If 2020 was the year of remote work, this will be the year of the hybrid workplace.
In a hybrid workplace, employees spend some days in the office and some days working remotely, meaning employers must bridge the gap between the virtual and physical work environments. This requires the right technology, particularly when it comes to meetings.
Here are seven meeting solutions that can help you ensure your workforce can effectively communicate and collaborate from anywhere.
7 meeting solutions your hybrid workplace needs
1. The right video conferencing platform
In today’s workplace, it’s difficult to imagine operating without video conferencing technology. While Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and Slack are defaults for many people, it’s not a bad idea to consider alternative virtual meeting solutions that may be better suited for different scenarios.
For example, Google Meet is easy to set up and perfect for team meetings, impromptu check-ins, and one-on-ones. Admins can update the default Google Calendar settings so video conferencing links are automatically added to every calendar event.
join.me is another video conferencing tool that allows you to create a single URL that can be used any time you want to host a meeting. Unlike some other platforms, this URL is static, so you don’t have to share a new URL before every video conference, which is especially helpful for recurring appointments.
2. A smart conference room speaker
High quality videoconferencing technology can make your distributed workforce almost feel like they’re all in the same room. On the contrary, glitchy webcams, unreliable microphones, and finicky speakers are distracting.
One way to ensure your video conferences stay productive is to use a smart meeting room solution like the Meeting Owl, an all-in-one camera, microphone, and speaker. The Meeting Owl video conferencing system is compatible with all of the popular video conferencing platforms, including Zoom, GoToMeeting, and WebEx. It works via Wi-Fi or USB connection.
This technology uses eight built-in microphones to detect who is speaking and automatically focuses its integrated 360-degree camera on that person. It can also be configured to fixate on a specific point in the room, such as a whiteboard, to ensure everyone can see properly.
3. Premium webcams and lighting
The ability to see every team member is the main benefit of hosting a video conference.
Unfortunately, many laptop manufacturers haven’t upgraded their webcam technology. Some of the newest laptops have cameras that are lower quality than those found on 10-year-old smartphones.
If you want to upgrade your video conference solutions, you shouldn’t focus only on your technology in the workplace. You also need to consider the video communication tools you provide to employees working remotely. Consider investing in premium standalone webcams with stereo microphones and noise-canceling features. Mini LED lights are also an affordable way to improve lighting conditions and the appearance of everyone on camera.
You can also recommend that employees use background filters, such as blurring their real-world surroundings or replacing them with a neutral, professional image, to minimize outside distractions.
4. Meeting scheduling software
Just because your workplace occupancy levels may be lower after adopting a hybrid workplace doesn’t mean you won’t experience conference room booking challenges. Fortunately, meeting scheduling software can help eliminate many annoying conference room issues like false scarcity, phantom reservations, and double-booked rooms.
With these meeting solutions, employees can use their computers or mobile devices to reserve conference rooms anywhere. Meeting scheduling software gives employees visibility into live room availability and also allows them to connect their preferred calendar tool for automatic appointment syncing.
In addition to booking conference rooms, employees can reserve other meeting spaces, such as huddle areas. They can also invite guests directly from their contacts, reserve special equipment such as monitors and digital projectors, and request services like food delivery.
Meeting scheduling software supports the flexibility and agility that are essential to your hybrid workplace.
5. Room scheduling displays
Room scheduling displays are mounted on the wall outside each meeting space and use integrations with workplace calendars to display real-time room availability.
They also show the time remaining in each reservation and any upcoming meetings. Employees can book the space for the next available time on the spot.
These digital displays also let employees know important details about the meeting room, including seating capacity, layout and dimensions, and the available technology and assets, such as a TV or projector. Employees can use room scheduling panels to easily create a service ticket if a piece of equipment is not functioning properly.
Room scheduling displays are a particularly important return-to-work solution as they help prevent overcrowding and make it easier for employees to choose meeting spaces where they can maintain safe distances.
6. Wayfinding software
Wayfinding software gives employees access to interactive maps of the workplace with live turn-by-turn directions, similar to Google Maps or Waze.
It’s an especially important meeting solution now since your workplace has likely undergone changes over the past year. You may have also hired new employees remotely who will be coming into the office for the first time.
A wayfinding system can be installed on digital signage, incorporated into an employee experience (EX) mobile app, or both. With this meeting solution, your workforce will be able to take advantage of user-friendly tools and 3-D floor plans with highlighted points of interest that allow them to find their way around. They can even rotate the maps to help them more accurately determine their location in the workplace and choose the most direct route to their destination.
7. Internet of Things (IoT) sensors
Internet of Things (IoT) sensors can supercharge the capabilities of several meeting solutions while also helping workplace leaders make more informed decisions about meeting room management.
IoT sensors collect data on real-time occupancy and send this information to your meeting scheduling software, room scheduling panels, and wayfinding software. This allows the solutions to update room availability using actual occupancy.
Workplace leaders can use IoT sensor data to identify average occupancy, peak occupancy, and meeting room utilization. This can help you set more efficient cleaning schedules, adjust the workplace design according to demand, and plan for future needs.
IoT sensors can even measure environmental conditions in meeting rooms, such as temperature and humidity. This helps keep employees comfortable while they’re in the office so they’ll want to spend more time there.
Evaluate your meeting solutions and other technology
Maintaining the same level of meeting productivity is crucial for a hybrid workplace. The good news is, with the right meeting solutions, any divisions between the on-site and remote workforce will become almost unnoticeable.
As you prepare to welcome employees back to the office, it’s the perfect time to evaluate your workplace technology. Our five-minute assessment helps you identify your strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities in five key areas. It also gives you actionable recommendations on where to improve, helping you prioritize your next tech investments.
Take the first steps toward improving collaboration in your hybrid workplace. Take the assessment, or schedule a free tour of our room reservation software.