This Could Have Been an Email: An Administrator’s Guide to Condensing and Disseminating Information

It’s an Internet-age-old question: Couldn’t this have been an email? Now that COVID-19 has rearranged our lives, this question seems to come up more than usual. No one wants to be on Zoom for longer than necessary, and now that almost everything is virtual, savvy administrators need to be looking for ways to maximize efficiency and cut down screen time. In this guide, we will explore ways to keep your team on the same page—and bot the same screen.


When to Call a Meeting 

Auditory learning is difficult for some individuals and no one has a perfect memory, so it’s necessary to keep a record of all information discussed, as well as questions that may come up in the meeting. 

Introductions and Icebreakers 

One of the drawbacks to virtual learning and working is the fact that we lose the dynamics of a work environment. Employee relationships are an important part of creating a successful team, especially when a new individual joins your team, or you begin working with a new group of people. As your team grows, take the time to share introductions over Zoom and maybe even play a few icebreaking games. A Zoom meeting may not be quite the same as water cooler banter, but it’s a great way to establish a working rapport with the people you work with. 

Information Sessions 

Meetings are 100% necessary any time you are introducing a new platform, project, or another element to your daily workflow. Implementing a new strategy or assignment is a big task that requires lots of communication, and it’s important to give your team a chance to ask clarifying questions. Face-to-face question and answer sessions are especially beneficial because all members of a team get to hear the answers to their peers’ questions, further clarifying the information presented in the meeting.  

Brainstorming Sessions 

Brainstorming sessions are a collaborative effort that works best when individuals can build off one another’s ideas in real-time. Neither emails nor chat rooms can replicate the dynamic energy that can be found during a real-time brainstorming session. Collaboration comes in many different forms, but the best and most raw ideas emerge when individualcan discuss and elaborate upon their ideas for strategies, projects, and more.  


Even when you call a meeting, it’s crucial to write out the topics of the meeting to send to your teammates after the meeting. This could be a draft of your meeting outline or minutes of the meeting that a member of the team is tasked with writing down. 


When You Can Just Send an Email 

Or leave comments, or update Monday boards, or send chat messages... 

Status Reports 

Weekly or quarterly updates are a great way to keep lines of communication open and ensure that everyone is aware of goals and expectations, as well as how they are to be met. Updates like these ensure that your teammates are aware of what to expect in the coming days or weeks and putting these expectations in writing enables team members to monitor their progress over the course of a project. Check out these status report templates from Microsoft Office and Canva for inspiration: 




While it is a good idea to give general feedback in a meeting over Zoom, specific feedback like editing or minor suggestions to a project are best handled in writing. Platforms like Microsoft Teams enable users to leave comments on the work of others so that writers can see suggestions without losing their original work. Unlike feedback given over Zoom, written critiques give participants the opportunity to reference past feedback.  


 Scheduling in a virtual meeting environment can get stressful and unnecessarily complicated, whereas emailed information and customizable calendars synthesize elaborate schedules. Create a shared Outlook calendar for your team where each member can fill in their availability and scheduling needs. Other options include Microsoft Bookings, a scheduling tool, and Microsoft Excel scheduling spreadsheets like these: 

Another of our favorite scheduling options at DS3 is MS Bookings, which incorporates web-based booking calendars and Outlook integration to make scheduling a breeze. Check out our Bookings infographic for more information! 



Hit Send 

Virtual work environments present a new level of challenges and obstacles that we didn’t have to face pre-pandemic. It’s difficult to navigate our new virtual world, but Digital Solutions and Services for SOG is here to help you with all your technology-related needs.