How to Keep Employees From Scrolling Through Memes During Your Conference Calls

In a culture saturated with memes, it’s difficult to prevent employees from searching for the latest meme; even when they’re in an important conference call. When people get distracted or bored, they tend to reach for the smartphone or navigate to social media in their browsers, and from there, it’s quite difficult to regain their full attention. Memes are quite entertaining, after all, but this is a work environment and should be treated as such. Here’s how to keep employees from scrolling through the week’s best memes while on a conference call. 

Block Websites on Work Computers 

If employees are using work computers, the simple way to avoid meme searches and scrolling is to block certain websites in the browser. There is plenty of software available out there to achieve this goal and keep internet browsing only work-related. That being said, your employees may still need to use search engines like Bing or Google, and since you can’t block those sites, you might find employees are still browsing Reddit’s meme collection during the conference call. 

If your blocking software doesn’t get the job done, you can use screen sharing software to check on what your employees are doing on their screens during the call. If they’re joining from a smartphone, you might have a harder time preventing meme scrolling, but you can certainly catch them off-guard by asking questions about what was just discussed. That way, you’ll know if they were paying attention or not. 

Plan Out Your Meetings 

A meeting without a plan is usually a meeting that becomes boring rather quickly. Unorganized meetings cause distractions and can make callers disengage much earlier in the call; opting instead for the instant gratification of meme scrolling. In order to keep everyone on track and those pesky memes at bay, you’ll want to have a plan for every meeting and call. Use an agenda, set a goal, or discuss the call’s subject matter beforehand to ensure everyone is one the same page. 

Don’t let meetings run for longer than an hour if you can help it. Keeping your conference calls somewhere between 30 and 45 minutes is the best way to have effective meetings and keep everyone engaged. After about 50 minutes of boring subject matter, people tend to look elsewhere for something to keep them entertained so they don’t fall asleep. Short and sweet is the best approach when you’re planning conference calls or meetings. 

Use Video Chatting

One of the easiest ways to guarantee your callers aren’t scrolling through memes is to use a conferencing service that includes video chat as an optional feature. With video chat, you’ll be able to see your callers’ faces and immediate surroundings and can easily tell whether or not they’re paying attention. This is a great accountability tool, as it’s almost the same as having an in-person meeting where you can see everyone. 

If your callers are using their own smartphones to join the video feed, they’ll have a harder time scrolling through memes without someone noticing. Even if they’re using a webcam from a work or home computer, it will be pretty obvious when they’re paying attention to something other than the call. 

Keep Participation High 

Encouraging callers to provide input and participate in the call can help keep them engaged and make for more effective calls. You’ve invited everyone to the call because they are related in some way to the content, or are otherwise affected by it in some way. Ensuring they participate keeps the meeting productive and can help you figure out who not to invite next time. 

If you have guests that never say anything, you may simply want to exclude them from the next meeting, as they’re not adding any valuable input. Your meetings should be short, concise, and provide ample opportunity for everyone to speak. If someone isn’t speaking or participating by choice rather than by a lack of opportunity, they’re not adding anything to the meeting. 

Have Rules

As important as a goal and/or agenda is to a meeting, the rules are equally as important. If you’d like employees to stay off of their phones during a conference call, make sure you voice the rule beforehand. Setting ground rules lets people know what’s acceptable during the meeting and what isn’t. If they don’t know, how can you be upset with them for breaking a rule?

The Bottom Line 

Structure, engagement, and solid ground rules are what makes for effective meetings. In order to keep your callers from scrolling memes during a call, you have a few options; you can monitor their computers, set ground rules, ensure your meeting has an agenda, keep participation high, or use video chatting instead of audio-only feeds.  


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