What is a hybrid meeting?
As people begin to return to office spaces, more and more workers are participating in 'hybrid' meetings. But what do we mean by hybrid meeting and why does this trend have many companies searching for an effective microphone solution?
A hybrid meeting is a meeting where some participants attend in-person from one location, such as an office space or event room, while others join remotely via a conferencing platform, such as Zoom or Microsoft Teams.
Hybrid meetings are nothing new, but they're quickly growing in popularity for obvious reasons - offices are reopening, but not everyone plans or wants to return to their office desk full time. A recent study shows, over half of employees (55%) would prefer to be remote at least three days a week once pandemic concerns recede.
With teams split between the office and other locations, hybrid meetings are set to become a permanent element of the future work environment. And it's not just because people like working from home.
3 trends that will make hybrid meetings the new standard
After a year of mass experimentation with remote work, it's not just employees that have found it beneficial. Employers are seeing heightened team productivity and have gained access to a wider talent pool. Additionally, teams have better understood what it is that they've been missing most about the office.
These trends point to a growing acceptance of remote work, while also highlighting that people aren't ready to fully give up the office.
A new perspective on working from home
Behind the push for full or partial remote work lies the realization that coming into the office is unnecessary for meaningful work. More than that, with remote work, average productivity has gone up, giving employers a strong business case for continuing/implementing mixed workweeks.
Growing acceptance of remote hires
Operating remotely has helped companies unlock access to a larger, location-agnostic talent pool, even hiring internationally to gain a competitive advantage. It's unlikely companies will abandon the gained benefits in favor of hiring locally. That said, even local hires show strong appreciation for the option to work remotely, making it a key selling point for companies looking to attract talent.
Most people don't want 100% remote nor 100% in-office
The PwC study shows that some respondents (8%) would prefer to work full-time from the office. A significantly larger group (29%) would be happy to work remotely 5 days a week, however, the majority (63%) favor some level of mixed work. As such, it is unlikely that companies will do away with offices entirely.
Mixed workweeks are becoming commonplace. And with employees working from different locations, hybrid meetings will become essential for communication.
Different types of hybrid meetings
As mentioned earlier, hybrid meetings are nothing new and those that already happened in a hybrid format will likely continue to do so, such as calls between teams and clients in different time zones.
It's the other, more mundane, types of meetings that are taking on a new hybrid element, including things like daily team standups, retrospectives, brainstorm sessions, and all-hands meetings.
The technical challenges posed by hybrid meetings
The key difference between hybrid meetings and the standard virtual meetings all of us working from home have grown accustomed to is that in the former not everyone has a microphone directly in front of them. As such, hybrid meetings pose a bigger challenge when it comes to ensuring everyone gets heard, especially in larger all-hands hybrid meetings.
The group that is in in-person typically uses a single device to connect to the meeting, which can become a source of communication issues, since a single laptop's microphone can struggle to pick up far-away voices, sowing frustration as some people go unheard or need to shout to make a point.
As such, in scenarios where there is a large in-person team joining the call or when the in-person team would like to observe some social distancing, an advanced audio solution is required, since people won't be able to huddle up around the main microphone.
Hybrid meeting microphone
A conference phone or a Catchbox wireless microphone system can remedy the problem. While the former can do a good job with standard static meetings, the Catchbox system shines in more dynamic situations, such as brainstorming sessions.
The Catchbox Plus is a plug-and-play two-channel wireless microphone system that features the world's first throwable microphone. The throwable mic is encased in a soft material, which makes it possible and safe to throw it around, while, at the same time, providing a professional audio solution. This mic can be used in tandem with the Presenter mic - a compact, wearable microphone that allows the meeting's leader or presenter to take charge of the room hands-free.
Bridging the gap with better collaboration in any space
Meetings should be a place for people to share ideas and engage in collaborative discussions. This can be a challenge in hybrid meetings, especially as many offices are not properly equipped to facilitate collaboration between groups of in-room and remote colleagues.
Catchbox Plus can quickly turn any room into a collaborative space for hybrid meetings. The system's receiver features USB connectivity, which allows it to be plugged into any device as an audio input. This is a great way to quickly and easily that audio from the meeting room participants can be clearly heard by anyone joining via video conferencing software.
Beyond meetings: hybrid corporate events
Of course, when it comes to group communication, it's not just office meetings that the pandemic has reshaped. With teams growing increasingly remote and safety considerations still in mind, any event where many employees congregate now requires some hybrid element.
Corporate events and company presentations are fantastic morale boosters and other events that foster camaraderie between teams by bringing them together are an essential part of corporate life and will likely resume as offices are once again populated by people.
Similar to hybrid meetings, not everyone will want to or feel safe to join in person, choosing instead to connect remotely. However, for those who do join in person, ensuring good audience audio becomes the chief technical challenge. While one camera can ensure a decent visual of the entire in-office audience, one static microphone would be insufficient for audio. Even conference phones can feel lacking.
As such, an easy-to-use solution such as Catchbox is ideal for these types of events, since it's quick and fun to pass around, which can be done with minimal human contact, as the foam casing means you can safely throw it around. The wireless microphone is an engaging and practical item that can enhance not only the audio quality of any event but also make it more interactive.
The likes of Airtame and Slido use Catchbox to transform their hybrid all-hands events into collaborative affairs for all participants. Check out their stories in these in-depth case studies below.
Catchbox for hybrid collaboration
“If your company does something like all-hands or town hall meetings, I would recommend going for the Catchbox Plus with the Presenter Mic. We keep the presenter mic at the front of the room and pass the Catchbox between the audience.”
Quick, effective voice transition is a simple thing but it makes such a difference. We always try to keep online participants in mind and with Catchbox, there’s no delays or wait times and the audio quality is always excellent. As a result, our remote guys always feel fully involved in the meetings.
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Create better collaboration spaces and improve your hybrid meetings with Catchbox. If you would like to learn more about how Catchbox could help your organization adapt to the new normal, speak to our sales team today.