The dynamics of workplace meetings changed drastically with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Many companies shifted to a remote-working set-up for many or all of their employees and began relying more heavily on virtual meeting platforms, such as Zoom or Microsoft Teams, for employee interaction and collaboration.
Fast forward to mid-2021, and employers are determining what their operations look like post pandemic. Some companies are bringing more of their employees back into a traditional office setting, but many companies still have a blend of on-site employees and those who work remotely. It’s likely businesses will stick with that set-up indefinitely, which means hybrid meetings will continue to be a necessity.
The era of hybrid work environments can strain those critical aspects of your organization if not handled properly.
However, you can lessen the potential for your remote workers becoming disengaged from your organization by taking steps – if you haven’t already – to ensure those working remotely have adequate opportunities to participate in important departmental or companywide meetings.
Companies are incorporating hybrid meetings as a means to include people who work in the office as well as those who still work remotely.
Operations will continue regardless of format, so how can you ensure your employees are connected and engaged whether they are working in the office or offsite?
Jenna Marceau, Chief Information Officer at Syndeo, offers the following tidbits on how to run great hybrid meetings:
Pick a platform and ensure people are trained on how to use it
Marceau says having a preferred platform increases the effectiveness of hybrid meetings because everyone is familiar with the system. Syndeo incorporated Microsoft Teams as its preferred meeting and collaboration platform in early 2020 and still uses it for most internal meetings.
Employees go through a video tutorial from Microsoft to ensure they are well versed in using the Teams platform.
Afterall, trying to figure out how your platform works right before a meeting can lead to the meeting being ineffective.
Always have an agenda
Marceau says knowing what is going to be discussed is a prime way to ensure hybrid meetings run effectively and efficiently.
Having an agenda keeps the meeting on task. Marceau says providing a meeting agenda for meeting participants in advance helps people to know who will be discussing what and when it is appropriate for questions or discussion on certain topics.
“Talking over each other or not knowing when to interject is difficult when remote,” Marceau says.
If the meeting starts to get off topic, fall back on the meeting agenda to refocus the meeting and maximize its effectiveness so people’s time isn’t being wasted.
Ensure the audio/video settings are setup properly
This is another example of when preparing in advance can be the difference between a meeting that is ran effectively and efficiently versus one that is not.
Marceau says knowing the audio settings can be as simple as making sure participants know how to use the mute/unmute feature.
By now, you’ve undoubtedly participated in a meeting where someone is talking and forgets they are muted. Perhaps that’s something you also have fallen victim to a time or two.
Additionally, don’t be afraid to ask meeting attendees to turn on their camera for a more personalized and interactive discussion and meeting.
“We can read facial cues for when someone wants to share something and not interrupt them,” Marceau says.
About us: As the Heartland’s leading employer services company, Syndeo partners with local business owners to help them minimize risk, improve efficiency and maximize profitability allowing them the freedom to focus on growth and fulfilling their mission. Syndeo fulfills its mission by taking on all of the HR responsibilities for our clients’ workforce, including employee relations, benefits, risk management and payroll.
~Josh Heck, Marketing Manager, Syndeo