A month and a half ago, we had a high profile speaker come to our headquarters and some of our remote staff wanted to be included in her training presentation. We set them up in Adobe Connect, we turned on the web cam in the conference room, we projected the remote staff on the screens in the front of the room (so we wouldn’t forget about them), and then… we forgot about them.
They were seen, but not really heard, during the presentation.
We struggle to include remote staff in our meetings and training sessions. Have you had similar problems?
Recently I was involved in a training program and the organization that hosted the event may have stumbled upon a better way to include remote staff.
We set up the room so that participants would sit at small tables, with five people per table. Several remote staff were going to attend this workshop and the host organization placed a couple of laptops on the tables and called the remote staff via Google Hangouts.
The remote staff members “sat” (via laptop and Google Hangouts) at the tables with the other participants and they engaged in small group discussions and large group activities along with everyone else.
During a gallery walk in which participants were asked to move around the room, someone carried a laptop with them so that the remote staff could engage in the gallery walk.
They even participated in role play as equal partners in the activities.
It was a great reminder that technology combined with physical cues (like laptops placed at the tables, among the rest of the participants) can help make the distance between headquarters and remote offices seem a little smaller.
What kinds of things have you been able to do to ensure your remote staff stay engaged when participating from afar?