While remote operations have somewhat given way to hybrid operations, this does not mean that your employees working remotely are having an easier time—particularly when they are participating in meetings with both in-house and remote participants. Let’s delve into how you can ensure that these meetings remain equitable for everyone involved.
Hybrid Meetings Offer Many Benefits, But Also Challenges
There are a lot of ways that hybrid meetings can be used to your business’ advantage. For instance, the flexibility that they offer to your operations can’t be denied. These kinds of meetings are also recordable, which means they can be retained and saved for posterity.
However, while it may enable increased inclusivity and boosted engagement for some businesses, this isn’t the case for all. How often are your hybrid meetings overwhelmingly dominated by the team members in your conference room, with your remote participants operating more as an audience in the background?
This isn’t the point of hybrid collaboration—in fact, it runs directly against the foundation of it.
As such, this needs to be watched out for, and if spotted, resolved. But how?
Active Effort from All Involved Will Be Necessary
Let’s go through the different people who will be involved in a hybrid meeting and touch on things each of them can do to encourage a more equitable hybrid meeting.
What Can a Remote Attendee Do?
- Have their camera on - By being visible to the rest of the group, your team members invite interaction. According to Logitech, just having their webcam active increases effectiveness, participation, and satisfaction by 20 to 50%.
- Be engaging - It is important that your team members don’t let the “remote” part of “remote collaboration” get in their heads too much. Behaving as they would in an in-person meeting, leaning in as they are talking and raising their hand when they have input to share, will help integrate them into the conversation.
- Be prepared to participate - As the meeting starts (if not before) your remote team members should confirm that they can be heard by the entire group. Simply knowing that they can be heard will help motivate them to have something to say.
What Can an In-Person Attendee Do?
- Keep the remote experience in mind - Just as the remote team members involved in a meeting should be cognizant of the fact they are remote, so too should your in-house participants. We’ve all had our video feeds freeze up or our sound cut out—so showing empathy and understanding when it happens to a remote coworker is important.
- Stay on task - Side conversations—particularly when a remote participant has the floor—are far more rude than they are productive. Refraining from these chats will help keep focus on the topic at hand.
- Treat the camera as a person - As strange as it may sound, a hybrid meeting is much different than one which is fully remote. Making sure to make eye contact with the camera on occasion will help your remote coworkers feel more involved.
What Can the Person Leading the Meeting Do?
- Delegate speaking time - As the big cheese, at least in the context of the meeting, the person in control of the agenda should be actively calling on the others in the meeting to participate. One way to simplify this is to assign different roles and duties in relation to the meeting and its topic.
- Involve some controlled small talk - Your team members aren’t robots, even if your remote ones are talking to you through machines. Dedicating a few moments at the start of the meeting to off-topic and tangential discussion will help keep your remote team and in-house team on, well, the same team.
Properly Adopting a Hybrid Strategy Also Requires the Right IT
SCW can help outfit your organization and employees with the tools and solutions needed to support whatever workplace strategy you want to utilize. Give us a call at (509) 534-1530 to have a discussion about your technology needs.