As architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) firms have adapted to remote work over the past few months, AEC employees are finding that some facets of their work translate more easily than others into the virtual world. AEC firms have found many remote work tools that are designed to aid them in reimagining their typical work day and help keep team members connected with one another from a safe distance. However, there is one facet of remote work life that has been harder to get used to: virtual construction progress meetings.

Construction progress meetings are required meetings that take place on the job site every week, or every two weeks. As a contractual obligation, all parties are required to attend these progress meetings throughout the course of the project. At these meetings all parties communicate to one another any issues or roadblocks (maybe quite literally) that have arisen, or are anticipated to arise, and all progress that has been made thus far, so everyone leaves the meeting with clearly defined action items. If construction progress meetings aren’t conducted thoroughly and on a standard schedule, projects run the risk of being derailed or delayed.

Progress meetings are necessary to align and motivate teams throughout the course of a project. Due to COVID-19, conducting a progress meeting on the jobsite with all necessary team members is no longer feasible. The good news is, with the right video conferencing software and an assist from video cameras like the Meeting Owl, your next virtual construction progress meeting will be as seamless as ever.

How to use Zoom with the Meeting Owl

The key to getting the most out of your virtual meetings is utilizing the best video conferencing platform and pairing it with a smart webcam. When you pair Zoom with the Meeting Owl you will be able to recreate the typical construction progress meeting that you’re used to, while prioritizing the health and safety of your team members and maintaining the CDC’s recommended six feet of social distancing on construction sites.

For those new to video meeting software, here is everything you need to know about using Zoom.

Once you have your Zoom account set up and you have your computer and Meeting Owl at the ready, it is time to connect your Owl.

Step 1: Plug your USB cable into the base of your Owl and connect the other end to your computer.

Step 2: Plug in the power adapter and wait for your Owl’s eyes to stop pulsing, you’ll hear a hoot.

Step 3: Open Zoom and select “Schedule”, “Join”, or follow your Zoom invite link to join a meeting.

Step 4: Click on “Join Audio Conference by Computer”.

Step 5: Click on the up arrow to the right of the Microphone icon on the bottom left of your screen. 

Step 6: Select the Meeting Owl as both your microphone and speaker.

Step 7: Select the up arrow to the right of the Camera icon on the bottom left of your screen.  

Step 8: Select the Meeting Owl as your Camera.

Step 9: Enjoy your virtual construction progress meeting!

How Construction Meetings Benefit from Face to Face Tools

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, both the CDC and the Association of General Contractors (AGC) have recommended construction companies replace in person meetings with virtual meeting technology as much as possible. Thanks to the advancement of remote meeting technology, face to face meetings don’t have to suffer just because they are being conducted remotely.

Construction, engineering, and architecture firms have important meetings that can occasionally get heated or tense. Using a video conferencing camera allows you to talk these issues out while understanding your client or vendor’s emotions at the same time.

"Before finding the Meeting Owl, we struggled with finding a platform that was easy to use and easy for others to join in if they weren't already familiar with the platform. Additionally, it was difficult to have even regular phone conference calls with a large group of people in the same room, as it was difficult to hear,” Alesha Watchowski, Project Manager for Owen-Ames-Kimball Construction shares. 

“Since COVID-19, we've been adding Zoom meetings to all of our calls, and the experience using Zoom with the Meeting Owl has been incredibly easy. The Meeting Owl allows many people to gather in one spot where they can all be heard and seen by those on the video conference. We hold weekly meetings with clients and with our internal employees, as well as spur-of-the-moment meetings where we require attendance, all of which are important to have face-to-face conversations. The Meeting Owl has been a huge support for our company during COVID-19. We have had clients ask us about our Owl after seeing how useful it is and the good audio and video quality it produces, and it helps us keep client communications clear, which is very important to us as a business," she concludes.

The benefits of face to face meetings cannot be understated, especially when you are part of a remote team.

The benefits of hosting remote construction meetings using virtual face to face tools include:

  • Being able to read the body language of the other meeting attendees and incorporate non-verbal communication into your remote meetings
  • It is easier to build and maintain rapport when you use a webcam to meet virtually because you are more able to gauge others’ mood and hesitations than if you were to meet without the visual component
  • Virtual face to face meetings are more efficient than if you were to meet through remote asynchronous communication tools
  • It is easier to keep one another’s attention when you can see each other, rather than running the risk of a meeting attendant multitasking during the meeting
  • You are less likely to have miscommunications when you can see one another
  • For newly remote workers, video conferencing is a more natural replacement to in-person meetings because of the maintained face to face component

For high-performing construction firms, maintaining client relationships is a key component of completing projects efficiently. With in-person meetings off the table, fostering these relationships virtually has naturally stoked some trepidation. However, when you use the right remote tech tools and accept the potential for a learning curve, your virtual construction progress meetings will be as productive and safe as ever.

To find out how your firm can Build From Anywhere with help from the Meeting Owl, download the Meeting Owl Guide for Architecture, Engineering, and Construction.

meeting owl for construction with construction tools