Designing and Delivering the Most Collaborative Hybrid Meeting Experience, Part 1

With more people returning to the office, hybrid meeting spaces are becoming a critical requirement to facilitate effective meetings with a dynamic mix of in-office and remote participants. This places new demands on architects, designers, property managers, and IT/end users to design and maintain hybrid meeting spaces that foster productivity and efficiency alongside simplicity and ease of use.

This series offers insight into designing and delivering the best hybrid meeting experience for your users or clients.


What is a hybrid meeting?

A hybrid meeting is a meeting or event that features at least one group of in-person/face-to-face attendees connecting virtually with other meeting attendees. For example, a board meeting with six members present and two members virtual, or any combination thereof. Hybrid meetings combine the benefits of live and virtual interaction between presenters, in-person attendees, and virtual attendees.


What is the goal of setting up an effective hybrid meeting space?

The pandemic has changed the way we communicate and collaborate. Our people have become accustomed to participating in virtual meeting platforms such as Microsoft Teams, Zoom, and Webex. There has been a learning curve, but for the most part, these meetings work as they should when all participants are connecting virtually.

Creating a positive meeting or presentation experience can become significantly more complicated when combining an in-office, face-to-face meeting with one or more virtual attendees. The larger the in-office meeting, both room size and number of attendees, the more difficult it becomes to create a hybrid meeting environment that is a productive and enjoyable experience, especially for remote attendees.

The goal is to make the virtual attendees feel as close and connected to the in-person attendees as possible and vice-versa. Such magic only happens when the space characteristics, furniture, and technology are cooperatively designed.


Stakeholder collaboration is critical to hybrid meeting success

There are many critical elements necessary to create hybrid meeting environments that work. When architects, interior designers, IT, technology integrators, and end-users work together, the chances of creating spaces that people enjoy using dramatically increase.


Key considerations include:

  • Architectural elements such as size, flexibility, privacy, lighting, and acoustic materials  
  • Furniture that is comfortable, functional, and flexible for the space 
  • Tools that help facilitate effective communication and co-creation in a hybrid environment 
  • Technology that matches the room, furniture, and intended interaction while maintaining reliability and ease of use   

The rest of this series will provide some best practices to consider to ensure that your hybrid meeting spaces will create the intended engagement, collaboration, productivity, and enjoyment.

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