How to Implement Hybrid Meeting Rooms

After the remote working revolution brought about by the pandemic, the future of work has changed forever. Employees can now work more flexibly – whether that be remotely, in the office, or a combination of the two. While most organizations have systems in place to facilitate all three, one hurdle that’s not been surmounted is the office meeting.

Meeting rooms are the norm when everyone is in the office, while video calls are an option for fully remote teams. But how do you hold productive, fruitful meetings when teams are located both in and out of the office? That’s where hybrid meeting rooms come into play.

Already in 2022, we’ve seen HP announce its acquisition of Poly – ultimately to gain capability in hybrid meeting room technology. Clearly, it’s an area of great importance, which will only grow more in the future.

Read on to see what’s required from a hybrid meeting room, the challenges involved, and how to implement one in your organization.

What are hybrid meeting rooms?

Hybrid meeting rooms aren’t a million miles from the standard meeting rooms we’re all familiar with. At a glance, they are conference rooms with the usual tables and chairs, where people can meet in person. Dig a little deeper, however, and you’ll find all the software required to allow remote participation.

We’re not talking about make-shift attempts which deliver a subpar experience to anyone based remotely and result in a disbanded, stop-start meeting for everyone involved. That includes pre-pandemic meeting rooms, where clients could join on a single screen and interact (to some extent) with a company’s in-office team.

Instead, modern hybrid meeting rooms require the following features as a minimum:

1.    Display

Whether it’s a smart monitor with integrated software or a standard monitor connected to a video-conference app, hybrid meeting rooms need an adequate display so remote participants can be seen at all times.

2.    Audio

Hybrid meetings comprise several colleagues in and out of the office. While there will be no issues with audio in the room, those based remotely need to be able to hear everyone with the same clarity. Multiple omnidirectional microphones will be required so nobody feels left out.

3.    Space

As strange as it sounds, hybrid meeting rooms may need to be larger than their in-office predecessors. The room needs to be big enough for everyone that’s physically present to avoid acoustic issues. On top of that, you need space for a large display that shows as many remote participants as required, all at once.

4.    Scheduling

Much like the meeting rooms of yesteryear, hybrid meeting rooms need a synchronized scheduling system to avoid double-booking. Not least because of the confusion caused by constant rearrangements when people are already located in different time zones.

Challenges of hybrid meeting rooms

Ticking all of the boxes above is no mean feat for modern organizations, most of whom have plenty of existing tasks on their plate. Here are just some of the challenges when implementing hybrid meeting rooms…

·      Quality

Firstly, there’s quality. How do you ensure that everyone can see one another, hear one another, and interact seamlessly without constant delays and connectivity issues?

·      Inclusivity

Next is inclusivity. It’s important that hybrid meeting rooms are designed with everyone on a level playing field. If a hybrid meeting room works better for in-office participants, remote employees will become second-class citizens. They’ll feel like an afterthought, which will result in less comfort and less participation.

·      Convenience

You don’t have to sacrifice convenient features of a conventional meeting room when upgrading to a hybrid space. Whiteboards can be swapped for interactive whiteboards, which are automatically shared with remote participants as well as being on-display to those in the room.

·      Wiring

With all the microphones and monitors, it can be hard to build a fully functioning hybrid meeting room without the mess and trip hazards caused by wires. Integrated, all-in-one solutions can minimize this problem, so there aren’t quite so many wires to tuck away.

How to overcome the challenges

At Aura, we understand the challenges faced by organizations across the globe when it comes to hybrid meeting rooms. Not least because you’re still adapting to the various other challenges of hybrid working more broadly. Thankfully, we can make things easier with the resources, support and expertise you need across the globe.

Powered by Poly, our Device as a Service offering provides the devices and equipment you need on a subscription basis. Whether it’s screens, soundbars or microphones, you can avoid massive upfront capital expenditure costs while still procuring the state-of-the-art technology required for a seamless collaborative experience.

That’s paired with global field services in the form of Global Smart Hands. If you’ve purchased equipment but don’t have the expertise to install or configure it, our professional services can step in with onsite installation, configuration and troubleshooting.

Put simply, we can draw upon an arsenal of services and solutions to meet your requirements. If you’d like to talk more about hybrid meeting rooms for your organization, arrange a call with our team today.

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