The global pandemic has been a catalyst for digital acceleration across all industries, writes Anthony Wright, Sales Director UK/IRE/Nordics at Barco.

As we continue to adapt to the hybrid workplace era, some businesses may believe an easy solution is a full-scale return to the office. However, many employees are not ready to give up the freedom.

Our very own hybrid meeting survey which was launched at the beginning of the year found that a third of workers said they are more likely to join companies with a more clearly defined hybrid work policy. As many continue to search for greater purpose in their careers, some changed professions, with many more realising that work could at least partially be done remotely.

Hybrid working: Technical infrastructure and meeting equity

As we take a deeper dive into the social ramifications of hybrid working, there’s the need to understand all technological infrastructure for hybrid to achieve its true potential.

Meetings remain a key part of any collaborative effort, and by creating a situation where those both remote and in the office can work together on equal parity, we’ll see the creation of an environment that encourages workers to thrive in the current era regardless of where they are.

Meeting equity is one of the main issues presented by hybrid working, and when this barrier is overcome, hybrid will be enshrined in the future of work as a method that will empower businesses to re-think their wider footprint. But even after two years of remote working, employees are still experiencing difficulties when joining hybrid meetings from an offsite location.

Based on our research, 28% of workers find it difficult to have their voices heard while some feel that meeting leaders cater too heavily to those in a physical meeting space when attending hybrid meetings.

Meeting equity: overcoming the barriers

Technology is a critical player when it comes to promoting greater inclusion and equality. However, CIOs and IT decision makers must, in the first instance, understand their employees’ needs and how they prefer to work.

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This way, businesses can ensure their workforce has the correct tools and devices to maximise productivity wherever they choose to work. Employers can’t expect workers to be at their best in the hybrid working era if they don’t establish or redesign their workspace to cater for different styles of working and different needs.

Not only has the pandemic changed the way we work, it has also given us an opportunity to reflect on how we would like to work and connect in meetings. For employees, ease of use is above all, particularly as many have to connect via video or audio calls with colleagues, partners or customers multiple times a day.

Thanks to their universal compatibility with most in-room systems, peripherals, and UC&C platforms, agnostic collaboration tools, such as ClickShare are also easy to integrate into most existing meeting room set-ups, offering a much more inclusive and familiar meeting experience for users.

Stay at the forefront of hybrid working

Over the past two years, workers have become accustomed to hybrid technology and flexibility. As we gradually return to the office, employees continue to expect easy to use, high quality voice and video experiences that allow all participants to see and hear each other.

Our Meeting Barometer, a semi-annual meeting quality sentiment index has also most recently dropped from an overall score of +63 (2019) to an all-time low at -38 (out of 100)! This essentially reiterated that as employees’ appetites for a functional hybrid work model continues to grow, working conditions have become just as important as salaries in attracting and retaining the best workers.

The cultural shift that has facilitated this changing approach to the workplace has already happened, the will to maintain the hybrid workplace is already in place. Hybrid can be challenging, causing tech-induced stress (71%) that could lead to poor job satisfaction. In order for businesses to thrive and succeed, they must invest in technological infrastructure that empowers their employees to work remotely and in a way that puts them on an equal playing field with those in the office.

About the author

Anthony Wright is Sales Director for the UK/IRE/Nordics region at Barco, a global technology solutions company working in the entertainment, enterprise and healthcare markets.