In the ongoing pandemic, roughly 45% of U.S. employees are still fully or partially working from home. For most, the flexibility and comfort of remote work have many pros over the traditional office environment.
However, as some employees return to the office while others remain at home, company leaders must find a middle ground for their teams:
Introducing, the hybrid meeting.
A 2021 survey from McKinsey found that 90% of C-suite executives expect future operations to be hybrid. If the day-to-day functions of an office are taking place remotely or only partially at work, hybrid meetings will be the only way to assure consistent communication.
You may be asking, “What defines a hybrid meeting?”
A hybrid meeting combines the in-person and virtual meeting spaces — one or more employees meet together physically in a conference room with other attendees joining through video conferencing software.
Here’s the issue:
Leaders who want to attempt a hybrid meeting strategy are tasked with creating a seamless meeting environment by addressing both the pros and cons of in-person and virtual meetings.
Although it seems like a strenuous task now, we want to explain what makes hybrid meetings a better solution for the modern workplace.
Across different time zones or office locations, hybrid meetings can give more flexibility to executives, managers, and other employees who may have scheduling conflicts. Maybe that’s why there’s a 12% turnover reduction among leading companies who offer remote work agreements to their employees; they know they can do the work from anywhere, so why force them to work 100% in person?
The hybrid meeting model allows any employee, client, or stakeholder to join from virtually anywhere — a hotel, cafe, kitchen table, etc. Even if your client gets stuck in their hotel because of a delayed flight, your hybrid office layout means you can meet without a hitch.
A hybrid meeting is an inclusive method — whether you’re at the office or coffee shop, you can join. Without proper training, though, you can run into some obstacles.
Not every team member will be prepared for a shift toward the hybrid office. Newer technologies and hybrid office software are sometimes accompanied by a steep learning curve. However, there is also a challenge in how nonmanagerial employees are trained — or not trained, in this case.
According to Peppercomm’s research, 39% of U.S. nonmanagerial employees felt underprepared for internal technology updates, while in contrast, 27% of managers or supervisors felt underprepared.
So, proper training isn’t merely about developing your teams’ skills with online conferencing software — it’s about upskilling your workforce to overcome modern challenges. Take the time to develop training and initiatives that prepare all employees for a hybrid work environment.
The work-from-home movement isn’t a temporary solution: Many people adopted it, adapted to it, and don’t want to return to the office. Remember, preparing your team to communicate in a hybrid world will be essential for long-term success.
According to experts from Harvard Business Review, you’ll need to consider making serious video, audio, and software overhauls to have a successful hybrid meeting.
Keep an eye on your LinkedIn feed and trustworthy news sources like Forbes, who recently published 10 ideas on improving your hybrid meetings. On the other hand, avoid techniques from people who claim to hold the single answer for your business — you’ll likely find that it takes a great deal of trial and error to settle in a comfortable, hybrid space.
Ultimately, remember this: 73% of workers want to maintain flexible, remote work options. You may feel pressure to bring everyone back to the office, but adequate training and preparation for all employees could make hybrid work a real, beneficial solution.
To wrap things up, a hybrid meeting is an inclusive, modern solution to the movement toward working from home. In a hybrid meeting, teams can benefit from the combination of in-person and virtual communication over conferencing software, satisfying the desires of all managers and employees who prefer one work environment over the other.
With different solutions to choose from, it can be challenging to find the right software for your hybrid office transformation.
OfficeTogether is designed to support companies with specialized tools for the hybrid office — including event management, space optimization, COVID-19 compliance, and more features that easily integrate with your current workspace. Learn more about the future of work today!