Back in December, I began a series of posts on "green teams," the idea being that it's not only us as individuals or them as companies who/that can do something about CO2 emissions. Teams can too by making wiser choices about whether they need to meet in person or not. Very soon thereafter, The Content Economy, a blog written by a handful of good thinkers in Sweden, picked up on the idea, posted to their blog that there might be something to this. Soon they held a meeting (face-to-face, causing one wag to criticize them for that but they had a good excuse - there was also a client meeting at the same time) and came up with a basic checklist for making teams greener. I posted that list back here.
Thanks to a client, who's looking to promote virtual teaming more broadly in her organization, I had reason to noodle on The Content Economy's list some more, adding to it. Some but not all of The Content Economy's list is included (reworded in some cases). I'm posting the expanded list here with the hope that you, my darling readers, will give this some thought, add some ideas, and we'll all end up with something useful. If anything belongs to all of us, it's a list like this one. (Thanks again, Oscar and company. If you'd like me to specifically annotate those considerations that you all first came up with, let me know.)
Before your next face-to-face meeting, consider these questions:
1. Do you need to have a difficult conversation?
2. Do you need to make decisions that depend on interpretation of subtle cues in body language?
3. Do you need 8 or 16 hours of continuous work together?
4. Do you have to share “things” that would be difficult to experience at a distance, like touring a facility or using a piece of equipment?
5. Have you calculated the true cost of the meeting in terms of direct expenses and personal wear-and-tear?
6. Have you done a back-of-the-envelope calculation of the meeting’s contribution to CO2 emissions?
7. Do you sometimes travel because you like it or get the feeling that you are important for doing so? Is the meeting you’re planning one of those?
8. If you do absolutely need face-to-face, could you:
A. Organize a high-end video conference if people have never seen one another?
B. Or, conduct a series of highly organized conference calls over a week’s time?
9. If you absolutely need face-to-face, are you traveling to the most convenient location for everyone?
10. Is everyone attending the meeting essential? Could some call in for part of the meeting?
11. If you choose not to travel, can you explain your decision clearly to others?