Two years into the global pandemic, hybrid work, or a flexible corporate environment that enables employees to operate both remotely and in a physical office, has become a permanent professional fixture. With now hybrid work the norm, employees have begun to expect new levels of flexibility and demand more from their hybrid work experience. One of the greatest peeves is meeting equity or ensuring that remote employees receive the same level of engagement, collaboration and access to a meeting room experience as those who are physically seated around the table, according to a major global survey by Barco, a global leader in visualisation and collaboration solutions.
Compiled in late 2021, the ClickShare Hybrid Meeting Survey reflects the attitudes and preferences of modern workers as business leaders adjust operational models, workspaces, and organisational cultures in alignment with evolving professional dynamics. Featuring input from almost 4,000 global workers across varying occupations and locations, the survey also captures the technical, functional, and emotional complications that have emerged across the broader hybrid work transition.
The new Barco ClickShare survey found that nearly 1 in 3 workers are struggling to feel heard during hybrid meetings, and this is forcing them to consider switching jobs to feel more satisfied at the workplace. Hybrid workers are growing more concerned about perceptions of an unequal and less productive meeting experience while working remotely and many are considering new opportunities at organisations where they believe they will be more included. The findings have huge ramifications considering the rising attrition levels across industries.
Commenting on the development, Rajiv Bhalla, managing director, Barco Electronic Systems Private Limited, said, “Remote and hybrid workstyles have been a reality for two years now and, with the influx of innovative solutions enabling equitable hybrid workplaces, it is high time for companies to adapt and empower its greatest assets – the employees themselves. With younger, digitally savvy individuals entering the workforce, organizations and HR teams need to convert hybrid challenges into opportunities by using technology as a true selling point in the war for talent. Further, with attrition figures at all-time highs, organizations need to create a company culture focused on greater meeting equity and digital inclusion. According to the survey, 44 per cent of the respondents’ state that their personal productivity has risen during remote work while 43 per cent feel that remote work has enhanced organizational productivity, indicating that, even as we move towards a pandemic-free future, hybrid workstyles should be maintained and enabled.”
It is imperative that organisations enable seamless hybrid meetings as the survey stated that, after nearly two years of familiarity with remote and hybrid work, more than one-third or 35 per cent of workers still have trouble fully engaging during hybrid meetings. A significant source of this disconnect emanates from a perception of oversight, as 28 per cent find it difficult to have their voices heard when joining hybrid meetings from an offsite location. Twice as many remote hybrid participants feel that meeting leaders cater too heavily to those in a physical meeting space when conducting the conversation.
With businesses feeling the impact of The Great Resignation, Barco found that hybrid technology and flexibility no longer are simply a means of operation, but rather a differentiator in recruiting and retaining top talent. The survey reiterates that as employees’ appetites for functional hybrid work continue to grow, working conditions are now just as important as salaries in attracting and retaining the best workers. For business leaders, successful hybrid work begins with establishing a formal policy and includes making investments that drive engagement and giving employees the leverage and tools to work wherever and however they like. These conversations and strategies will only grow in importance as businesses develop and execute their return-to-office plans.
The survey found that while 85 per cent of businesses have at least one dedicated video conferencing room in their space, only 39 per cent of IT managers feel these rooms are adequately prepared for a “Bring Your Own Meeting” style of work. As a result, nearly two in three workers have trouble mastering the differing connectivity points and laptop compatibility variables of their office’s video conferencing rooms.