|  4 min read

The future of hybrid meetings

The future of hybrid meetings Photo

While more and more companies are adopting hybrid work, there’s still a surprising amount of workers who are dissatisfied with hybrid meetings. With help from Gartner research we’re digging into how you can make your hybrid meetings better.

While hybrid work has gained a lot of support over the past few years, with 90% of companies stating that they will have implemented a hybrid work model by the end of 20241 the state of hybrid meetings is looking a little different.

In a recent report, Gartner wrote that “Hybrid meetings support the future of work but don’t provide the best experience. They are complicated and inequitable, and employees lack guidelines to run them well."2

So, what should you consider when it comes to hybrid meetings? How do you make sure your hybrid meetings work? That’s what we’ll take a look at in this article.

The problem with hybrid meetings.

According to Gartner “Supporting hybrid meetings is a priority for digital workplace leaders, with 96% of HR leaders reporting that they have already implemented or will implement hybrid work. But most workers dislike hybrid meetings compared to the alternative.”2

In fact, a survey from 2022 showed that “digital workers would prefer to spend 18% of their meeting time in hybrid meetings versus 47% in virtual meetings (including audio and video or audio only) and 35% in in-person meetings.”3

How workers prefer to spend their time

1) If the issue was technology, it would have been solved with the investments most companies made into better VC (videoconferencing) equipment back in 2020, and 2) if the issue was technology and platforms shouldn’t the same issues apply to virtual meetings which in large part uses the same technology (speakers, microphones and cameras) and platforms?

But when hybrid meetings trail so far behind both in-person and virtual meetings we have to conclude that the problem lies in the mix between in-person and virtual that are unique to hybrid meetings.

Get answers to the top 10 hybrid meeting questions by downloading this Gartner report today

Learn More

Are your meetings remote-first or remote-friendly meetings?

Before you can improve your hybrid meetings you need to figure out which type of hybrid meetings your organization primarily uses. This is because a hybrid meeting isn’t just a hybrid meeting. Generally speaking there are two different approaches to hybrid meetings. These are often reflected in the technological choices added to the meeting rooms.

Remote-first vs. remote friendly

Remote-friendly hybrid meetings.

The first, and most common, approach is a remote-friendly approach. This approach assumes that employees are physically present in a meeting room while it still offers the option to join the meeting remotely.

This is usually reflected by presentations being displayed on a screen or whiteboard in the meeting room, a wide-angle webcam mounted above the screen shows the meeting room to digital attendees and a single microphone/speaker placed centrally on the table is used to connect audio from the meeting room with audio from whatever digital platform is used by off-site employees.

The issue with this approach is that a lot of times things will happen in the physical meeting room that aren’t picked up by the digital attendees, either because someone forgot to unmute a microphone or because of connectivity issues, which leads to a poor experience for digital attendees.

Remote-first hybrid meetings.

The less common remote-first approach to hybrid meetings is, as the name suggests, an approach that assumes that one or more employees will always be remote, and tries to accommodate their experience by having every meeting participant, whether on-site or remote, join on the same terms.

This usually means that every participant logs into the digital meeting platform and connects with their own audio and video source.

This approach removes the discrepancy between remote and on-site attendees to a very large degree, but will also beg the question, isn’t this just a fully remote meeting?

Finding out which of the two hybrid meeting types your organization uses is the first step you need to take to improve your hybrid meetings.

How to make your hybrid meetings better

After you have figured out which type of hybrid meetings your organization is or wants to be a proponent of, it’s time to get into how you can actually improve the hybrid meetings experience.

  1. Technology

    Especially if your organization is a proponent of remote friendly hybrid meetings, technological improvements are very likely to be the primary way you can improve the meeting experience for both on-site and remote attendees.

    For on-site attendees the setup needs to be simple enough that they won’t feel the need to call for technical assistance every time they connect to the rooms’ screens, cameras and microphones, and for remote attendees the audio and visual sources from the meeting room needs to be clear and discernible and not a single webcam in a poor angle showing the on-site attendees as dark silhouettes.

  1. Best practices and aligning expectations.

    It doesn’t matter if your meetings are typically remote-first or remote-friendly in nature, either way employees need to know how they are expected to act in meetings that are hybrid and at the same time they need a way to align expectations.

    Being the only person who is remote in a meeting will likely reduce the experience for the remote attendee as on-site chat usually flows faster. At the same time coming to the office to attend a meeting and finding out that no room was booked because the host expected most people to be remote will also cause a poor meeting experience.

    This is why connecting things like meeting room booking and virtual meeting platforms with employee calendars and planning tools can help improve the overall meeting experience, not because it makes the meeting itself better, but because it provides employees with the information they need to decide whether they are joining a hybrid meeting as a remote or on-site attendant.

Get answers to the top 10 hybrid meeting questions by downloading this Gartner report today

Learn More


GARTNER is a registered trademark and service mark of Gartner, Inc. and/or its affiliates in the U.S. and internationally and is used herein with permission. All rights reserved.

Let's talk solutions

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.