• 6 min read
Get tips for ensuring participation, collaboration, and successful outcomes
by Haworth, Inc.
Over the past couple of years, hybrid work has surged in popularity among the workforce—and for obvious reasons. During the pandemic, technology allowed us to quickly adapt to working remotely from home. We soon found that it offered new flexibility and options for getting things done. But, many of us missed the collaboration and camaraderie of the office, with its easy connection to others.
Enter hybrid work—the solution of choice for people wanting to make the most out of working remotely while still enjoying the benefits of an in-office setting. In fact, a recent Leesman study shows that 60% of office employees now work in a hybrid manner.
Understanding this new reality, companies are encouraging employees to return to the office and offering the flexibility to work from home or a third place part of the time. However, this often means varied schedules among team members—not everyone may be in the office at the same time. For this reason, hybrid meetings have become essential for businesses.
According to an Allwork article, research from Barco found that 29% of work meetings in the future will be hybrid—meaning that attendees can join either in-person or virtually—and that number continues to grow. There are many arguments for having more hybrid meetings: saving time by reducing the commute for some participants, making work from anywhere a reality, offering greater flexibility, and enabling interaction with colleagues around the globe. While hybrid meetings can be challenging, it is possible to achieve a smooth experience for both on-site and remote participants.
Hybrid or not, successful meetings require planning. Depending on the goal and type of meeting, the right choice between an in-person or hybrid experience is important. Some hybrid meetings work better than others.
For example, status updates, decision-making meetings, and problem-solving meetings are usually short sessions with a lower level of collaboration required, so hybrid meetings work very well in these situations.
Workshops, brainstorming sessions, informal social interactions, and team building exercises, on the other hand, are often highly experiential, longer in duration, and/or require a higher amount of collaboration—better lending themselves to in-person meetings.
That doesn’t mean that some highly collaborative meetings should not be hybrid; they just require more planning to ensure everyone can participate in an easy, equitable manner to attain the goal of the meeting.
The Haworth International Ideation team suggests using the following REST (Resources, Engagement, Sound, Technology) framework for planning and conducting hybrid meetings. This not only involves prep work for the meeting organizer—but also rules and guidelines that should be followed by all participants—to be successful.
All necessary materials should be ready and distributed to participants well in advance of the meeting, so they can participate and contribute easily.
Getting people to interact and participate is critical to conducting a successful and productive hybrid meeting. Being intentional in creating an inclusive environment for all attendees to participate is important.
The goals here are to, 1) help remote participants feel as if they are in the room with on-site participants, and 2) allow on-site participants to hear the important contributions of the remote participants.
The right technology and a functioning video conferencing system is critical to the success of all meetings—but especially hybrid meetings.
Today, hybrid has become the preferred way of working and a permanent part of how organizations function. It allows people to perform job activities in off-site environments that help them to do their best work and provides an office destination that serves as a hub for organizational culture, social connection, face-to-face discussions, and team building. Because people can be in different locations on any given day, hybrid meetings are essential for working efficiently. They bring people together—from the office, home, even across the globe—to collaborate and share ideas for innovation. Thorough planning, leveraging technology and tools, and strong facilitation will help you create successful hybrid meetings where all attendees can participate and feel comfortable, engaged, and equal.
To read about more about hybrid working in the office hub, at home, and in third places, visit our Work from Anywhere page for links to more content and resources.
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