The modern workplace looks different as many roles have moved to remote work while others remain in the office. The hybrid work environment can be challenging when working through collaboration and participation, particularly in meetings. Creating a work environment that embraces equity is essential to ensure all workers can contribute and communicate equally. How do you ensure that your hybrid workforce, regardless of location, can participate equally?
How to Improve Engagement and Participation in Hybrid Meetings
Meetings in a hybrid work environment can be beneficial for several reasons. They provide a level of flexibility and can be recorded for future use and to recall meeting highlights when needed. While there are many benefits, challenges can arise that may stifle engagement and participation. Often meetings are dominated by those physically in meeting rooms, while remote workers can feel more like an audience.
Inequity within a hybrid workplace can lead to workers feeling discouraged, morale lowered, and their well-being compromised. When worker morale is low, companies see an increase in turnover and lose key employees. Increasing engagement and participation requires the efforts of everyone on the team, from management, in-house workers, and remote workers.
Actions for Remote Employees to Improve Engagement
- Keep Camera Turned On – Having the camera on for all remote workers creates a more inviting interaction for all parties. With the camera on, workers feel seen and increases participation.
- Encourage Engagement – You want to encourage engagement by directing the conversation, asking questions, and directing them to feel comfortable and engage as if they were in person.
- Do Individual Checks Meeting Software – Ensure your remote workers meeting software is working properly and that they can hear and speak without issue. Ensuring they have everything in working order helps motivate remote team members to participate.
Actions for In-Person Employees to Improve Engagement
- Remember the Remote Experience – It’s important to remember that remote work and attending meetings has their own set of unique challenges. When a remote member has issues, in-house workers should show empathy and wait for the issue to resolve.
- Save Side Conversations for After the Meeting – Stay on task, focus on the meeting at hand, and avoid starting side conversations with in-person attendees to avoid making the remote team feel left out.
- Speak to the Camera as if it Were a Person – Make sure when engaging remote workers treat the camera as if they were in person. Make eye contact and use the same cues in a normal, empathetic conversation to encourage remote workers to get more involved.
Actions for Meeting Host
- Set Aside Speaking Time – As the meeting host, you must ensure everyone feels included. You should actively call on everyone equally or even set an agenda that includes roles and duties on the topic of discussion.
- Engaging Small Talk – At the beginning of the meeting, start with some controlled small talk to personalize the experience and start fun discussions that make everyone feel involved and help everyone get to know each other better.
A good hybrid workforce that collaborates and communicates well requires a great IT team. AE Technology Group can help equip your employees with the tools they need to support any workplace strategy. Call us today at (516) 536-5006 to learn more about how we can help you with your technology needs.
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