UK & Ireland Featured Project: Weld Inspection & Consultancy United Utilities Thirlmere (1737)

QEM Solutions were asked by United Utilities to assist with the review of the welding process and associated with the provision of the innovative steel E-joint.

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Overseas Featured Project: Capita Symonds - Valve Inspections

QEM Solutions were contracted to carry 3rd party inspection and witnessing activities on a series of valves fabricated in Germany for a series of SGN contracts throughout Scotland.

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Energy, and the question of where we get it, has never claimed as many column inches as it does now. Climate change is an increasingly urgent concern, while war in Ukraine has, at the same time, made the whole of Europe rethink every aspect of its energy landscapes. This is a critical moment to be working in the industry.



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20 Apr 2021

Are we doing it right? Effective meetings in Microsoft Teams

Since the Covid onslaught, businesses worldwide have adopted Microsoft Teams in place of meeting in person. And while it’s true that many of us are now adept with the software, it’s likely that others still use only the bits that suit them best.

While we may get through the working day in one piece without some functionalities and etiquette, we could probably work better with the full toolset to hand. And why not? There’s still a long way to go before we’re all back in the office.

Schedule meetings with courtesy

  • Add an informative title, and brief but helpful details of the meeting intention.
  • When you add the meeting start and end time, be prepared to commit to this, so others can manage their schedules.
  • When inviting attendees, use suggested times or scheduling assistant to check their availability. As an added courtesy, be aware of creating ‘back-to-back’ meetings, leaving wiggle room if you can.
  • Choose whether to schedule a meeting for specific attendees, or make it open to a chosen channel. Opening to a channel means that whole team will receive a meeting alert in the channel’s conversations thread, potentially smoothing comms and file sharing.

Let’s see your face

Most experts agree that 70 to 93 percent of all communication is nonverbal, so let’s see your face.

  • You might want to join, settle, and only then switch on video once you’re ready.
  • Just because we can’t currently meet in person doesn’t mean we should ignore traditional introductions. The host should introduce all external guests to attendees, rather than relying on display names to do the work.
  • On that note: ensure your display name is up to date and accurate – especially if borrowing equipment.
  • Ensure your face is well-lit and avoid backlighting which throws your face into shadow.
  • Blur backgrounds to minimise distracting décor, private information, or movement of pets and family members. Select background effects to the right of the mic switch. Choosing ‘blur’ will ensure everything behind you is subtly concealed.
  • To see everyone (up to 49 people) in a Microsoft Teams meeting, click the “…” icon at the top-right of the meeting screen and select “Large gallery”.
  • Teams chooses people to display based on whether their camera is enabled and whether they’ve spoken recently. If you do end up in a meeting with more than 49 individuals, people will switch in and out of the grid based on who’s contributing most.

To mute or not to mute

  • If you’re not speaking, it’s good practice to switch your audio to mute.
  • If you don’t, every noise you or your household makes will put your face front and centre onscreen.
  • If you’re hosting, you can mute other attendees, but it’s courteous to tell them first. They can always unmute themselves when they want to speak.

Use chat to minimise disruption

  • Instead of interrupting someone to share resources and other information, use the chat feature. All attendees will be able to access them during the meeting and afterwards, as they’re saved in the private chat for that meeting.
  • To draw another attendee’s attention to something without disrupting the meeting or sharing it in the chat, send them a direct message using Teams chat.

Courtesy always wins

Without the ease of communication that we get from being around each other, everyone needs to ‘up their courtesy’.

  • If you need to record a meeting, ask permission.
  • Be precise: turn up on time, wind up on time, speak only if helpful, use the chat only if your contribution will add something.
  • Be engaged. We are all jaded by isolation and online meetings. The least we can do is look interested when we do turn up. Be mindful of your body language and the effect it can have on your colleagues too.

And we’re all human

While all of this is sound advice, we are living through a global pandemic to the best of our abilities, so cut yourself some slack in other ways. If it floats your boat to wear pjs under your desk, and you’re warming your toes on a snoozing canine, then that’s just fine by us.

Chacun à son gout!