As employers try to find a new normal, it’s increasingly clear that hybrid work will be a staple for most businesses. According to a recent survey, 45% of companies plan to implement some combination of remote and in-person work. And with that comes new challenges
In 2020, corporations quickly pivoted to completely virtual meetings with the help of Zoom and while there was a learning curve, employers and employees alike became comfortable with the new virtual format. But now, with the emergence of hybrid work, it’s time to rethink meetings. Use these best practices to make the most out of your hybrid meetings and create a lasting structure that works for your team.
1. Make remote workers life-sized
It’s easy to lose remote workers when the majority of your team is attending a meeting in person. Because of that, it’s even more important to give your WFH team a life-sized presence in the room. No, we’re not talking about holograms, although maybe someday? If possible, we recommend using a conference room with a large screen to broadcast remote participants and enable your in-person team to interact with them as if they’re in the same room.
If you’re not equipped with the technology to display work from home team members, it’s best for everyone to log in to the meeting individually from their desks. This levels the playing field for all participants and can cut down on side chatter that excludes remote workers.
2. Keep team members engaged with video & audio
While you used to be able to ask participants to put their computers away during meetings, our dependence on technology has made this near impossible. And unfortunately, according to a recent study, 74% of people multitask while muted on video calls. While it’s not always possible to have everyone’s audio on, it’s useful to ask remote team members to keep their video and audio on. This helps keep everyone engaged and promotes a more natural flow of conversation.
3. Select a facilitator ahead of time
Every meeting needs a conductor, but this is especially important for hybrid meetings when you’re managing employees in multiple locations. A facilitator should strive to keep the meeting on track and encourage participation. Despite your best efforts with technology, hybrid meetings can quickly be dominated by in-person employees. To avoid that, ensure the facilitator asks for questions from remote team members first and provides the opportunity for all voices to be heard.
4. Check your tech before you start
Hybrid meetings require a lot of technology, so don’t forget a check tech! We’re used to logging into our personal computers and jumping on Zoom, but getting in-office technology to work is a different story. With 37% of professionals stating meetings are the most significant cost to businesses, it’s important to test out your technology before you have a room full of people that you’re paying to be there. Plus, the more tech issues you have, the more stressed your participants become, and the less productive your meeting is.
5. Decide if you really need the meeting
Every year, 24 billion hours are wasted in pointless meetings, so before you put anything on the calendar, you should consider if you really need the meeting and specifically who needs to be in it. The great thing about most video conferencing platforms, that are necessary for hybrid work, is that you can record your meeting. If you’re just inviting someone to join and listen, consider sending them the recording instead. It’s easy to listen to the recording at a faster speed and skip the opening chatter. You’ll be saving your employees time and your company resources.
6. Ask for employee feedback and suggestions for improvement
If your first hybrid meeting isn’t a smashing success, take a minute to regroup. Asking your employees for feedback is a great opportunity to understand what’s working about your new meeting structure and what needs improvement. Engagement Multiplier’s 24/7 Suggestion Box is an easy way to collect anonymous feedback from your entire team. Plus, implementing your employees’ suggestions will let them know you’re listening and learning.
Just like remote work, hybrid work comes with its own unique set of challenges. But, as we settle into another new normal, it’s important to focus on creating long-term organisational practices and find out what works for your team.
Interested in exploring more about hybrid work? Learn how you can create more effective hybrid schedules.