What Is a Hybrid Meeting Room?

What Is a Hybrid Meeting Room?

What Is a Hybrid Meeting Room?

Posted on Jul 26, 2022

1 in 3 employees will start looking for a new job if they do not have hybrid options

Ask any industry analyst, and they are likely to tell you that hybrid work is here to stay. In 2021, collaboration giant Microsoft noted that 66 percent of business decision-makers are thinking about redesigning physical spaces to accommodate hybrid work.

Our poll found that if an employer did not offer hybrid work options, just 12 percent of employees would unquestioningly follow office attendance rules. Nearly 1 in 3 employees would start looking for a new job, while 50 percent try their best to negotiate. This indicates the importance of hybrid meeting rooms in the modern work environment.

A hybrid meeting room allows employees to collaborate across different distributed locations, be it the core headquarters, ancillary office sites, an employee’s home, or a coffee shop. It supports the growing demand for permanent Flexi-work in the wake of the pandemic. Still, it also allows employees to stay productive at their convenience – for example, when waiting at an airport.

Defining a Hybrid Meeting Room

A hybrid meeting room is a mid-sized conferencing space with all the physical equipment and software technology needed to help participants join meetings from home and office locations, share content, stay audible, and collaborate in real-time.

Before the pandemic, some meeting rooms were fitted with rudimentary hybrid capabilities. For instance, there could be a solitary video conferencing screen where a client or partner could remotely join in while the company’s meeting participants sat gathered around a table. Today, such basic configurations will no longer suffice, and companies of every size need a few fundamental hybrid meeting room features to stay productive.

Key Features of a Hybrid Meeting Room

The room must be able to support multiple participants joining in from various locations. This is facilitated through the following key features.

A large display

The display is where remote participants will be portrayed in a gallery mode. Smart displays equipped with software like Microsoft Teams or Zoom can arrange participants on a more naturalized layout such as an auditorium or gallery. Displays can be a bare-bones monitor connected to a separate video conferencing appliance or a smart monitor like the Microsoft Surface Hub or Zoom Rooms for Touch that comes pre-integrated with the software.

Excellent audio

During a session, a hybrid meeting room will typically have multiple participants present in the office. Those joining in remotely should be able to hear everyone clearly, and not just listen to one person. High-quality audio encourages everyone to speak up and participate inclusively, as they are guaranteed to be heard. Hybrid meeting rooms should have an omnidirectional multi-mic array.

Sufficient real estate

Small rooms used for daily huddles or standup meetings before the pandemic cannot double up as a hybrid meeting room. It needs sufficient space to mount a large display that can accommodate 6-9 or more remote participants in a gallery view. Lack of space could also impact the room’s acoustics and make it harder for IT to install meeting room equipment. Also, the room should have enough space to allow everyone to follow distancing measures if necessary.

Minimal wires

While it is impossible to eliminate cables and wiring from a hybrid meeting room completely, one should minimize this as much as possible. This is because a cluttered setup is difficult to maintain and will increase dependence on IT. companies can reduce meeting room clutter by opting for all-in-one hybrid meeting room solutions. In our recent article, you can explore some of the best equipment for hybrid meetings.

A scheduling system

A scheduling system ensures that hybrid meeting rooms are not overbooked and that different teams adhere to distancing and in-office safety norms while meeting in person. These systems are of two kinds – displays mounted outside the room that operates via touch and sync with all other rooms in the building, or app-based scheduling from desktop or mobile.

Challenges You Might Face When Designing a Hybrid Meeting Room

When designing hybrid meeting rooms, a significant challenge is ensuring performance and audio-visual quality. Meeting participants will join in via different networks, making it almost impossible to provide the same level of video and audio quality. The software you use must be optimized to work in challenging network conditions to support employees no matter where they are.

Another critical challenge is achieving inclusivity. Unless in-office participants remain aware, it is easy to overlook those joining in online and displaying unintentional bias towards employees present in person. Companies designing hybrid meeting rooms must take measures to provide remote workers with psychological comfort when collaborating with their in-office counterparts – e.g., by investing in better quality speakers.

The hybrid meeting room should also be able to replicate the same convenience of collaboration as physical spaces. For instance, a physical huddle room could have a whiteboard where meeting participants list their daily tasks, tick off completed items, make notes, etc. The same capabilities must be present in a hybrid meeting room through digital tools like an interactive touch-based whiteboard.

Original article: What Is a Hybrid Meeting Room? 

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