Why hybrid meetings?
The great interest in more flexible forms of work, especially hybrid meetings, has awakened new expectations and aspirations in employees. As a result, organisations that do not support flexible working arrangements risk increased employee turnover, reduced employee engagement and limited ability to attract future talent. Hybrid meetings also offer companies other ways to reduce real estate and facility costs, promote employee well-being, and support inclusion and diversity.
The benefits of hybrid meetings
Despite the many complexities and challenges of living and working during a global pandemic, employees are still recognising the many benefits of working from home for them and their organisations.
These benefits include better work-life balance, greater ability to focus with fewer distractions, more time with family and friends, reduced commute time and expenses, improved IT skills, and increased motivation.
Other benefits of flexible working include saving office space, increasing employee job satisfaction and reducing absenteeism. The full benefits of hybrid work as a specific form of flexible work have yet to be fully explored, but we can expect that, with proper implementation and support, it will deliver similar benefits to employees and organisations.
Our top tips for successful hybrid meetings
1. Identify the purpose of the meeting (e.g. decision making, information sharing or collaboration) and see if it fits into a hybrid approach. Then communicate the expected outcome so everyone can be prepared.
2. Avoid “differentiation” and work to ensure that every attendee has a consistent experience. Take steps to involve remote participants, give everyone a chance to speak, and name everyone if necessary.
3. Don’t only default to people you can see or those in the meeting room; make sure everyone has an equal say. For example, use the chat or hand-raising functions, and explain how questions or comments will be answered at the outset. Don’t just bring in remote participants at the end; make sure they can contribute throughout.
4. Encourage and help teams in developing their own hybrid meeting principles. This could include things like how often and for what purpose to meet physically, what technologies to utilise, and how to guarantee that communication is inclusive.
5. Determine the important communication channels; not every communication will require a meeting. Consider whether there are any alternative options. There are numerous ways to communicate, but having too many might be confusing. Decide on a principal channel for each purpose, including one for online meetings and another for messaging. Make sure that everyone understands how to use them to their best potential.
6. Allowing participants in the meeting room to start side conversations that remote participants can’t hear or participate in is not a good idea.
7. Avoid employing equipment in the room that those attending remotely can’t see (such as a flip chart or visual aids). Present slides using the available remote technology.
10. Start or continue in-person conversations before the meeting (or after remote participants have arrived) or after they have departed.
11. Every essential meeting should be documented by taking notes and writing down the outcomes.