Virtual Boardroom Advantages over Physical Board Meetings

A robust board meeting framework is essential to any company’s governance and development. With the current global situation and the overall tendency towards remote work, effective board meeting technologies are on the rise. But what exactly is the role of virtual board meetings in modern board assemblies?

What is a board meeting?

A board meeting is a formal gathering of the company’s board of directors that might include guests from within and outside the organization. Depending on the purpose of the meeting and the company’s size, board meetings fall under various categories. For instance, by frequency:

  • A regular board meeting will happen according to a predetermined schedule. Regular meetings can occur monthly, quarterly, or annually and will always be announced beforehand.
  • A special board meeting facilitates major decision-making. Such meetings can be both planned and spontaneous.
  • An emergency board meeting takes place when the company is facing unexpected news, unprecedented crisis, or any other extraordinary situation. According to most companies’ protocols, emergency meetings can happen without prior notice.

A big part of what is a board meeting is the purpose of each assembly. For example, the board directors can gather to evaluate performance, review policies, address pressing issues, and act on their legal duties. 

Additionally, board meetings come in several distinctive formats. The three main board meeting variations are a physical board meeting, a virtual board meeting, and a hybrid of both. Although the settings vary, the outcome is measured the same — by the level of effectiveness.

Virtual board meeting vs. physical board meeting

A virtual boardroom is a technology-based representation of the traditional boardroom environment. The present-day virtual board meetings originated as teleconferences, where some members could participate remotely via audiovisual appliances.

Today, a virtual board meeting is a multi-dimensional mechanism that allows companies to enhance decision-making procedures significantly. There are many reasons to set up a virtual boardroom, such as:

  • Time and space limitations that don’t allow to include the desired number of participants
  • Geographical distance between board members
  • Health and safety restrictions that prohibit physical gatherings
  • Short-notice, typical for emergency board meetings

The key difference between virtual board meetings and physical assemblies is holding discussions and making decisions remotely.

Virtual boardroom advantages

Utilizing a virtual boardroom can visibly improve the efficiency of the board of directors. Three areas indicate a clear advantage of virtual board meetings:

  • Cost. Board portals is the most optimal way to cut down the costs by excluding the need to cover transportation and accommodations, printout materials, utilities, and food and beverages.
  • Attendance. Due to enhanced convenience, virtual board meetings present higher participation levels. Plus, with the option to access the meeting’s data offline, the directors can contribute post-factum.
  • Diversity. Combining remote communication technology and perceptive analytics allows the boards to consider a larger number of opinions. Consequently, a virtual board meeting is often a guarantee of making a more inclusive, well-rounded decision.

Top virtual boardroom features

On top of being more cost-effective, inclusive, and convenient, advanced virtual boardroom providers offer an abundance of highly effective tools. Here are some of the most noteworthy:

  • Automatic agenda and minute builders
  • Interactive data gathering tools, such as voting, polls, and Q&A
  • Unlimited resource center with instant access to all board materials
  • Diverse platform and device integration
  • Internal and external links for gradual data distribution between members
  • Enhancement tools for visual and hearing impairments
  • Engagement analytics
  • E-signatures
  • Unified task manager for tracking past, current, and future projects
  • Offline access for absent members

Using the above and many other highly beneficial virtual boardroom features can serve as a great asset to organizing productive meetings. And the most optimal approach to hosting an effective remote gathering is combining sophisticated software with fundamental principles of efficient board meeting coordination.

5 principles of hosting an effective board meeting

Five factors can help evaluate any given board meeting’s effectiveness:

  • Objectives. A board meeting has to have a clear goal to ensure the most optimal time management. This way, all participants are focused and constructive throughout the gathering.
  • Organization. Depending on the meeting’s intent and regularity, the directors will follow a particular structure and rules.
  • Inclusivity. It is essential to include a variety of participants by considering such factors as gender, cultural background, physical disabilities, etc. Also, board meeting administrators need to make sure that every member has an opportunity to contribute.
  • Convenience. Every organization’s board of directors features people that are vital to the company. Therefore, it is critical to consider every member’s availability and capacity.
  • Security. Utmost confidentiality is fundamental to board meetings. While the non-disclosure principles are typically implied during physical gatherings, virtual boardroom users need to make sure the data remains secure. 

Learn more about how to make online board meetings effective.

The bottom line on virtual board meetings

A virtual board meeting can substantially upgrade a board assembly experience. By saving everyone’s time and offering multiple tools for technological advancement. Virtual boardrooms have a chance to completely replace physical meetings in the foreseeable future. 

However, there are certain drawbacks to avoiding face-to-face board interactions altogether. During virtual board meetings, participants tend to share less crucial data due to information security concerns. Plus, many members succumb to passive listening, which reduces engagement and devalues the significance of each meeting.

But the behavioral traits of virtual board meeting attendees are not necessarily an obstacle. Rather, instruments for approaching virtual boardroom organization with more attention and consideration. To ensure secure and productive collaboration:

  • Look for virtual board meeting software providers with compliances such as SOC2 and ISO 27001
  • Take advantage of data protection tools such as encryption, multiple-step authentication, watermarking, and Fence-View
  • Motivate virtual boardroom participants to contribute by using interactive data gathering tools and addressing each member via live chat

Additionally, ensure to establish a healthy mix of virtual board meetings and scheduled physical gatherings. Scheduled personal interaction can boost internal communication and enhance board dynamics.

Virtual boardroom providers offer convenience and technological versatility that are inaccessible to a physical boardroom. And the key is to find a virtual board meeting software that meets your company’s security and organization requirements.