Meeting Rooms take Centerstage in the Hybrid Workplace: Barco Research

Photo by Julia M Cameron on Pexels.com

81% of employees think their employer should start preparing for hybrid work Meeting Barometer drops as people struggle with overload of virtual meetings Office Optimism Returns with more than half of the workforce wanting to work less from home Bring Your Own Meeting (BYOM) emerges as employee’s preferred choice The laptop remains the number one tool for 85% employees to host video calls

NEW DELHI: Barco ClickShare, global leader in visualisation and collaboration solutions, has revealed the results from its annual research on meeting trends and engagement. As the Meeting Barometer, Barco’s meeting quality index, takes a plunge from +17 in 2020 to -25 now, the report marks five trends in work and meeting on the verge of returning to the office post-Covid. Hybrid meetings create opportunities for business leaders to change work culture, redesign the workplace and invest in usability and technology fully in sync with employee needs.

Rajiv Bhalla, Managing Director, Barco India says, “Technically, the old argument about which tasks can or cannot be done remotely has been dispensed within the last 12-14 months. More than productivity, concerns regarding hybrid working are all about employees – about bonding, connection, job security, innovation, access, culture and control. We need to realistically navigate towards an office where everyone can thrive, businesses as well as people. Meetings are at the centre of engagement in hybrid workplaces and can make a real impact on business outcomes starting from an employee-centric mindset. Visual tools are important for intimacy, to establish bonding with the remote worker, to share work progress, address the gaps, conveying urgency, ensuring deadlines. Tech exhaustion will be minimised if we match the right tools in the right proportion.”

In our newest, international survey we continued to monitor the engagement and needs of employees in meetings. We discovered 5 trending topics that business leaders can simply not ignore when preparing for a flexible, hybrid future:

Office optimism returns. Back to office scenarios are not only pushed by C-level management, but they are also completely in line with what employees want. More than 75% of Indian respondents are ready to return to the office, while 68% are expected to be back in the office one or more days by the end of June 2021. They want to work less from home than 6 months ago (2 days in 2020 – 1.5 days in 2021).

The Barco Meeting Barometer takes a plunge as people struggle with an overload of virtual meetings. An index of -25, compared to +17 in 2020 and +63 in 2019, clearly shows that meetings deteriorate. 72% feel remote collaboration does not come naturally. 

The search for more engagement drives us away from virtual. We look for more in-person meetings and less virtual interactions. 1 in 2 employees goes back to the office to host a meeting (60%). The preference for hybrid, in-person or virtual, meetings depend on the purpose and type of a meeting, as well as on the number of meeting participants. High engagement activities like decision-making, solution-solving or relationship-building require office-based meetings.

The laptop is our interface to the world. As the preference for people-centric tech becomes clearer, the laptop remains the number one tool for 85% of employees to host video calls from. Traditional in-room systems are no longer preferred, in favor of BYOD and BYOM.

The employee-centric workplace arises. Hybrid meeting investments should be in sync with employee expectations on how and where they want to work and collaborate. 53% believe that the company has not prioritized the investments they needed for better hybrid collaboration while 71% think that all meeting rooms need to be equipped with videoconferencing technology. 

The Time for Workplace change is Now

The emerging hybrid workplace isn’t just about simply going back to our old-ways or about drastically changing present-day, virtual habits. It will be a careful balance between employee needs and business goals. For companies to daily bridge the gap between in-office and remote workers and allow them to be truly productive in meetings, both a change in work culture and technology investments like usability, BYOM and video solutions, will be crucial. In addition, our report includes 3 main take-aways that will enable decision-makers to anticipate and keep ahead of competition, as they shape the hybrid workplace moving forward:

Re-connecting with the organization and with colleagues is crucial for employee engagement and retention. 81% of employees think their employer should start preparing for hybrid work now.

One size does not fit all. Not all meetings are equal, not all employees have the same needs or requirements for collaboration. There are many differences across generations, gender, department and seniority level. Companies need to develop workplace strategies that allow for this kind of flexibility and empower employees to work the way they want.

Bring Your Own Meeting (BYOM) is the employee’s preferred choice for connecting to the world and to co-workers. The laptop is the heart of the meeting room eco-system and employees want to work with wireless & touchless meeting room tech that allows BYOM. 87% believe that easy-to-use technology can make for a better meeting.