We’re happy to have you back here on the blog! It’s a busy time of year — one where it often feels like we’re balancing 10 different plates at the same time — and we hope this blog post finds you managing your schedule as best you can.
In an effort to help you balance a few of those plates a little more comfortably, we want to focus on a topic that has become more and more relevant in the past few years: hybrid meetings.
A “hybrid meeting” happens when you have both onsite and remote workers attending. While hybrid meetings can be a great way to keep everyone on the same page, regardless of location, they also come with their own obstacles to success.
We’ve got a handful of tips designed to overcome those obstacles and make your hybrid meetings cohesive and effective.
Distribute Materials Beforehand
When you’re combining remote and onsite workers, it’s important to make sure that all documents and other necessary materials have been distributed well before the meeting, so that attendees have enough time to process them. If not everyone is prepared for a meeting, it can quickly turn into what feels like a “time-waster” for the attendees who are prepared, and a frustrating experience for those who received materials without enough time to review them.
It’s also a good idea to make sure you know how your meeting software works in terms of screen sharing. The last thing you want to do is spend time troubleshooting software instead of conducting your meeting!
In an instance in which physical materials are used — say a physical model or prototype — those materials should be easily viewed by remote attendees.
Structure Your Meeting with Remote Attendees In Mind
If you are collecting feedback from your meeting’s attendees, it can be surprisingly easy to forget about the people on the computer screen. In order to avoid frustration and missed input, we recommend starting with your remote attendees when asking for feedback. This will ensure that their opinions are heard by everyone in the room, and that any discussion will include their input.
When you draft your meeting’s agenda, you can include remote checkpoints along the way, making sure that the in-person team doesn’t get carried away, and that remote attendees are involved throughout the entirety of the meeting.
Assign Communication “Buddies”
Another way to avoid missing valuable input from remote attendees is by using the buddy system. By assigning onsite attendees a remote attendee as a “buddy” and allowing chat between them, the onsite team members can act as their representative, giving remote attendees an added level of involvement to the conversation.
All of the suggestions above hinge directly on your organization having access to video conferencing equipment and software, which is imperative to have if you are implementing a hybrid work environment at your organization. Dependable computers or tablets, sound and visual equipment, and a video conferencing platform that allows for chat and screen sharing between attendees will ensure that your hybrid team is working as one, no matter where they’re physically located.