5 min read

The Challenges of Hybrid Meetings

By Lucy Palmer on 04/11/21 11:04

A hybrid meeting allows some participants to be present in the room while others attend remotely. 

The past year has seen a dramatic rise in this type of meeting as the pandemic has forced many organisations to adapt. Some workers have moved back into the office while others continue working online. This has shown the importance of flexible platform software.

There are numerous reasons you should consider holding hybrid meetings. From improving productivity to supporting creative collaboration, they could be what your Board needs to give you the edge.

However, as with every change, you should prepare for new challenges. Hybrid meetings will take some adjustment as your team learns to collaborate in this new, more effective way.

We’ve put together some of the key challenges you may have to face and how to handle them:

  1.   Accessibility

Technology has helped make the world a more accessible place. The ability to work remotely gives many people opportunities to contribute in the workplace without having to be physically present. 

Hybrid meetings can pose a challenge to this new harmony. Organisations may be inclined to focus on the people in the room rather than the people working remotely.

This is particularly significant when taking actions. For example, if you want to conduct a vote, you need to make sure the process is entirely fair. The in-person team and the virtual team should get the same consideration. 

No one should feel they are an afterthought in the meeting. This can be easily accounted for but must first be recognised.

  1.   Engagement

With hybrid meetings, it may be more difficult for some employees to stick to the point. Make an active effort to limit distractions and discourage multi-tasking. This is important in any meeting, but hybrid meetings may lead some to take advantage of the flexibility.

It may be worth introducing a ‘video-on’ policy for the online participants, where they are required to use their cameras. This will help promote engagement with the content of the meeting.

Another useful step is to make sure everyone is asked to contribute. Assigning clear roles and responsibilities will encourage your team to invest in the discussion.

  1.   Team Spirit

This is one of the most fundamental challenges that comes with any meeting. You need to make sure your entire team is on the same page so collaboration can flow naturally.

Hybrid meetings may make this difficult. Everyone is quite literally in a different place which means they may struggle to function as one unit. Internet lag and technical issues can exacerbate this issue.

A lack of team spirit might seem like a small hurdle early on but it needs to be addressed as soon as possible. Otherwise, it can be the difference between a resolution and an Action Item on the next agenda.

Lack of team spirit is relatively easy to fix if you get to the heart of the question early on. Prompt everyone in the meeting to introduce themselves! This is a small step that can help clarify roles and responsibilities. 

You could also leave time for ‘water-cooler talk’ to improve the team dynamic. If you are particularly enthusiastic about this issue, you could even hold an informal meeting, before your scheduled formal meeting.

  1.   Security

Board meetings are built on security. The digital age has ushered in a new era of data protection that every organisation should take advantage of. A paper document is not at all secure, as anyone can read it, but software offers an alternative.

In fact, it is a legal requirement in the UK, under the GDPR, that all personal data is processed fairly to maintain integrity. From a practical point of view, it is a concrete risk to your company to leave your data exposed.

You can easily achieve this level of security in a hybrid meeting but there are a few additional steps you need to take. Firstly, go over the regulations and controls before the start of the meeting. Make sure no one takes the extra flexibility as a chance to be lax on security. 

A centralised platform to store your documents may also be useful. This way, you don’t have to worry about some people carrying around paper documents and risking the integrity of the data.

  1.   Controlling Your Users

The hybrid environment may make it more difficult than usual to maintain a sense of order within the meeting. Of course, this is partly a security concern. If you can’t control your users, how can you ensure they are respecting security regulations?

However, controlling your users is also a practical issue. You want your Board meetings to be as efficient as possible. There is no time for confusion when you are deciding the future of your company.

Having granular access controls for digital documents will improve your ability to protect documents. Both the remote and online members will benefit from software that supports clear decision-making. 

This will make your job far easier when it comes to creating a clear audit trail. There is no disadvantage to having control over your users. 

How Can Convene Help You Respond To The Challenges of Hybrid Meetings?

Convene is a Board Portal solution that aims to make hybrid meetings easier. Our secure Document Library allows eyes-only access to essential files, both online and offline. From planning the meeting to creating a secure audit trail, Convene is designed to support your whole team.

Discover our full range of features to see how we can help your organisation. If you are interested in learning more, don’t hesitate to get in touch or book your free trial now!

Lucy Palmer

Written by Lucy Palmer

Subscribe to the Convene blog to get regular tips and updates on Governance and Digital Transformation!