The future of work is hybrid. According to data from Gartner, a hybrid work environment improves team performance by 28% while also reducing fatigue by 44%. That’s across all departments and positions; the benefit may be much higher for executives, HR, and creatives.
One popular topic surrounding hybrid work is how to conduct hybrid meetings, ensuring that each gathering of in-person attendees will be on equal footing with virtual contributors.
Hybrid meetings offer two key advantages: better audience engagement and expanded attendance availability. There is better engagement because virtual attendees can interact with the in-person staff as if they were physically in the office. At the same time, the meeting’s possible attendance is expanded to all relevant staff who might otherwise be unable to join due to logistical constraints.
Handling hybrid meetings is likely to be a focus for IT teams as the modern workforce evolves with hybrid work. Such a shift will emphasize the important role hybrid meetings have as a bridge between physical meetings and remote workers.
The Challenges of Conducting Effective Hybrid Meetings
Conducting effective hybrid meetings can be challenging. Since many employees may work in the field or from various branches and locations, everyone has the potential to be a hybrid worker. Therefore, everyone needs the ability to be seen and heard clearly, regardless of where they are. Imagine ten people in a conference room, four people working from home offices, two traveling in a car, and a key executive in a foreign country, all in the same meeting.
The easy part of a hybrid meeting is getting everyone on the call; the difficult part is ensuring everyone has an equal presence and ability to contribute to the discussion. In-person attendees could dominate the conversation while virtual attendees silently disengage or are quietly uncomfortable breaking into the flow.
So how do you ensure that equal ground? Establish best practices to integrate remote workers while having the technology and features so that everyone has an equal opportunity to share the spotlight. The right communication tools give all meeting attendees access to the same connectivity and information so no matter their location they can fully participate.
Technologies Driving Anywhere, Anytime Workers
The inherent challenges of hybrid meetings are one reason communications technology continues to evolve. Providers have rethought how hybrid meetings work over the past year to offer platforms designed for the post-Covid hybrid workforce.
How are these companies innovating? They are redesigning communications technology to fit the new work from anywhere workplace and the new normal of hybrid meetings. Providers are focused on two priorities: greater connectivity for users and higher quality interactions in hybrid meetings. The Gartner leaders focus on enhancing meeting equality and the hybrid workplace in general, so expect continued innovations over the next 12-18 months.
Greater Connectivity, Regardless of Location
Providers such as RingCentral and 8x8 redesigned their platforms so that any user with a data connection can join a meeting via the meetings app, desktop app, web browser, or any device, some of which can connect without downloading beforehand. Users can also easily switch meetings between devices and control meetings from the app, which drastically opens up possibilities in communication.
UC providers also facilitate file sharing so that remote attendees have access to the same information and resources as their in-person colleagues across all the above channels. In addition, file sharing can integrate with the most popular databases such as Google Drive, OneDrive, Dropbox, and internal databases via local computer files.
Higher Quality Meetings
UCaaS providers are innovating through in-app technologies to make meetings feel more interactive.
For example, RingCentral offers a green screen feature which allows you to display your screen as your background while your video remains in the foreground to make the presentation more interactive and memorable. This feature is offered for mobile users as well and other providers are expected to release similar features this year.
If you are exploring ways to empower and upgrade your hybrid teams and hybrid meetings, contact Converged Technology today to learn more.
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