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How can I successfully manage meetings in a hybrid working world?

Managing HR is challenging at the best of times! We are here to answer your queries and provide up to date HR advice on what is impacting businesses today.

Welcome to our weekly Q&A – if you have a question email us at info@voltedge.ie.

How can I successfully manage meetings in a hybrid working world?

As employees start to return to work in a Hybrid model, it is important to ensure our communication practices are up to scratch and inclusive of all parties across the workplace, no matter where you have employees working from or when they are working.

We have developed our top 10 tips for hosting engaging and effective meetings:

PURPOSE: Be clear about the purpose of the meeting (such as decision-making, information-sharing, collaboration) and check it’s suited to a hybrid approach. Communicate the intended outcome so everyone can prepare and are clear about the purpose – set expectations from the start.

INCLUSIVNESS: Avoid ‘presence disparity’ so that those present are not treated differently to those joining remotely. Take steps to involve remote participants by providing everyone with a chance to speak, use first names to be inclusive and personable.

EQUALITY: Ensure everyone has an equal voice, don’t just default to people you can see or those in the meeting room. Use tools and technical functionality like chat or hand-raising for example and explain how questions or comments will be answered at the beginning of the meeting. Make sure remote participants can contribute throughout – don’t just bring them in at the end.

TRAINING: Provide refresher training on facilitating meetings, to include all types of meetings and ensure you provide training on the tools and functionality now available on various platforms.

INDIVIDUAL TEAMS: Encourage and support teams to establish their own principles for hybrid meetings. This may include how often they should meet physically and for what purpose, what technology to use and how to ensure that communication is inclusive of all attendees.

CONSISTENCY: Decide which form of communication is important. There are various communication channels you can use, not every communication will need to be a meeting. Consider if there are other opportunities. There are many different ways to communicate – but using too many channels can be overwhelming. Agree a primary channel for each particular purpose, such as one platform for online meetings, and one for messaging. Check that everyone knows how to use them fully.

TECHNOLOGY TOOLS: Make use of smart technology (asynchronous) tools that allow people to contribute without having to be at the meeting (such as Slack or chat functions in platforms like Microsoft Teams. This provides schedule- and location-flexibility, and reduce meeting time as alternatives to having hybrid meetings.

LOCAL CONVERSATIONS: Don’t allow those in the meeting room to begin side conversations that remote participants cannot hear or take part in.

USE OF EQUIPMENT: Avoid using equipment in the room (such as a flip chart or visual aids) that those attending remotely are unable to properly see. Present slides via the remote technology in use.

BEFORE AND AFTER MEETINGS: Don’t start in-person conversations before the meeting starts (or remote participants have joined) or continue conversations after they have left.

A successful meeting will be engaging, have clear objectives, actions, outcomes and a purpose.  In a hybrid working world it is even more important not to lose sight of these and to put some extra energy and thought into the planning and execution of meetings.

Need more help? Voltedge Management team can help you to get advice on all aspects of human resources and management. Email Ingrid at info@voltedge.ie or ring our offices at 01 525 2914.

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