Logitech today released the results of its hybrid meeting survey, which revealed that hybrid meetings may be creating uneven playing fields for meeting participants. Polling more than 500 white-collar workers in the UAE, the survey examines the state of current working arrangements, impact of hybrid work on meetings, and the challenges that business leaders and employees face in this new way of working.
Despite organisations welcoming employees back into physical office spaces, the report revealed that more than five in 10 respondents (55%) would prefer to work either in a hybrid or a fully remote work arrangement.
“There’s no going back to how work used to happen as employers and workers have gotten used to hybrid working”, said Loubna Imenchal, Head of Enterprise Business at Logitech, Africa, Middle East, Turkey and Central Asia.
“This is exactly why businesses need to embrace this change and provide their workforce with the right tools and resources to manage the set of challenges and pressure that arise”.
Hybrid meetings create an uneven playing field for participants
Organisations have adapted to new ways of collaborating to accommodate the varying working arrangements of their workers. Hybrid meetings, which have a mix of virtual and in-office participants in different locations, are becoming more common.
The hybrid meeting survey revealed that 51% of respondents who have joined a hybrid meeting virtually felt that they had fewer opportunities to build rapport amongst meeting participants. Additionally, 58% agreed that their input would be valued more if they were attending the meeting physically instead of virtually, and 47% felt less included as compared to in-person meeting participants.
While 75% of respondents agree that hybrid meetings would be more productive if all participants had an equal chance to speak and contribute, 59% of those who participate in hybrid meetings in-person shared that they tend to engage more with participants that are in the same room.
Access to technology a key driver for successful hybrid meetings
Respondents highlighted that technical issues are the most significant challenges with hybrid meetings, with connectivity issues (48%) and poor audio quality (42%) ranking amongst the top concerns. 38% of respondents also shared that not being able to see/hear in-person participants also was an issue they experienced during hybrid meetings. Interpersonal issues such as participants not paying attention (37%), poor video quality (36%), participants being late (32%) and getting talked over by other participants during meetings (31%) were also cited as challenges in hybrid meetings.
To address these pain points, organisations will have to ensure that employees have access to critical technology, including string network connectivity and video conferencing devices.
In fact, the survey revealed the critical role of video conferencing technology in solving the meeting equity problem. More than 7 in 10 respondents (77%) agreed that hybrid meetings are more engaging when video conferencing systems with high-quality audio and video output are used.
Closing the gap in hybrid meetings with enterprise-grade tools and solutions
Logitech sees meeting room devices, personal headsets and webcams as critical elements for the overall quality and experience of video meetings. In today’s increasingly hybrid work environment, there are several key aspects companies must consider to enable seamless collaboration, foster engagement, and place virtual meeting participants on equal footing with their counterparts in the conference room:
- Equip: Provide teams with enterprise-level equipment such as in-room video conferencing systems, webcams, microphones, and earbuds. This enables organisations to build a consistent, reliable experience that is natively integrated with its ecosystem of choice. Video conferencing systems also provide remote participants with a full view of everyone in the office meeting room through multiple cameras with different perspectives, placing them in the best seat in the room and help them feel more included, leading to more engaging, collaborative meetings.
- Simplify: With employees constantly switching between in-office and home working environments, creating an easy employee experience by ensuring that the home office closely resembles their office set-up will emerge as a top priority for organisations. Companies will have to identify pain points for both in-office and virtual meeting participants when setting up internal hybrid meeting systems, considering factors such as usability and complexity of equipment and meeting set-ups.
- Empower: Fostering meeting equity requires facilitators and organisers to take an active approach to empower and encourage engagement from virtual participants. They have to practice active facilitation, minimise visual and audio clutter, and minimise side conversations.
The mix of remote and in-person participants, especially in hybrid work arrangements, create unique challenges for companies wanting to run inclusive and participative meetings. Nevertheless, modern video conference technologies such as those from Logitech allow meeting organisers to make the world of work more equitable and productive.
Logitech surveyed 500 white-collar employees in the UAE, to gain an understanding of their preferences, perceptions, challenges, and behaviours as they navigate the hybrid work environment. The survey was conducted online In September 2022.