections and collaboration. Kahoot is another game-based learning platform that allows meeting facilitators to create multiple-choice games, as well as other trivia and creative learning games.
Nurses who work remotely spend a lot of time in virtual meetings or time by themselves accomplishing their tasks. Despite possible telephonic or video interactions with patients or clients, the lack of a traditional work environment with social interactions can lead to virtual meetings feeling dull, dry, and transactional.
Simple-yet-meaningful socialization and positive energy impacts team morale and performance for the (much) better. Using the three methods above to stimulate team spirit and reenergize virtual meetings will pay off with employee satisfaction and retention.
And perhaps the team will be looking forward to the next meeting!
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About the Author:
Judy Campbell has been a registered nurse since 2008 and works as a certified case manager. Judy rekindled her love for writing in grad school and wants to continue to cultivate her growth and entrepreneurial spirit as a writer.