There’s no denying that “hybrid working” has revolutionised the workplace. So much has changed for the better; more inclusive workplace policies, employee satisfaction and attracting top talent, to name a few.
But there’s one thing that the “new way of working” has completely transformed, and that’s meetings. Hybrid meetings are a whole different ball game—but it’s all about execution. Done well, they can be a huge step in the right direction for your business and the future of work.
And as the world’s first hybrid workplace platform, Hubble’s here to help. Here, we list 10 little changes you can implement that’ll make a big difference to your hybrid meetings.
Get straight to business
Everyone loves a good ol’ concise meeting. They’re highly effective for company updates, reviewing progress and information exchange, as well as team updates and snappy decision making.
But it’s worth seeking alternatives if strategy discussions and creative brainstorms are what you’re after. These could be meetings that fall under the “non-negotiables” category—the expectations you set, as an employer, over how much flexibility your employees will have over how they work.
These might be meetings that coincide with compulsory days in the office, an all-hands meeting, or sessions that would benefit from in-person interaction, such as strategising.
Remember: Most meetings are created to solve a specific problem—but not every problem requires a meeting. Does yours?
Make every voice count
The most effective hybrid meetings put comfort first and ensure every voice counts. It’s crucial all attendees feel engaged and valued, but this can be tricky in practice.
The risk of presence bias is much greater in hybrid spaces. Presence bias is when those dialling in remotely are indirectly discriminated against. For example, they might miss out on meaningful conversations before or after the meeting, which automatically places them at a disadvantage.
To place everyone on equal footing and maximise engagement, you could:
- Ask all attendees (remote and in-house) to dial in with their laptops. This ensures everyone can mute themselves when they’re not speaking and use the ‘raise hand’ tool when they have a question.
- Ask all attendees to have their videos on so everyone, including those dialling in remotely, can pick up on body language cues.
- Ensure the volume for all participants is kept at an appropriate level throughout.
- Keep crucial conversations outside of the meeting to a minimum.
Set a clear agenda
Setting a clear agenda gives people the opportunity to prepare ahead of time—and who doesn’t like time to reflect? If it’s necessary, email attendees with a clear agenda beforehand so they know what to bring to the table.
Here, you can establish the purpose of your meeting and, where possible, communicate the intended outcome to help manage your team’s expectations.
Know your audience
Consider those in attendance: what can you do to make sure everyone feels included and valued?
Hybrid meetings can be an excellent opportunity to bring colleagues together who may not otherwise meet. It’s great to factor in introductions for newly onboarded hires and those who haven’t yet met.
If your meeting includes more dominant characters, consider implementing the ‘raise hand’ tool and request people use this when they have a question. This ensures everyone has the opportunity to contribute and presents a more diverse and balanced set of opinions.
Establish some house rules
It might sound radical, but house rules can really take the pressure off and benefit those present. Here are some quick wins:
- Try not to start in-person conversations about the meeting before it’s started (or until remote participants have joined).
- Avoid using equipment in the room that remote attendees are unable to access. Present slides and visual aids virtually, and always ensure they’re shared afterwards, too.
Remember: Etiquette is everything.
Understand everyone’s needs are different
The beauty of hybrid working is that it helps create more inclusive workplaces. So, hybrid meetings can and should accommodate a whole spectrum of personality types, including those with neurodiverse needs.
But not everyone gets it right the first time—and there’s certainly not a “one-size-fits-all” solution to it.
It’s worth bearing in mind that some people find sharing information in different ways—via video, chat, and audio—hugely beneficial, whereas others might find this confusing and stressful. In short, people process things differently, and it’s important to be mindful of this when facilitating a hybrid meeting.
Top tips for short hybrid meetings (less than one hour):
- Request cameras on if some attendees rely heavily on visual cues.
- Give audible cues to manage speakers to avoid people talking over each other.
- Use the chat function to give instructions as to who speaks next.
- Mute your microphone when not speaking.
Top tips for longer hybrid meetings (more than one hour):
For those creative, brainstorming sessions and longer meetings that require extended periods of focus, hybrid meetings can pose a real challenge. In addition to our tips above, you might want to try:
- Assigning a co-chair to manage the meeting, ensuring everyone’s voice is heard.
- Accessible visuals such as slides, to aid visual learners and provide context.
- Allocating 10-minute breaks for every hour, to give attendees that much-needed respite away from the screen .
Choose your platform wisely
So you’re sitting in a room with your colleagues, waiting for your remote team to dial in. You’ve done all of the above and are feeling very smug about it. What could possibly go wrong?
To help make your hybrid meeting as good as it can be, learn how to optimise your platform’s key functions. The most popular “hosts”—Zoom, Skype Business, Microsoft Teams and Slack—all have different functionalities that can help you optimise your hybrid experience.
Familiarise yourself with the key functions and shortcuts for your chosen platform for a better experience overall… ideally before the meeting starts!
Utilise the key functions
Most platforms and tools have been designed to help remote participants, not hinder them. There are a number of functions that enable smart working. Here are some of our favourites:
- Asynchronous tools, such as Slack, or chat functions in platforms like Microsoft Teams, allow people to have schedule and location flexibility.
- If you have permission to record the meeting, upload it to Google Drive, or send it to attendees via WeTransfer so people can refer back to it in their leisure.
- Remember the days of taking minutes? One of the benefits of taking a meeting online is hitting the record button with the added bonus of sending a recording to those unable to attend.
- Share files via workspace chat and video-conferencing during the meeting to help support your points and provide some visual context.
Once you’ve got to grips with the platform and its various functionalities, all that’s left is facilitating the meeting and managing your attendees.
Hone your facilitation skills
Not everyone is a born facilitator, so before you start, consider whether upskilling is required.
Upskilling presents an opportunity to gain confidence, knowledge and valuable skills. There are lots of facilitation training providers out there, both online or in person, including LinkedIn.
Ask for feedback
If there’s one thing the hybrid work movement has taught us, it’s that employees are at the centre of it. So, to make the process as democratic as possible, ask your teams how they’d like to approach hybrid meetings in the future. Present open questions such as:
- What platforms would you like to use going forward?
- Do you prefer in-person meetings, virtual meetings, or hybrid meetings?
We all love to learn from our mistakes, so the more feedback you get, the better your next meetings will be.
How Hubble can help
Hybrid meetings are here to stay, and connecting with your team from anywhere has never been easier with the Hubble Pass. Designed to empower businesses to configure their ideal workplace, it’s super flexible, easy-to-use and takes the hassle out of hybrid working.
The Hubble Pass is your all-access ticket to a global network of on-demand workspaces. With it, you can access smart, modern and efficient workspace in 600+ locations, including London, Lisbon and New York.
Let us create a hybrid workspace catered to your individual business needs with one, or all three, of our flagship products. Click the button below to find out more.