18 feb. 2022

Hybrid can be hard. Barco’s Meeting Barometer at all-time low


Barco’s Meeting Barometer, the company’s semi-annual meeting quality sentiment index drops to an all-time low. Although we have settled ourselves in our current hybrid working mode, our discontent with the current way of working and meeting is hiding just around the corner. Hybrid can be challenging, cause tech-induced stress and in the end damage job satisfaction. Businesses can overcome these hybrid challenges and work on a transparent framework & policies, digital infrastructure and redesigned offices. In the end they should create a dynamic, productive and stress-free hybrid environment where employees feel comfortable and capable.


Barco’s Meeting Barometer measures how workers experience the quality of their meetings. It was introduced in 2019 to keep the pulse on how meetings are changing and what the role of technology is over time. The barometer is measured in the same way the Net Promotor Score is measured, by detracting the negatives (respondents that think meetings have worsened) from the positives (respondents that feel meetings have improved). At the time more workers were happy in meetings, giving an overall score of +63. Today, after 2 years of COVID, the barometer drops significally showing a growing frustration with virtual meetings in general and more on a technical, emotional, and functional level in particular. In September 2020, employees were still carefully positive about meetings, resulting in an index of +17. 

In May 2021, the score descended to -25, uncovering a growing frustration with virtual meetings in general. Now it plunges to a stunning -38 mainly caused by a high number (71%) of meeting participants experiencing hybrid meetings as stressful.

The Hybrid Working Paradox

Two years into the pandemic, workers have gotten quite accustomed to remote and hybrid work. They have ready access to company tools & data, they have equipped the home office, divide their time and tasks flexibly between office and remote (in whichever form needed) and link up with colleagues in a long series of video calls. And actually, 80% prefers hybrid work and 44% say their personal productivity has gone up markedly.

Still, we note a Hybrid-Working Paradox in our recent research. Workers are happy with their work-life balance when working and meeting hybrid. Still, they encounter many challenges with hybrid work and meetings.

Some companies struggle to bring innovation back into their core. They are lagging behind, when it comes to getting geared up for hybrid work. Sure, many have equipped workers with laptops, and rolled out a UC solution companywide for a purely remote way of working. But when it comes to connecting workers in a mixed working model like hybrid, many organizations still have some work to do. Just 60% have a clear hybrid work policy and only 1 in 2 has mapped out the hybrid needs of employees. Office buildings and meeting rooms are not all equipped for video conferencing, investments in collaboration technology and AV setups are just not adequate for the high demand of hybrid connection. 1 in 2 workers wants their employer to do more investments in hybrid meeting rooms.


From Zoom fatigue to hybrid meeting stress

At the same time employees experience stress on a technical, functional and emotional level. No less than 71% of workers experience stress in hybrid meetings. And 7 participants out of 10 are frustrated by recurring technical meeting issues. These frictions have a direct effect on employees' stress levels, and consequently, on their happiness at work. We’ve moved on from the overload of hybrid calls, workers no longer suffer from Zoom fatigue but from hybrid meeting stress and burnout. 

Collaboration and connection between employees are the glue of the company. And in a hybrid environment, these can be under very high pressure.  It can be hard to obtain the same level of meeting equity in hybrid meetings. People have a hard time getting a seat at the virtual table and often crash into the borders of hybrid collaboration. When frustration takes the upper hand and they feel a disconnect.

  • 1 in 3 feels silenced in videocalls as off-site participant
  • 61% finds it hard to get noticed in videocalls
  • 31% can’t read body languages or social cues in videocalls
  • 1 in 2 has technical issues with audio and/or video
  • 1 in 2 dreads to move meeting rooms where the setup is different
  • 58% have issues with sharing content 
What’s next? Have we reached an all-time low?

With meeting meeting engagement and equity high on companies' radars, and with the widespread acceptance of hybrid by employees, you might expect the barometer to start recovering. What can you do to drive this? As hybrid meetings heavily rely on technology to facilitate seamless collaboration, the key to improve meeting quality can be found here.

Not having equal access to tech, content and conversation ultimately impacts the workforce’s well-being, engagement and churn. Not all issues can be brought back to a simple a lack of tech savviness of workers. The quality of the connection, integration of different solutions and the complexity and user-friendliness of technology all play a role.

For better hybrid meetings, IT departments can implement meeting room technology and collaboration solutions to make the connection with the remote user seamless.

Working with own devices, running video meetings from a laptop, being only one click away from the next conference call. In short, hybrid tech or agnostic, wireless room systems should make work life easier. Since employee expectations have changed significantly, organizations will clearly benefit when putting the employee at the heart of collaboration, no matter where they are located.


More on how to equip hybrid meeting rooms?

Good audio & videohttps://www.barco.com/en/clickshare/news/2021-09-08-how-to-get-good-quality-audio-and-video-in-your-hybrid-meeting

3 steps to the hybrid meeting roomhttps://www.barco.com/en/clickshare/news/2021-08-26-3-easy-steps-to-equip-your-hybrid-meeting-room