How Can Your Company Benefit from Hybrid Meetings?
Today, many companies across the globe are adopting a part-time in-office schedule or are experiencing a fully remote work environment. These workplace shifts mean that a mix of onsite and remote meeting participants has become common for team collaboration and communication. In a recent Global Workforce Survey, 98% of those surveyed expect all meetings to include remote participants. This mindset means more companies are open to adopting a hybrid meeting format.
During the pandemic, the shift from the traditional office space to a hybrid workplace created a dramatic change in how we meet. According to a recent survey from Gallup, 59% of people would prefer to continue working remotely as much as possible even after COVID-19 lockdowns and restrictions are lifted. A hybrid meeting style is an inevitable component of our “new normal.”
What is a Hybrid Meeting?
Hybrid meetings refer to a meeting in which the audience can attend either in-person or virtually. The attendees use audio and video conferencing technology to interact and participate virtually to keep the entire audience on the same page. Regardless of your employee’s location, attendees can listen to the meeting presentation, provide insights, and seamlessly collaborate with the team. The primary goal of a hybrid meeting is to provide a consistent experience for all attendees, no matter how your team chooses to participate.
Successful hybrid meetings create a unique experience for different types of attendees no matter where they are located. Combining functionalities of face-to-face and virtual meetings into a hybrid model empowers meeting planners to have a vast spectrum of options to engage with participants. Companies with a hybrid workplace need to become familiar with the best practices of this meeting model and the benefits your company can experience when shifting to a hybrid meeting environment.
What are the Benefits of Hybrid Meetings?
Your company wants meetings to deliver value to your team members as a result of having attended. Hybrid meeting technology and planning also allows your company to add value to your meeting attendees. Some key benefits your team can experience from implementing hybrid meeting solutions include improving efficiency, boosting engagement, promoting flexibility, allowing for sharing and rewatching, collecting analytics, and enabling cost-effective meeting collaboration.
Improve Efficiency and EngagementHybrid meetings allow your team to have more productive time than solely onsite meetings, which often require resources, travel time, or preparation to attend. The hybrid meeting style can be structured for more employees to participate. This engagement can optimize inclusion and boosts employee opportunities to be part of the business’s growth, strategy, and success. In-person and remote employees can work in tandem to build motivation and inclusion in a professional setting with a hybrid meeting solution.
Allow for Better FlexibilityIf your company is struggling to meet higher attendance numbers, hybrid meetings might be your solution and allow a level of scheduling flexibility. Your employees live busy lives, and balancing their professional and personal priorities is essential to both their work-life balance and your company’s success. The hybrid meeting model can allow for more convenience for attendees by eliminating travel time and expense and enabling them to choose the meeting location that best fits their personal situations and preferences.
Rewatch and Share Meetings A hybrid meeting solution gives your employees the ability to rewatch or share meetings with those not in attendance. Recording the meeting allows your attendees to view it later and share it with their team. This enables your team to stay up to date on the latest company news and boost efficiency.
Collect Data and ReflectWe live in a data-driven world. Collecting data and compiling statistics and analytics to reflect and respond with as a company are valuable ways for you to grow employee and stakeholder engagement, as well as optimize meeting spaces and technology for the best ROI. Implementing hybrid meetings allows your company to formulate reliable data about onsite and remote meeting participation, conferencing technology used, and meeting engagement. Conferencing and collaboration platforms with integrated analytics can collect and generate reports on a number of meeting parameters. This data allows for practical reflection and strategic insight for your company to develop and enhance your hybrid meetings in the future.
Enable Cost-Effective CollaborationThe hybrid meeting model is great for your company’s bottom line. Hybrid meetings allow your company to gain greater control over costs. Virtual meetings allow your business to reduce your employee’s travel costs to bring them into the office or across the country to attend. The hybrid model can lead to saving money on office space, potentially downsizing your office to a smaller space, or shifting your budget to a co-working office environment for individuals that wish to work from an office instead of a remote option. Hybrid workplace technology can also provide a cost-effective solution to support and encourage hybrid collaboration across all of your office meeting spaces.
Understanding Best Practices for Hybrid Meetings
Some major organizations and companies have committed to allowing permanent remote work, while others are committing to a hybrid workplace model. Regardless, it’s becoming more common for businesses to hold hybrid meetings. While the hybrid meeting solution is not a new concept, it can take time for you and your company to figure out how to execute them well. Here are some essential best practices you can utilize to ensure your hybrid meetings are productive, run smoothly, and encourage team participation.
Inclusion is KeyIt is crucial that your team consciously provides an inclusive experience to make all voices heard no matter where your team joins the meeting. Make sure to include the remote team members in all meeting activities. Your team can replicate almost every in-person activity virtually in some way — plan or brainstorm how team members can engage in activities in the virtual space in ways that are approachable for everyone.
Design and Plan Meetings with Intention It’s vital for hybrid meetings to be designed and planned with a focus on the needs of the remote employees first, or equal, to the needs of the in-person employees. Create a clear plan that steers conversations and ensures that the team productively addresses all critical topics. Planning for your hybrid meeting should include specific links in the meeting invite or directions for remote and in-person attendees to engage seamlessly during the meeting.
Select the Right TechnologyIt’s essential to choose a platform that works well for you and your team. There are many types of room technologies you can utilize for your hybrid meeting. For example, Bring Your Own Meeting (BYOM) solutions enable you to drive the meeting and room technology using your own devices, allowing for a personalized meeting experience. In contrast, room-based systems typically require in-room touch panels or other equipment to initiate meetings, and the room technology dictates the meeting experience.
Also make sure that your technology supports the way you would like to collaborate. For example, many room-based conferencing systems only support presentation mode. Solutions that enable multi-participant content sharing may better support your team’s collaboration needs. Confirm your software choice works to support the priorities you established at the beginning of your hybrid meeting planning.
Set Clear Meeting Guidelines for EveryoneSetting clear meeting guidelines can help improve the hybrid meeting experience for all. If participants’ expectations are clearly defined regarding proper meeting etiquette and in-person attendance requirements, it can help equalize the meeting experience. For example, if your in-person attendees have laptops, have everyone in the room join the meeting on mute with their camera on, so the remote employees at home can see all participants. This can also be accomplished with quality meeting room cameras. Likewise, remote employees can also turn their cameras on so the in-person audience can see them too.
Designate a Meeting FacilitatorAppointing an individual to manage the technical aspects of the meeting is a helpful best practice. Designating individuals in the physical room as well as a remote facilitator helps to manage the team’s experience. Ensure these appointed facilitators are skilled with the technology in the room to guarantee that the meeting will run smoothly. Selecting technology that provides a consistent user experience across all room types – from conference rooms to huddle spaces – also helps attendees to be more comfortable and confident in hosting meetings and using meeting space technology.
Ensure Foolproof AudioUtilizing video in a meeting is very impactful, but it isn’t as vital as having strong audio. Your company would never hold an in-person meeting with a siren sounding in the room, so the audio your remote team hears must be high-quality and precise. Encourage your remote team to come off mute and ask questions directly, or if you have a large hybrid meeting, make sure facilitators can selectively unmute participants when appropriate.
Structure Interaction Opportunities for EveryoneDuring hybrid meetings, remote employees can struggle with constant interruptions or talking over team members more than others. Combat this with structured engagement opportunities so everyone can participate in the meeting. Have all attendees, virtual and in-person, raise their hands before they express their opinion. If attendees are silent, the meeting leader can call upon a team member for input to amplify engagement. Setting a standard for interactions can help ensure that there is equal participation for all.
Utilize Digital Meeting ToolsTechnology plays a vital role in hybrid meetings, but it shouldn’t be perceived as technology for remote attendees only. Instead, normalize digital meeting tools for everyone. Using digital tools like virtual whiteboards, polls, and Q&As can help level the playing field and give immediate access to everyone during the hybrid meeting. This technology helps amplify thoughts, questions, and ideas to be recorded and accessed after the meeting.
What is the Right Hybrid Meeting Solution for Your Company?
Researching a hybrid meeting solution takes time and testing. As companies redefine their office environment, your hybrid meeting technology must meet the needs and goals of your company. Once you’ve found a solution that meets your company’s goals, following best practices for hybrid meetings will help your company succeed. Over time your meetings can have a significant advantage for more robust communication and efficiency with all employees in your hybrid work environment.
Ready to Host Your Next Hybrid Meeting?
While a new meeting model may create new challenges, hybrid meetings are vital if you offer employees remote work flexibility. Meetings with both in-person and remote attendees require a bit more planning, but they can be an essential tool in today’s work environment. Understanding the benefits and best practices for hybrid meetings is the first step for helping you run your next hybrid meeting successfully.
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