Revolutionize Your Hybrid Meeting Technology: Top Solutions for Seamless Collaboration
Hybrid work is now the norm for a wide range of businesses. In fact, in 2022, around 78% of workplaces were offering hybrid work strategies to their staff, allowing teams to navigate between in-office activities, and remote work. Allowing both in-office and remote employees to work together as a synchronized force, hybrid work is transforming the employment landscape as we know it.
However, it does come with some challenges.
Hybrid work requires companies to rethink how they manage everyday tasks, like aligning teams for meetings, conferences, and group work. An effective hybrid meeting strategy ensures business leaders can empower their teams to work cohesively together, regardless of where each person is located. With a proper set-up, a team can seamlessly glide through a robust meeting agenda.
Used correctly, hybrid meetings can deliver a multitude of benefits to businesses. Not only do they reduce the travel and overhead costs of traditional conferences, but they can also improve company culture, increase feelings of inclusion in the workplace, and improve productivity.
The key to success is knowing how to set up an effective hybrid meeting, where every member of the team feels equally empowered to contribute. Here’s everything you need to know about setting up an effective hybrid meeting strategy.
What are Hybrid Meetings?
Hybrid meetings are essentially designed to align remote, mobile, and in-office workers. Using a combination of hardware (video cameras, speakers, displays, and microphones), and conferencing software, companies empower teams to share voice, video, and content in real-time.
The key difference between hybrid meetings and traditional meetings is that everyone in a hybrid meeting doesn’t need to be physically present in a physical meeting space. People can tune into a discussion using a smartphone, laptop, or tablet, and still contribute to the conversation.
Within the office, attendees leverage meeting room equipment, such as video bars, displays, and speakerphones, to connect with remote colleagues. Outside of the office, field and remote attendees can tune into meetings using a range of devices, by leveraging an app or software solution.
The exact structure of any hybrid meeting can vary. Some are simple ad-hoc meetings between small groups of employees, where in-office teams use standard offices or huddle spaces for a conference. Other hybrid meetings are larger, and may involve the use of a full conference room. In all cases, however, there are a combination of the following elements involved:
- Software: Meeting software used for scheduling, booking rooms, and transferring audio, video, and content between in-office and remote teams.
- Hardware: Displays, video cameras, microphones, speakers, whiteboards, and other tools necessary to managing an effective interaction between teams.
- Additional hybrid meeting technology: Applications for presentations, sensors for tracking meeting room attendance, and various other tools can all be integrated into a hybrid meeting.
Hybrid Meeting Technology Checklist
Running an effective hybrid meeting requires companies to ensure they can unify their employees, promote inclusion, and ensure productivity. Often, this starts with providing teams with access to the right tools and technology, both from a hardware and software perspective.
Some of the core tools you’ll need for any hybrid meeting include:
A laptop, Computer, or Dedicated CODEC (Encoder/Decoder)
Technically, hybrid meetings can be managed and operated from virtually any internet-connected device, whether a dedicated touchscreen display, a tablet, or a smartphone. However, most businesses will use a computer or dedicated CODEC, as these tools are often best-suited to transferring audio, video, and content over the internet. The dedicated approach tends to provide a more stable room that can easily launch a meeting with the touch of a button.
Audio equipment is crucial to any meeting, as it ensures employees can communicate clearly and concisely over the web. The exact tools you’ll use in your hybrid meeting may vary, but you’ll often need access to the following:
- Wired or wireless microphones
- Wired/wireless remote controls
- Wired/wireless calling systems
- Speakers or speakerphones
The best tools need to be configured and installed according to your specific acoustic needs, so it can often be helpful to work with a professional on setting up the best space. It’s also worth ensuring any products you choose can deliver consistent, clear sound quality, without excess echo or noise.
Video has quickly become a crucial part of the hybrid meeting world, as it allows companies to replicate the experience of a face-to-face interaction, in a digital landscape. According to one study, video conferencing improves the communication experience for up to 99% of workers. However, it’s important to have the right video equipment installed and configured for your workplace.
Video equipment can include everything from intelligent camera systems, to touch screens for interacting with live streams, video walls, and smart whiteboarding equipment.
Aligning in-office and remote team members rely on companies having access to the right connection. It’s important to ensure your internet connection is strong enough to support high-definition video streams, and clear, consistent audio quality. The more people you’ll have streaming video in your team, the stronger your internet connection will need to be.
In general, it’s best to use hardwired cabling with your internet connections, to reduce the risk of dropped sound, and video, and minimize lag.
Next, you’ll need the software that will enable you to manage your remote meetings. There are numerous cloud-based solutions to choose from today, which offer employees access to file-sharing, video streaming, audio, and messaging tools, all in the same unified interface. Some come with calendaring and scheduling tools for arranging meetings, as well as AI assistants, recording apps and more.
Options like Microsoft Teams, Zoom, and Cisco Webex are popular, and can integrate seamlessly with all of the hardware your remote and in-office teams already use.
Alongside all of the crucial solutions outlined above, you may find that you need some additional specialist services and equipment, depending on your business and collaboration style. For instance, if your office is often subject to a lot of distractions, you may need access to sound masking tools, to reduce echo and noise during conversations.
If your employees are unfamiliar with hybrid meetings and the tools you’re using, you might also want to consider getting some specialist training from your meeting room installation provider.
Many experts can offer specialist guidance on everything from configuring, to using your hybrid meeting solution.. They provide additional offerings such as breakout sessions to help aid in having a successful hybrid meeting.
Best Practices for a Successful Hybrid Meeting
Once you have all of the tools and technologies you need to conduct an effective hybrid meeting, there are still some additional steps you’ll need to take to ensure every conversation is as productive as possible. Here are some quick best practice tips to boost your chances of success.
Plan for Each Meeting Carefully
71% of workers waste time every week because of unnecessary, overly long, or unproductive meetings. Spending a little extra time on preparation can be crucial if you want to make the most of every conversation between your teams.
Consider creating an agenda before your meeting begins, so you know which topics need to be covered in advance. Set clear objectives for the meeting, and define exactly who needs to be included in each conversation. Depending on the nature of your meeting, make sure you have the right equipment and tools set up in advance, from digital whiteboards, to recording tools.
Test Your Equipment and Software
If you’ve invested in having your software and tools professionally installed for your hybrid meeting solution, you should find that everything works smoothly. However, it’s worth double-checking the functionality of all your cameras, microphones, speakers, and conferencing software solutions before you dive into a crucial conversation.
Make sure the internet connection is strong, and determine whether any critical apps or resources are working properly. For instance, if you’re going to be using an AI assistant to take meeting notes, make sure it’s capturing voice and video data correctly.
Provide Clear Instructions
Without a clear direction, meetings can often lose their way, leading to wasted time and productivity. Avoid confusion and headaches by making sure all of your team members know what to expect from the meeting, which tools they should be using, and how they can get involved.
You might consider providing members of staff with training before they begin using hybrid meeting tools, so they know how to set up their camera and voice equipment correctly, schedule meetings, and share content. It’s also worth providing teams with access to any relevant protocols or guidelines on how to behave in meetings.
Keep Everyone Engaged
In hybrid meetings, it’s important to ensure that everyone involved has an equal opportunity to participate. Remote employees shouldn’t be made to feel like second-class citizens because they’re not located in the same conferencing room. Ensure everyone can easily share content, speak up, and be seen in video conferencing sessions.
You can also leverage tools built into your meeting software to improve engagement levels. For instance, you could host polls on your meeting software, ask team members to share their screens, or provide users with access to automatic transcription and translation tools, to keep them on track.
Record Your Meetings
Finally, it’s often a good idea to record video meetings for a range of reasons. First, it will ensure anyone who wasn’t able to attend the conversation doesn’t miss out on any of the important information you might have covered. Secondly, it allows you to go back over the meeting at a later date, to check-in on the topics raised and the action points you need to address.
Some meeting recording tools will also transcribe your meeting for you, so it’s easy to search through the content and find relevant information. There are even AI tools that can automatically create summaries of your meetings to share with each attendee.
Mastering Your Hybrid Meetings
As hybrid meetings become a more crucial part of the flexible workplace, it’s important to ensure you have the right tools and resources in place to empower and align your workers. Investing in the right meeting hardware and software, and working with the correct expert to ensure everything is installed and configured to your specific needs is crucial.
With the right support, you’ll be able to boost the productivity of your workforce, enhance the quality of your meetings, and better synchronize your team.
Contact Infassure today to find out how we can help you create the perfect hybrid meeting space.