Header 5 trends hybrid meetings
Blog 21-04-2022

Ready for the future? 5 trends for hybrid meetings

Welcoming a hybrid workforce in the office is a major challenge for companies today. As workers try to find their balance in that remote and in-office work, they return to the workplace. But what about the hybrid meeting room with collaboration tech? They expect hybrid solutions to be just as flexible, intuitive, easy and of even higher quality as in their home office. Office collaboration technology has become more critical than ever. Companies need to continue to invest in tools that increase productivity and that maintain a sense of connection between a workforce that is diverse and widespread.

The following 5 themes and meeting trends in 2022, driven by recent technological developments, will shape conversations in the renewed workplace.

The decline in collaboration and innovation will get the attention it needs

Not all impacts of remote work are positive. If hybrid working is to be successful in the long run, enabling collaboration will be essential.

Collaboration is not the exact same thing as productivity. At the start of the pandemic, when working from home first began, productivity actually improved. In a study of 2013 Stanford economist Nicholas Bloom had already analysed this phenomenon. The experiment involved employees of a travel agency who were assigned to work from home for nine months, and it saw their performance increase by 13%.

“Working from home can be more productive for people carrying out individual tasks. But every manager I have spoken with says that working from home can damage innovation in the long run.”

- Nicholas Bloom

Despite the improvement in productivity, the levels of collaboration have decreased. An employee’s productivity boils down to their individual performance, whereas being connected to colleagues is a necessity of collaboration: enabling collaboration is about creating an environment ignited by a sense of sharing. Creative get-togethers or brainstorms are crucial to grow and stimulate new ideas. To bring back innovation and collaboration in corporations and development, companies will need to strive for a hybrid way of working that is as intuitive and seamless as an in-person workplace. But how?

Meeting equity is the new currency

Hybrid working is the new normal. But it also comes with an unintended divide. Many meeting participants from multiple locations have a hard time to get a seat at the same, virtual table. Face-to-face conversation and discussion are hard to replicate in a virtual way, even as technology evolves.

People want an equal share in meetings, get access to the same tools and content to feel engaged and included. Balancing meeting equity and the integration of technology that prevents remote workers from feeling ‘left out’, is a necessity for companies that want to thrive.

First, remote workers need to be equipped with adequate cameras, microphones and video conferencing platforms. In addition, business leaders are recognising the value of recent, versatile hybrid collaboration platforms to support this transition. These include features like virtual blackboarding and annotation, easy content upload and sharing, and breakout room functionality to remove many of these barriers in meeting equity.

Hybrid work policy

Okay. What’s next? How do you hold a proper meeting or a valuable discussion if part of the team is home, for example? It's actually quite simple. A hybrid work policy. An agreement for the entire company. It defines where, when and how employees work in a hybrid environment. It describes who is allowed to and can work hybrid. And how best to approach hybrid working as an employee or employer.

With a hybrid work policy, everyone knows what is expected of them. Because it gives everyone something to hold on to. Because you don't ‘just’ do hybrid working.

Hybrid will shine a light on employee needs

Today, employees feel empowered to dictate their own ways of working. Workplace technology is no longer functional, but key to employee satisfaction. Many do not want to leave the routines and solutions that have proven to be successful in the home office when entering the hybrid workplace.

However, recent ClickShare research shows that 71% of employees still struggle with hybrid meetings. They experience stress when technical issues occur, which even leads to decreased job satisfaction in the long run. This unveils an opportunity for business leaders to go for collaborative solutions that are both intuitive and user-friendly. Companies that want to keep and attract talent can thus differentiate themselves by making the right investments.

The best technologies will strive for seamless usability

Setting up videoconferences before the pandemic was hard. Workers were struggling with audio and video settings, securing dedicated rooms and navigating cables. Meetings often started too late, and participants were left with frustrations.

Today, working remote has proven that technology can make hybrid meetings better. Working with your own laptop. Running video meetings from a laptop. Being only one click away from your next conference call. Impeccable user experience is crucial, especially when back in the office environment. Laptops should work in perfect sync with room peripherals, allow immediate connectivity, and start up as participants enter a meeting room to create an equal level of participation and productivity for all attendees, on-site or remote. Seamless usability will be the standard to which technologies can be measured against.

When it comes to hybrid work, there are no doubt challenges ahead. Times are uncertain and everyone's needs are in constant evolution. Still, for companies prioritising in collaboration technology and employee experience, the future of the hybrid workplace looks promising.

Source: Barco – Future trends for hybrid meetings

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