29 Jul 2022

Get the most out of your hybrid meetings

According to a Mckinsey study, nine out of ten companies are transitioning to a hybrid work environment as the “new normal.” Typically, a hybrid work workplace allows employees to work remotely a few days per week. Naturally, this setup opens the door to hybrid meetings, connecting on-site and remote employees.

About hybrid meetings

The key difference between a hybrid meeting and a regular, physical meeting is that hybrid meetings are a combination of in-person and virtual participants. Virtual participants join the meeting from remote, out-of-office locations using Zoom or another video conferencing platform. On the other hand, in-person participants use a central screen to connect to virtual participants.

There are three main types of hybrid meetings:

  • In-person presenter with a virtual-only audience
  • In-person presenter with a virtual and in-person audience
  • Virtual presenter with a virtual and in-person audience

Offices require flexibility to account for these three types of hybrid meetings with their mixed audiences. Every conference room needs to have the right technology to help employees connect seamlessly with their team members.

But first, let’s have a look at why hybrid meetings are so great.

What are the benefits?

Hybrid meetings come hand-in-hand with hybrid work models. After two years of the pandemic driving remote working, companies have been changing to a hybrid work model. This transition has led to greater work-life balance, less stress, and heightened employee experience.

  • Hybrid meetings allow employees to join a meeting if they’re unwilling or unable to attend in person.
  • Hybrid meetings help teams reach employees around the world, aligning employees to common goals and strategies.
  • With physical distancing in mind, hybrid work helps companies keep their office capacity at 50% or lower
  • Employees can join hybrid meetings virtually from home, saving on fuel and Co2 emissions

Still, how do you keep everyone on the same playing field in hybrid meetings? How do you keep remote colleagues from feeling like second-hand citizens?

8 Practical tips for running a great hybrid meeting

Despite the benefits, the majority of employees are dreading hybrid meetings. Only one in ten organizations have properly begun piloting solutions for a hybrid workplace. The other 90% have only high-level visions of what “hybrid work” will look like and are missing a solid implementation plan.

Without the right tools and setup, meetings can be difficult, causing undue stress and burnout among employees. Here are some proven practices for effective hybrid meetings:

1. Plan an agenda with all participants in mind

In-person meetings should be structured around virtual attendees to level the field. On the other hand, if the presenter or facilitator is joining remotely, it’s important to keep the in-person meeting participants in mind. Make sure there’s time for all meeting attendees to speak and engage with the rest of the team.

2. Distribute focus equally

Now that you’ve prepared your meeting for maximum engagement, make sure everyone is noticed. Take care to not just greet the in-person members, but the remote team too. Keep an eye on the virtual conferencing window in case a remote attendee is struggling to cut in.

3. Consider timezones

Timezones aren’t something we think of intuitively — it’s easy to forget the one or two employees in a different time zone. Booking meetings at inconvenient times can either push employees to work long hours or not attend at all.

4. Make sure there’s a camera

Too many meeting rooms are stuck in the stone age: cameraless with no practical way for remote participants to see their on-site team. Make sure to book a meeting space with a camera when setting up a hybrid meeting.

5. Know your technology

While you’re checking the room for a camera, you might as well familiarize yourself with the rest of the room’s tech. Try some test calls, making sure the audio is up to snuff.  Double-check that the technology connects seamlessly to your conferencing platform.

6. Arrange for team contributions

Rather than expecting input and contributions from the other participants, plan moments where they can engage, share, or take the floor. This objective will take finessing, as no one likes to be put on the spot! Initiate round table discussions or invite online participants to speak up: “I’d like to hear from someone online. Does anyone have anything to add?”

7. Designate a moderator

Depending on how big the meeting is, you might have bitten off more than you can chew. Designate one participant to be a meeting moderator. The moderator can keep an eye on the meeting chat window, particularly for messages like “the audio is poor” or “I can’t see everyone.”

8. Open the chat window

It’s harder for remote participants to cut in than it is for in-person people. A virtual chat window can give them the opportunity to speak up without the awkwardness of interrupting the meeting.

The best hybrid meeting technology

We’ve mentioned the importance of a great monitor, superb camera, and reliable audio. However, what really matters is how these collaboration tools are all linked. How easily can employees sign into their conferencing platform and connect the audio and visual tech?

Back-to-back meetings don’t give presenters a lot of time to set up. Employees need to be confident that they can get their hybrid meetings up and running in no time. High-quality audiovisual tech aside, make sure you have an intuitive dock or sign-in system to connect them all.

Another way to improve the meeting experience is to invest in a meeting room management system. Joan all but eliminates room squatters, overrun meetings, and no-shows. With Joan, employees can easily see if another meeting is booked before theirs, helping them set up accordingly.

Room squatters are stunting hybrid meetings around the world. Meetings are delayed while the squatters clear out, leaving remote participants hanging. With the Joan e-paper meeting room display, people can check a room’s availability on the fly in real-time. The concise wireless room display helps other teams know if there is a meeting after theirs, keeping overrun meetings to a minimum. If a meeting does run overtime, the participants can re-book the room directly from the touchscreen display.

As for no-shows, if a team doesn’t check in within a set period of time, the room gets marked as “available,” which is great for ad-hoc meetings.

All-in-all Joan offers solutions that ensure you can start your hybrid meetings without stress and ready for success. 

Get in touch with our sales team for ideas, on how to improve your meeting experience.