The Chartered Governance Institute has published guidance about virtual board meetings, which aims to help companies struggling with the impact of COVID-19. Drafted in conjunction with Lorraine Young Board Advisory Services, the guidance highlights the key points to bear in mind so that companies can use virtual meetings to good effect while the ban on public meetings is in place to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
Peter Swabey, Policy and Research Director at The Chartered Governance Institute said:
“Businesses are facing a testing time at the moment, the like of which many will never have seen before. With many organisations struggling under the weight of the impact of coronavirus, and traditional board meetings impossible because of the ‘Stay at Home’ measures now in place, boards are having to find novel ways of meeting to discuss how to steady the ship. Many people are not used to working from home and using technology to connect in this way. This guidance aims to help them navigate this difficult time by providing clear advice about how to get the best out of a virtual meeting.”
The guidance offers the following advice:
- Pick the right communication channel – if the technology does not work well the meeting will be less effective
- Ensure that virtual meetings are well structured and avoid unnecessary complexity
- Preparation is key
- The Chair will need additional techniques to run an orderly meeting
- Ground rules for participants should be circulated to all those joining the meeting
- Clear instructions on accessing the meeting system or app are essential
- Good boardroom practices are even more necessary than for face-to-face meetings.
Lorraine Young, Director of Lorraine Young Board Advisory Services advised:
“There are many challenges to be overcome with holding meetings virtually, from the technology itself to a new boardroom etiquette – trying to be heard but not interrupting someone else, for example. This guidance offers some practical tips which can help boards get the best from these meetings. We could be working like this for some time and people should not be afraid to try something new. If it doesn’t go well the first time, learn from it, get feedback and have another go.”