Pre-pandemic, almost every meeting was in-person; only approximately 20% of the companies invested in video platforms.
Big tech firms were looking at activity-based working, where employees and teams decide where they’ll work based on the type of work that needs to be done, and smaller companies were following that evolution from a distance, waiting to see if they would need to adopt that strategy to retain millennials, who are making up more than half of the workforce (75% by 2025).
We all know what happened next: Covid hit, everyone who could work from home was encouraged to do so. Remote meetings became the norm, and usage of Microsoft Teams and Zoom skyrocketed. Suddenly, everyone was forced to embrace change, changing the adoption rate for video collaboration solutions from a slow ramp to a hockey stick. All of us gained experience with, and a growing appreciation for, the tools that allow a new way of working.
Fast forward to today. After years of upheaval, watching employees shift from the office to the home and back again, the workplace has stabilized. We did research in partnership with Simpler Media Group on employee behaviors and preferences in a hybrid workplace, the technology tools and solutions they need and lack, and what employers are (and could be) doing to enable more consistently productive collaboration remotely and in-office. The data shows that 80% of employees have at least one meeting a week that includes remote participants. One person joining a meeting differently than everyone else changes the entire dynamic of that meeting. Activity based working is on the rise. Some catch-up meetings are fine over a videoconference, while brainstorms are more productive when done in person. As a result, organizations must be able to support both.
Findings indicate that today, most companies are unprepared to handle that situation. Many meeting spaces are not yet adequately equipped to accommodate that change, which seriously hinders productivity and meeting equity. To address this urgent business need, a large majority of IT managers responded that they are prioritizing flexible and scalable technology solutions that enable productive and equitable collaboration experiences for employees wherever they work, especially now that rates of hybrid work have mostly stabilized. 79% of IT respondents said their company has plans to update their hybrid work strategy in the next 12 months, and 71% said they’re likely to replace their collaboration platform in the next year.
As we’re unlearning decades of “office work” and learning what we need to make hybrid work successful for everyone, now is the time for companies to invest in the collaborative, connected technologies that can make the hybrid meeting equitable, efficient, and ultimately successful. Companies that don’t invest in these technologies will see a strange phenomenon: workers will come into the office, but stay in their personal spaces and join meetings from their laptops, defeating the entire purpose of returning to the office for those critical human interactions. When issues of connectivity and meeting equity aren’t adequately addressed, employees can feel disconnected from the workplace.
Meetings become inefficient. IT departments and help desks become overwhelmed. But the right approaches to accepting the new normal and deploying the right technology to meet the current challenges of hybrid meetings can dramatically improve the situation. Other key findings from our report Tackling the Modern Workplace by the Numbers:
Hybrid Meetings = New Complexities and Room for Improvement
Joining a hybrid call remotely is a vastly different experience than attending the same meeting in an in-person capacity. Is everyone in the room visible to the remote attendees — and vice-versa? Are there audio issues? Is there difficulty sharing content? The survey found that 60% of respondents said that “being unable to fully see and engage with in-room or remote participants negatively affects their meeting experience”.
All of these factors impact the effectiveness of collaboration — and often the timeliness and efficiency of that meeting. Additionally, solutions such as intelligent video that can track individual speakers as a meeting progresses, can help drive engagement for those attending remotely.
Every Meeting is a Hybrid Meeting
The pandemic shifted the way we meet from primarily in-person to a completely remote experience. In a post-pandemic world, it’s become accepted that hybrid meetings are the norm — a certain percentage of any workforce will be remote on any given day.
There’s now an expectation that every meeting will include remote attendees, and it follows that each meeting will be hybrid in nature. That means that the right technology must be present — and working properly — in every potential meeting space, from the smallest huddle room to the largest training center.
Every Meeting is a High-Value Meeting
Just because meetings can be taken from everywhere doesn’t mean they should be. Boardrooms have traditionally been the preferred spaces for client meetings. They had the necessary technology, and most didn’t come with the distractions that so often turn up in more informal spaces (such as background conversations, snacking, and so on).
Since today every collaboration space is connected, every one of those spaces needs to be outfitted for a meeting with the potential for the high-value impact. Outfitting these collaboration spaces to support the right environment for your employees to succeed is paramount — and will also influence how they (and the company) are perceived by prospective clients or external partners.
Modern Work Summit
Now is a pivotal time for organizations to prepare their workforce for this way of work. Not committing to a strategy now, is not equipping employees with the tools they need to do their job today. And AV choices are no longer limited to the input of the AV Manager.
HR departments and facility representatives are now joining the AV and IT managers at the table. HR doesn’t recommend the products that should be bought, but they do talk about the issues that need to be solved. Room scheduling solutions, for instance, are very interesting for HR, but they are also interested in AV systems that can affect wellness.
Which is why May 23 & 24 in Madrid Marriot Auditorium Hotel & Conference Center, we are organising the Modern Work Summit, a two day, in-person event dedicated to emerging trends and successful strategies for meeting the needs of today’s modern workplace with speakers and panelists from industry leading companies.
Many stakeholders are affected by our office meeting spaces and Work From Home collaboration setups. With this event we bring together IT Managers, Facilities representatives and HR leaders to take a look at what will work best for their teams. The collaboration of these groups goes beyond technology. It’s how spaces are set up, what furniture is used, what design elements are included. The Modern Work Summit is designed for individuals who enable, build, or study modern work, and/or are wrestling with the technologies in those spaces. ‘Modern Work’ includes enterprises embracing hybrid modalities, colleges and universities embracing hybrid and hyflex learning.
During the Summit, people can meet with industry leaders to discuss ideas and successful case studies and tackle important trends including space utilization, participant equality, employee experience and security & scale.
We are organising this event to give everyone involved the opportunity to advance their knowledge in modern work trends and practices, and discuss how their peers handle it.