Online board meetings improve scheduling options, eliminating the burden of travel time and cost constraints from flights and hotels. They also aid in reduce groupthink and increase diversity among board members. However, the digital world comes with its own set of issues that could result in less effective meetings.

The transition from in-person to online meetings requires a shift in the manner boards communicate and operate. Many of the elements that support the communication that occurs during in-person meetings such as the physical board book, digital presentations and sharing documents, have to be recreated to be used in an online board meeting. It can be difficult for board members to navigate the technology. A simple software for board members can streamline the process. However further training might be required to ensure that board members succeed.

Maintaining engagement and productivity is another challenge when conducting an online board meeting. The constant distraction of new discussions can consume time and distract from the most important topics on the agenda. This can be reduced by creating an agenda with 20 percent less items and breaking the discussion into 15 minute segments. Discussion forums for new issues is also a good idea.

It is also essential that remote participants can see the faces of those inside the room. This can be accomplished by avoiding the use of backgrounds or shifting the participants away from window-based lighting that could reflect on the screen and obscure the image of other board members. Additionally, avoiding distractions like cell phones and other devices can increase the participant’s ability to concentrate on the subject being discussed.