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Solving the hybrid working challenge

Recent research predicts that, in search of better benefits, up to one-fifth of the UK workforce will look for a new job this year and that employers who offer their staff a good hybrid working experience are likely to have less staff turnover. Ed Morgan of DisplayNote considers how organisations can plan for the changing landscape of work to attract and retain staff in these challenging times.

Where the prospect of working from home might have filled many managers with doubt and fear before, it’s now widely accepted to be a necessary counterpart to the office, the place where our ‘deep focus’ work can take place, free from the distractions of the office.

The pandemic has opened the gates for a hybrid model of working and encouraged us to talk more openly and honestly about accessibility and inclusion in the workplace, and the reality that some workplaces have been falling short. These conversations are paving the way for real change.

The new hybrid meeting space

A hybrid meeting refers to those where not all attendees are in the room. Some of the attendees are together in the same location, while other participants join the meeting virtually via video conferencing platforms.

The power of hybrid meetings to open the workplace to more candidates should not be overlooked. Hybrid meetings have the potential to increase participation from employees that may have barriers to coming into the office every day. Whether this is due to mobility issues, neurodiversity, illness, or childcare, hybrid meetings are a leveller in making the workplace more accessible and inclusive.

How to equip your meeting room for hybrid meetings

Audio and visual

  • To try and give virtual attendees the same experience as in-room attendees, good quality audio and visual equipment are essential.
  • HD cameras help to resolve the ‘fish-eye’ problem of traditional video cameras and give remote participants a more natural viewing experience. Some can pivot to automatically detect who’s speaking in the room, to keep the presenter as the focus.
  • Choose microphones for your space that can identify between background noise and the people speaking.

Screen sharing

  • Good hybrid meetings allow everyone to collaborate and share content as they would if they were all in the same room. The built-in screen-sharing tools in your video conferencing tools are a great way to do this. If you want to encourage people to share during the meetings, ensure your sharing settings are set to ‘all participants’ before you start the meeting – this will remove friction during the meeting.

Room layout

  • Is the room configured to give virtual attendees the best view of the room and who’s speaking? If not, it’s worth reconfiguring the seating plan to face the camera and be as close to the microphone as possible; it’ll create a more natural meeting experience for all involved.

The need for better video conferencing tools

The inability of different video conferencing platforms to communicate with one another arises because there isn’t one unified video platform that we all use, yet meeting spaces are often vendor-locked to a single solution.  This can cause friction when it comes to launching calls across different video conferencing platforms – and it can make you look unprofessional on external calls with clients. Launching calls should be quick, intuitive, and painless, and shouldn’t involve a lengthy set-up or the intervention of the IT department.

Ed added, “with Launcher software installed on your meeting room screens, users can easily launch scheduled calls, regardless of what platform it’s on. Launcher is compatible with Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Webex, Google Meet, GoToMeeting, Lifesize, and BlueJeans… unlocking your meeting spaces from a single UC vendor.

“Creating a good hybrid meeting experience means ensuring high-quality, life-like video and audio experiences for those joining virtually. But it also means giving everyone an equal share of voice, regardless of whether they are inside or outside of the room. This is an investment in time and resources that will pay dividends now and in the future.”

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