When your team works in a virtual office on Gather, it’s easy to walk up to someone for quick conversations – no meeting required!
Sometimes it’s helpful to schedule the conversation, however, especially if you’re coordinating with a group of people or want to plan the meeting in advance.
To help you hold productive and engaging conversations in your virtual office on Gather, this guide will teach you:
- How to schedule meetings
- Ways to interact during meetings
- How to keep meetings private
- How to create custom meeting rooms
- Best practices for meetings in Gather
Scheduling Meetings on Gather
There are two primary ways you can schedule a meeting in Gather:
- Directly from Gather
- With the Gather Meetings Chrome Extension
To schedule meetings directly from Gather:
Click the Calendar icon in the bottom navigation bar.
Click the option to link your Google Calendar or Outlook Calendar with Gather. This will allow you to create new calendar events directly from within Gather and will also display your upcoming meetings in this panel.
When you schedule a meeting in Gather, you can choose to hold it in three locations:
- A specific location in your office
- Your desk
- Any available private area
Note: Scheduling a meeting in a specific location does not guarantee that it will be available at the time of your meeting. Just like a real office, a previous meeting could run late or someone else on your team could enter that area without realizing you’re trying to meet there. To ensure you’re booking a meeting in an open location, we recommend choosing “Any available private area,” which will choose an open location at the time of the call.
Once the meeting is scheduled, you can easily get to it by looking at the Event in the Calendar Panel. You’ll see a button that says “Take me there” which will get you to the correct meeting location in a single click, saving you the effort of manually navigating your office (unless you want to, of course!).
You’ll also receive an in-app notification with the same “Take me there” button.
Want to move existing meetings into Gather? We can automatically audit your calendar for recurring meetings and add a Gather location to them, so you don’t have to track down each of these events on your own. Go to your Calendar Settings and select Migrate to Gather.
To schedule meetings from your Google Calendar:
Start by downloading the Gather Meetings Chrome Extension and choosing the Space you want to schedule meetings in.
Once this is installed, you’ll see a new button when you create a calendar event that says “Make it a Gather meeting.” Clicking this will give you the same three location options that you have when creating an event directly in Gather:
- A specific location in your office
- Your desk
- Any available private area
Your meeting attendees will be able to join you for the call by clicking the link in the calendar event (either from Google or within Gather) or by navigating directly to it within your virtual office.
Interacting During Meetings
When you talk with someone on Gather, you’ll find familiar features to other video conferencing apps:
- The option to turn your microphone and camera on or off
- Different video views you can easily switch between
- Screenshare (multiple people can share at the same time)
- Background blur and virtual backgrounds
- Real-time chat and quick ways to react
Changing Your Video View
When you’re talking to someone, in the upper right of the screen you’ll see a toggle that will let you change your video view.
1. Map View: Recommended for open coworking sessions or quick hallway chats
This view keeps your virtual office front and center and places coworkers’ videos in a small line at the top of the screen. It’s best when you still want to see the activity of the office while talking.
2. Meeting View: Recommended for focused conversations and meetings
This view prioritizes the videos of the people you’re talking to and places them in a grid. It’s best when you don’t want to be distracted by the activity of the office and want to focus on the conversation.
3. Full Screen View: Recommended when someone shares their screen
If you click on someone’s video, you’ll enter a Full Screen View. This focuses on that window and shifts all others in a line on the left. This is best when someone is sharing their screen or if you want to focus on a single person.
Sharing Your Screen
Multiple people can share their screen at the same time on Gather. This makes it easy to click back and forth between work, especially in cases like pair programming.
To share your screen, you’ll need to grant permissions from your computer and/or browser. Follow this help doc for more details.
Background Blur and Virtual Backgrounds
To change the background of your video on Gather, click the video toggle in the bottom navigation bar. Click “Background & Effects.”
This will allow you to blur your background or set a virtual background. You can choose from some of our preset options or upload your own.
Meeting Chat and Reactions
An important part of any remote team meeting is the ability to interact without having to un-mute. When talking to teammates on Gather, there are two ways you can silently engage: Chat and Reactions.
The Chat panel displays on the right side of the screen. You can send a chat to:
- Everyone in the room/meeting
- Everyone in the office
- A single person via direct message
Using the chat is a great way to ask questions or share ideas while someone is in the middle of talking.
Reactions allow you to react in the moment with a single emoji. They’ll show up in the lower left as a running feed of the energy of the team.
To add a reaction, use the Emote Bar in the bottom of the screen. You can also “Raise your Hand” if you have a question, which adds a visual queue that you’d like a turn to talk.
Keeping Meetings Private
One of the benefits of working in a virtual office (just like a physical office) is that you can see conversations taking place and easily walk up to people at any time.
For sensitive conversations, however, you may want a little extra privacy. In those cases, you can Lock the meeting.
To Lock a meeting on Gather, open the Participants Panel. Next to the name of the area you’re in, you’ll see a lock icon. Click this to toggle whether the are is locked or not.
Once a meeting is locked, anyone trying to enter your area will need to request permission to join. This will prevent anyone from accidentally walking in.
Other things to know about holding confidential conversations:
- Chat messages will disappear after everyone has left the meeting area.
- The Participants Panel will show everyone in your meeting space, so you can confirm exactly who you’re talking to.
Creating Custom Meeting Rooms
Your virtual office likely already has a variety of meeting areas in it. (Not sure? Learn about our virtual office floor plans here.)
A benefit of having a virtual office is that it’s easy to rearrange the furniture without having to physically move or purchase anything. This also gives you a space to move around, which opens up more dynamic meetings formats than a typical video call.
For example, you could set up a fishbowl meeting where some participants are designated as speakers while others are only listeners.
Caption: The Lemontech team holds fishbowl meetings in Gather with color-coded chairs. Anyone in the red chairs is there to observe. Anyone sitting in the white, black, or blue chairs can participate in the conversation.
Looking for inspiration? Check out these 8 meeting formats you can arrange in your Gather office.
Add collaborative objects like a Whiteboard or Pomodoro Timer
When you’re facilitating a team brainstorm or taking meeting notes, it’s often helpful to do this in a shared workspace so everyone can see what’s happening.
When your meeting is done, you can either download your work or leave it on the whiteboard. Just like in real life, it’ll stay there so you can return to it later.
Beyond the Whiteboard object, you can embed a URL to any object in Gather. This is a great way to link your tools together so everyone can access them while in your office.
Another built-in item we recommend is the Pomodoro Timer, which automatically implements the Pomodoro technique. This pairs nicely with coworking spaces, to keep everyone focused for a set amount of time before encouraging a social break.
Best Practices for Meetings in Gather
To get the most out of meetings on Gather, we encourage you to go beyond the meeting itself and interact with your coworkers before and after.
1. Walk to meetings together
As you’re preparing for a call, stop by your friend’s desk and walk with them to the meeting. Gather gives back these opportunities for casual chats outside of the meeting itself.
Headed to a full department meeting or all company All Hands? These are great opportunities to catch up with someone you don’t normally talk to in your day to day.
2. Answer follow-up questions right after a meeting ends
Gone are the days when you leave a Zoom call and have to schedule another one just for a quick follow up with a single person.
As you leave a meeting on Gather and walk back to your desk, it’s easy to chat with someone to follow-up on action items or gauge reactions. This can save you another round of scheduling calls and help everyone take action faster.
3. Clear your calendar and cancel some of those meetings
Gather makes it easy to hold quick conversations and informal catch-ups. If your calendar has become clogged up with coffee chats and standups that mostly serve the purpose of feeling connected to your team, consider canceling these meetings in favor of impromptu conversations.
As you work in your virtual office together, you’ll feel that sense of connection just by being present together. This can help keep your calendar open for the important conversations that do in fact need to be scheduled ahead of time.
Grab your team and start holding great meetings in Gather
These tips will help you hold productive, engaging video meetings for your remote team on Gather.
If you’re ready to try Gather for the first time, grab your team and start holding great meetings.