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Nov 3, 2020

What is a hybrid meeting? Tips and best practices


Hybrid, we use the term for many things these days. In biology, chemistry, engineering and even in the arts. We drive around with hybrid cars or bikes. And we have started to work and meet in a hybrid way. Before we get lost in the many interpretations of hybrid, let’s explore what hybrid meeting actually is. Because when it comes to equipping the workplace for hybrid meetings, there’s only one way forward, as the new research on hybrid meetings unravels.

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Access the ClickShare hybrid meeting research

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Working from home has drastically changed the way we run meetings. We no longer attend all in-room or all-virtual meetings, we've gotten used to a mix. Where some attendees are at the office and others at home. Slowly we evolved to this new, merged way of meeting, without really noticing it in fact.

Did you know that a staggering 71% of workers struggle with hybrid meetings today? So, what is a hybrid meeting exactly? 

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What is a hybrid meeting? What's the definition or meaning of hybrid meeting?

“A hybrid meeting is a meeting where a part of the audience joins from the office and another part joins remote, enabled by audio and video conferencing technology with a strong focus on content sharing.”


In a hybrid meeting part of the participants joins in person from an office meeting room and another part joins remotely - so from home or another location, like a coffee shop, the airport or even a satellite office.

Hybrid is a unique blend of both an in-room component and a virtual online component with live video streaming and online presentation of content. It combines the best features of both meeting types: in-person communication and virtual meeting benefits for information sharing, recording and interactivity.

In hybrid meetings, the focus is on seamless collaboration and on content sharing both in-room and remote. The ultimate aim is to make hybrid meetings as intuitive and straightforward as face-to-face meetings thanks to meeting technology: AV peripherals, video conferencing platforms like Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Webex by Cisco and wireless collaboration technology.


Why do we have hybrid meetings?

When businesses opt to enable hybrid meetings in the workplace, they have several reasons, often related to time constraints, reducing budgets and carbon footprint. But mostly these companies realize that they want to enable true collaboration and foster innovation even when not everyone is present in the office.

  • True innovation and collaboration happen when people meet, in one and the same space. When everyone is stuck at home or remote, it’s hard for a company to thrive, innovate and progress. It’s clear that the meeting room is the place to enable exactly those meetings where physical presence in a room is required. Hybrid meetings bring at least part of the workforce together physically and enable easier virtual collaboration with remote team members. It’s not exactly the same, but it’s the next best thing. 
  • Working with global project teams located all over the world and consequently in different time zones and working schedules, makes live meetings impossible.
  • The introduction of efficient, low-cost hybrid meetings in the new company culture are a great solution to tackle travel restrictions and answer the need for going green and improving sustainability.
  • More recently, lockdowns and quarantine measures during the COVID-19 pandemic have forced people to look for new ways of collaborating like home office, and more recently, in some regions, a shift towards hybrid work which makes social distancing easier to organize.

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What is needed for a hybrid meeting?

In case you are wondering how to run a hybrid meeting, we've got you covered with the basics. Changing mindset and way of working is one thing, optimizing hybrid meeting can only be done by putting technology at the heart of collaboration. Make sure everyone has access to decent technology to make the hybrid connection smoother. In the hybrid meeting room, you need a decent display, video and audio peripherals and a collaboration platform to connect everyone.

The essentials in a hybrid meeting room ecosystem should be well-balanced and perfectly in sync. Using a wireless collaboration solution like ClickShare at the heart of the meeting room helps you to bring all technologies together in one, seamless flow with a simple user experience and easy maintenance for your IT and Facility departments. Equipping a hybrid meeting room can be done in just a few simple steps.


Tips and best practices

In order to run seamless hybrid meetings, we have a short list of tips and best practices.

  • Come prepared and test technology upfront. Just like in a physical meeting, make sure you come prepared. Joining a videoconference is already stressful enough for some colleagues. So, no need to add to the stress by wasting other people’s time. If applicable, make sure you have tested the meeting connection in advance. And if you are the meeting organizer, make sure your technology and meeting set-up will run smoothly. Setting up a video meeting in your meeting room with ClickShare can be done in seconds. Moreover, ClickShare works with any videoconferencing solution.

  • Mic and audio check. Be sure you are in control of your audio with high-quality materials like mics and speakers. Speak up when it’s your turn and mute your microphone when it’s appropriate. Also, turn off all audio notifications from your phone or PC that could disturb the call. It is crucial to be able to see and hear remote participants in the meeting room and vice versa. ClickShare can be combined with a wide range of audio and video peripherals. Check out the updated list of validated peripherals.
  • Keep the camera on. In any hybrid meeting, it is key to see all participants. Make sure remote colleagues have a view of the interaction and speakers in the meeting room and the other way round. Share content like presentations, video etc. equally in the room and to remote viewers.

  • Make it safe. Cyber security is no laughing matter. A new wave of cyberattacks is targeting video conferencing applications. Therefore, make it safe for everyone who joins the call. Be sure to use meeting hardware and videoconferencing apps that have security built in. ClickShare is ISO27001 certified, meaning that it has been developed by committing to safe processes and international security standards.

  • Balance meeting equity. Remain respectful towards all meeting attendees and let them have an equal seat at the (virtual) table. Introduce everyone at the start of the meeting and give participants a chance to contribute without being interrupted. Try to stimulate the more introverted attendees to join the discussion, by asking questions or doing a quick poll. Make sure remote participants are seen full size in the meeting room (to give them a greater presence in the room itself), this might help you to obtain more equality.


Why you need a customized approach?

Over 50% of all meetings is fully remote, which is twice as much as before. 1 in 4 meetings is already hybrid. Taking local regulations for the pandemic in mind, many enterprises have gone for a full WFH policy wherever possible at the beginning of the crisis. Today employees return to the office in a mixed work model. So, it comes as no surprise that already 23% of meetings are hybrid meetings. A number that is more than likely to go up in future. We’ll probably see a shift to a better balance of remote, face-to-face and hybrid meetings. Taking country restrictions, company policies and the needs of employees in mind, you need to go for a customized approach for hybrid meeting. Investing in the right technology and educating your workforce on hybrid meetings and how to balance meeting equity - so everyone gets an equal seat at the hybrid table -will be key.


How organizations can prepare for hybrid meetings?

Meetings are expected to shift away from all-remote and more towards hybrid and face-to-face alternatives. This will require a new company & meeting culture in many businesses and organizations in private and public sector. Some, especially more formal meetings really require a physical presence in the room e.g. the ones where important decisions are taken (42%), formal introductions are made (45%) or creative brainstorms are needed (40%). While other, more informal meetings like recurring team catch-ups or quick info-sharing sessions, trainings or presentations to a larger audience can easily be organized in a remote or hybrid way. These meetings require a pre-existing level of trust and offer the same level of equity to all participants.

To facilitate this need for both face-to-face and hybrid meetings, offices will need some rethinking and redesigning. Especially when employers want to ensure rules for social distancing and restrict movement in busy areas at the same time. Workers want more structured, planned in-person meetings and consequently more closed and formal meeting spaces that enable video meetings. Larger meeting rooms are preferred, no new investments in huddle spaces where spontaneous, ad hoc meeting takes place, are advised. The huddle space might well be on its way out.

Even in workstation design, we see this trend popping up. Less regular desk space and open-plan offices are necessary when people come to the workplace mainly to collaborate. More rooms to foster (hybrid) interaction, interactivity and connection are required. Offices will become smaller, more focused and predominantly used for in-person human collaboration.

Now is the time for companies to rethink their ideal office location. Is it in an energetic, big city where they can attract young talent? Or do they prefer smaller, flexible and easily accessible satellite offices outside of city centres? 


How can you benefit from ClickShare in your hybrid meetings?

To equip the workplace for seamless hybrid meetings, investments in the setup of video conferencing rooms and in better video conferencing technology are the number 1 priority for organizations. Be it rolling out new or uniform UC platforms in the entire enterprise, equipping meeting spaces with video and audio solutions like cameras, mics, speakers, and soundbars for good audio and video quality, investing in decent display and visualization solutions or enabling wireless content sharing, collaboration and conferencing for more engagement.

Turning a meeting room into a hybrid meeting room can be done in just a few, simple steps. ClickShare can help your employees to run better hybrid meetings from their laptop, making the transition from the home office to the office building smoother. It becomes a simple, one-click experience with the agnostic, wireless room system at the heart of your hybrid meeting room ecosystem. 

Technology will be crucial to achieving the hybrid blend. Of all the things office workers want their companies to invest in, collaboration solutions are top of the list. To survive, rebuild and eventually thrive again, businesses will need to invest in new technologies, redesign or at least reconfigure office spaces, and give employees the tools they need to work in the best way possible, no matter where they are located or how they choose to connect.

Yannic Laleeuwe

Segment Marketing Director Workplace at Barco