Apr 20 2022

5 Ways to Create the Best Possible Hybrid Meeting Environment for Your Agency

Make sure workers at home and in the office get equal technology and attention.

As more federal agencies return to the office while still allowing working from home, the need for remote and onsite employees to join in meetings together is increasing. Pre-pandemic, the technology for a hybrid meeting usually consisted of a speaker in the middle of a table; now, workers insist on having far better tech that gives them a more complete experience, no matter which end of the meeting they’re on. Here are five questions to consider as you design the perfect hybrid meeting environment for your agency.

1. What Do I Need to Make Audio Clear to Remote Participants?

Audio has changed a lot over the past decade, and it’s imperative that federal agencies modernize in this area. Wide-band audio, also known as HD voice, extends the frequency range of audio signals, resulting in higher-quality speech. In medium to large rooms, multiple microphones are necessary to capture the audio of all the participants. A third consideration for audio is to use the voice technology integrated into collaboration platforms such as Webex, Zoom or Avaya. This makes the systems easier to use and introduces new capabilities such as translation, noise blocking and transcription.

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2. What Tech Will Make Remote Workers Feel Like They’re in the Office?

Most collaboration vendors have introduced capabilities that use artificial intelligence to take a single camera feed and split it into multiple streams. Features such as Zoom’s Together Mode transforms the traditional “bowling alley” view where remote participants see one end of a long table into one that displays the face of each participant. This lets all participants have the same view of everyone.

3. How Can We Share Information Without Having Everyone Stare at Their Laptops?

Modern collaboration platforms are fully integrated with digital displays that allow users to interact with content that can be shared with remote participants. For example, the Cisco Webex Board lets participants wirelessly share content in HD video via a touch screen. This lets in-room attendees create and annotate content and collaborate easily with remote participants.

READ MORE: It's possible to use team collaboration tools in a cross-agency environment. Here's how.

4. How Can I Enable Side Conversations When Necessary?

Team messaging is ideally suited for sidebar conversations during meetings. Participants can follow the flow of the broader meeting via video and shared content and then use the messaging capabilities to chat with one or more people to create a side conversation. Ideally, employees would use the chat feature integrated into the meeting solution, but stand-alone apps are a viable option.

5. How Can I Use Existing Technology to Run More Complex Meetings?

Team collaboration apps are designed for quick messages to be sent between two or more people. More complex meetings require a full-feature collaboration application that includes video, calling, content sharing, whiteboarding and more. By choosing an integrated application, employees can start in team collaboration and then escalate to a call or video meeting when the need arises. This is why an integrated collaboration solution should be chosen over separate best-of-breed applications.

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