team check in

How to Run Effective Team Check-Ins Remotely 

Workspace communication and collaboration are evolving as remote teams become more common. Meetings like check-ins can be used as a tool to help remote team members keep each other updated, functioning as regularly scheduled work touchpoints. 

Running an effective remote team check-in takes care and effort, and that’s why we wrote a step-by-step guide to help you make the most of the meeting. Read on to find out more about how to run these meetings, and how to do so consistently.

What’s a Team Check-In?

Team check-ins are regularly scheduled, short, and informal meetings that let team members connect with each other by providing and receiving updates about their work. While they may not be as necessary in an on-site work setting, they’re a great tool for facilitating communication and collaboration in remote teams.

1. Choose the Right Tool

If your team is located within a similar time zone, a video call or voice call through something like Zoom will be a nice way to keep everyone connected. If not, asynchronous communication tools like Slack and Geekbot can also be used to run remote team check-ins. 

Whatever you choose, aim to make it as accessible as possible to reduce friction for meeting attendance.

Why Is This Step Important?

Selecting the right tool for the job means that each team member is engaged and included during meetings. Certain tools also integrate with work software and apps, making the meeting process even smoother.

2. Set a Regular Schedule

This may not be unique to remote teams, but providing team members with clarity on when to expect check-ins will help with participation. Whether you’re running team check-ins daily or weekly, establish a consistent meeting cadence and keep everyone informed, so they can plan around this commitment.

Why Is This Step Important?

It’s important to consider everyone’s schedule when you’re planning a team check-in – keeping it regular will help make sure that employees attend the meeting, regardless of time zone. 

If your team is particularly distributed, consider rotating the schedule to ensure that the team takes turns with the inconvenience of having a meeting outside of work hours.

3. Define Clear Objectives

Like with meeting schedules, having a clear and specific objective during team check-ins lets employees know what is expected of them. Team members who know the purpose of a meeting and the deliverables required will be able to plan in advance and come prepared.

Why Is This Step Important?

Having a game plan for the team check-in means that everyone knows what’s supposed to happen and when – this helps to keep everyone on track and focused on the meeting. A check-in with no clear objective runs the risk of dragging on, leaving participants confused and worn out once it’s over.

4. Share Agendas in Advance

Whenever possible, send meeting agendas, materials, and requirements ahead of time. This lets everyone prepare their equipment, documents, and questions before the meeting, reducing the risk of interruptions, technical errors, and going off track. 

Why Is This Step Important?

Sharing meeting agendas in advance signals your commitment to staying focused and being mindful of everyone’s time during the team check-in. In a remote setting, having an agenda that lists who goes first during the meeting also speeds things up, since every team member can prepare for when it’s their turn.

5. Encourage Participation

A meeting isn’t much without its participants, and a team check-in is no different. If you don’t already have prompts ready for the meeting, try the following:

  • What did you do last week/yesterday?
  • What do you have planned for the next week/tomorrow?
  • Is there anything you’re currently having issues with?

You can also allocate some extra time at the beginning or the end of the check-in for small talk.

Why Is This Step Important?

Prompting participants and giving them time and space to make meaningful connections are great ways to encourage participation during a team check-in. Done well, team check-ins can help team members feel more included. 

6. Use Video Or Asynchronous Format

Face-to-face interaction helps team members better connect with their colleagues, even through video formats. While team check-ins are best done through video or audio, not everyone is comfortable with that – remember to make allowances for those who prefer communicating through text, as it’s important to include everyone on the team.

Why Is This Step Important?

Different teams have different needs, even among remote employees. If you’re receiving feedback that asynchronous formats are better overall, shifting to a text-based team check-in will help you better align with what your team requires to do their best work. 

7. Document, Follow Up, and Improve

The best plans fall apart without documentation and follow-through. During your team check-in, document meeting minutes to be recorded and summarized with action items, so you don’t lose track of what needs to be done. When you distribute the meeting summary, add a section for feedback so you can get suggestions for improvement. 

Why Is This Step Important?

Documenting, summarizing, and following up on meeting takeaways and feedback doesn’t just ensure a continuous cycle of improvement, it also encourages participation among team members as they feel heard. Effective, efficient, and engaging meetings drive productivity and accountability, empowering team members in their work pursuits.

How to Run Remote Team Check-Ins Consistently?

One of the challenges that come with running scheduled meetings is making sure that the meeting is run consistently, especially if it’s a daily team check-in. Once you have a general structure to your check-ins, processing the meeting minutes into summaries and next actions is simple since you’ll have a template to work with.

If you’re using an asynchronous communication tool like Microsoft Teams or Slack, remote team check-ins can be automated, saving you time and energy. Try a tool like Geekbot which integrates with your preferred workspace communication tool and gets your remote team check-ins started for you.

Here are the steps:

  1. Add Geekbot to Slack or Microsoft Teams.
  2. Pick a template to work with. We chose the daily sync template, but we’ll do some customizing to make sure it suits our needs.
  3. Begin the setup process by integrating Geekbot’s daily sync template into your Slack workspace, then change the title of the template to “Team Check-In”.
  4. You can also schedule the meeting, select the participants, and write an introduction to the meeting in the next steps.
  5. Next, fill in the plain text question fields with prompts for the team check-in. You can edit them or add more questions at any time. 
  • What did you do last week/yesterday?
  • What do you have planned for the next week/tomorrow?
  • Is there anything you’re currently having issues with?
  1. Once the questions are complete, write a meeting outro and pick which channel you’d like for broadcasting. 
  2. Hit publish and Geekbot sends a series of interactive questions to your team at the time and day you have it scheduled.
  3. Team check-in responses are recorded and published in your preferred public or private channel, so other meeting participants will be able to review the responses. You’ll also be able to generate data reports and check past responses through the Geekbot dashboard for your team check-in.

Geekbot’s workspace integration is handy for remote team check-ins because it collates the responses in a way that is easy to access and summarize. Whether you’re sharing an agenda, documenting meeting minutes, or following up on next actions, do it all with Geekbot’s robust features.

Frequently asked questions

Why are remote team check-ins important for effective management?

Remote team check-ins foster communication, boost morale, and ensure alignment among distributed team members. They promote transparency, clarify goals, and address concerns promptly, leading to increased productivity and a stronger team dynamic despite physical distance.

What are some best practices for running remote team check-ins?

Schedule regular check-in meetings using video conferencing tools, encourage participation, set clear agendas, and utilize collaborative platforms for updates and sharing. Create a safe space for open dialogue, listen actively, and adapt strategies to accommodate different time zones and preferences for optimal engagement.

How can team leaders maintain engagement during remote check-ins?

Engage team members by varying meeting formats, integrating icebreakers or team-building exercises, and acknowledging achievements. Encourage active participation by allowing everyone to contribute, share successes, challenges, and ideas. Solicit feedback regularly to improve the effectiveness of the check-in process.

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