Hybrid Meetings Technologies and Strategies Designed for Today’s Workplace
Today, most employees prefer working from home, at least a few days a week. Thanks to technology, this workplace trend is possible. Even after the pandemic, many employers expect their workers will probably be working from home.
So, as a savvy employer, finding solutions that enable your staff to continue interacting with their office colleagues through hybrid meetings is key. After all, working remotely is a motivating factor and seems to boost productivity.
Let’s agree on this, hybrid workplaces are here to stay. So, it’s essential to develop the best strategies to integrate hybrid meetings to the office.
Remote workers need to feel as part of the organization akin to their in-person colleagues. But to achieve this, companies need to adapt the best practices for hybrid meetings.
Below are five strategies that can help you conduct a successful hybrid meeting.
1. Get the Right Infrastructure
In hybrid meetings, some people will be in a conference room while others attend the sessions from remote areas. To hold these meetings, you need to have AV integration (audio and visual equipment) for video calls in your meeting rooms.
People in the room need to hear and see clearly what their remote colleagues are saying. So, remember to invest in high-quality video and audio devices. The AV solutions you select should be easy to operate, flexible, help in coordination, support BYOD (bring your own device), and fit the organization’s specific needs.
Today, you’ll find many AV equipment you can choose from. Some popular video conferencing solutions include zoom rooms, Cestron flex or mercury, Aver VC, Logitech, and Polycom.
A movable web camera is a good choice if the meeting room is considerably large, and you need to focus on different speakers. Some cameras can be operated using a remote, so you won’t need to leave your seat to go and move it.
In addition to hardware, you also need to have software unless you’re using a device that comes with pre-installed software, such as zoom room. Some common software includes Microsoft teams, zoom, skype, Webex meetings, google workspace, and Blue jeans.
Depending on your budget, you have many options of AV solutions to choose from. Here, be sure to get an AV technician to help you make the best choice and install the equipment.
2. Use a Suitable Seating Arrangement
As the meeting rooms are installed with the right AV equipment, it’s essential to consider the seating arrangement. This arrangement will be affected by the number of in-house participants and by the devices you have selected to use.
If the in-person participants are few, then you can sit in one row and face in one direction where the screen is located. Otherwise, if the number is higher, you can use the “U” shaped seating positions where all people can see the screen.
Other seating styles can be adapted depending on the number of participants. These include the classroom style, auditorium, board room, and banquet style.
Whatever seating arrangement you select for your meeting spaces, ensure everybody can see and be seen by the remote attendees. Plus, try to minimize imbalances by ensuring everyone has equal access to microphones and other resources.
3. Train Meeting Participants
User training should focus on two aspects: using the meeting applications or new features, and meeting etiquette. Such training should also be done before the meetings start. A training session ought to be conducted by a person who has used the platform before or a technician who installed the system.
This move helps reduce time wasted by meeting participants as they try to figure out how the platform works. Similarly, this plan ensures the meeting flows smoothly, and everyone benefits from the hybrid meeting.
Next, to ensure good practices are followed in the meeting, users should be taught meeting etiquette. These are the acceptable behaviors that meeting attendants are expected to portray. For instance, users should be informed when to turn on and off their microphones and the videos in a zoom meeting.
Sometimes, this means participants have to raise their hands before speaking and only speak when called upon. Else, they can use the chat features to give quick comments or ask questions. Phones should also be set on silent mode to avoid interrupting the speakers.
4. Encourage Participation
The whole purpose of a meeting is to involve others in a discussion or decision-making. So, make the meeting inclusive by giving everyone an equal chance to participate.
Virtual meetings are not significantly different from traditional face-to-face meetings. You still need to prepare the agenda and communicate the purpose of the meeting in advance so that team members can come prepared.
One way to encourage participation is by asking questions and comments from the participants. If many people are willing to contribute, limit the time allocated to each person to ensure everyone is given a chance to speak. For those who prefer to participate through chats, read the chats aloud to make sure they reach everyone.
In a zoom meeting, it’s important to have a moderator, to monitor those who have raised hands—meaning they don’t go unnoticed. But assuming you have many remote participants, how do you solve this concern? Appoint in-person attendees to act as averters by monitoring the chats and activities of remote attendees and helping with coordination.
To ensure members feel relaxed in a hybrid meeting, a short time should be set before the start or at the end of a meeting where members can socialize just as they would if they were all in the same room. If the large number of attendants is an issue, break-out rooms can be a good option.
5. Support Time-Shifting
Holding a meeting in real-time can be a challenge if some members are in different time zones. Even those in the same time zone can experience inconveniences meaning they might be late or incapable of attending the meeting in real-time. So, it’s important to have a system that supports time-shifting.
This solution allows remote participation by team members who come late. In this setting, team members can access records of the meetings and add their own contribution. So, keeping meeting records in a collaborative platform can be an excellent choice.
Some tools that can help to collaborate remote meetings include virtual whiteboards, screen annotations, Google Drive, and chat functions found in the virtual platform.
In some cases, meetings can be recorded in video form to help those who could not attend in real-time. Remote employees can, thereafter, access the recordings and see how the meeting proceeded. This strategy will help facilitate effective collaboration regardless of the time differences.
Support Remote Work Through Hybrid Meetings
Hybrid meeting strategies can help to provide a seamless collaboration among employees. The selection of applications and technologies should be done carefully to support hybrid work. This means you need to ensure selected applications are compatible with user devices to support them in their remote work while averting any issues.
Planning to invest in an AV integration project? Mint solutions can help maximize your teams efficiency by ensuring users interact more effectively through streamlined audio visual solutions that support collaboration.
Let us help you build a culture of productivity through our AV solutions—custom-built to facilitate an immersive user experience. Call us at (813) 235-8497 to begin your audio-visual integration project.