Hybrid working has become an established aspect of our working lives, and hybrid meetings are intrinsic to it. With a combination of physical and virtual attendance, teams around the world can work together more efficiently. But an ergonomic approach to hybrid meetings is essential.
Are hybrid meetings a good idea?
Certainly, if you organise them well, because participants can join the meeting no matter where they are. It has suddenly become a whole lot easier to bring people from all over the world to the table. It’s more inclusive as well, because it’s easier to get a diverse group of participants together. That contributes to inclusiveness and diversity in decision-making and collaboration.
Other benefits include:
- A shorter travelling time, which means greater productivity.
- A smaller ecological footprint, because people don’t need to travel as much.
- A better life-work balance for participants working remotely.
- Organisations can continue to function even if there are restrictions on physical gatherings.
- Decisions can be made more quickly, because it is easier to bring people together.
- You can record and archive hybrid meetings. That’s useful for anyone who misses the meeting, and it’s a way to keep track of important information and decisions.
Can hybrid meetings be ergonomic?
It’s obviously important for both on-site and remote participants to have an ergonomic set-up. That involves things like correctly positioned chairs, tables and technology. Be sure to provide any ergonomic tools required as well, such as keyboards and mouse supports, to reduce the strain on wrists and hands. However, hybrid meetings do require a bit more attention to ergonomics:
1. Optimise camera and screen heights
Place the camera at eye level, so that you can look at both physical and virtual participants at eye level during the meeting. The same applies to the computer screen. Putting it at the correct height removes the need to bend your neck, and it improves your posture.
2. Good lighting is essential
Sufficient, well-positioned lighting is important for an ergonomic workplace. Avoid reflections on screens and ensure there is sufficient natural light. The right lighting reduces eye strain and improves concentration.
3. Sound management
Can everybody hear me? Good sound management is crucial, especially in hybrid meetings where external sounds and echoes can be a problem. Consider using sound-dampening materials and technology to improve audio quality.
4. Interaction without frustration
Facilitating interactions between on-site participants and those attending remotely is essential. Consider using technologies such as video conferencing software, which enables remote participants to ask questions and participate actively in discussions.
5. Smart use of the space
If space is limited, try to arrange on-site participants so that they are in full view of the camera without making them feel uncomfortable. Consider using wide-angle cameras as well, to improve the view of the room.
6. Training and awareness
Make sure all the participants, whether they attend on site or remotely, are aware of the ergonomic requirements and the best practices for hybrid meetings. Training and awareness may help guarantee a smoother and more productive experience of meetings.
Want to integrate hybrid meetings yourself?
Hybrid meetings have many benefits, but it is important not to forget about ergonomics. Do you want to use this form of meeting at your company? We would be happy to help you adapt the entire furnishing of your office (and home office) to the specific needs of hybrid meetings. Feel free to contact us.