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How can organisations enable equitable and inclusive meetings in the workplace? – mr.Anand Lakshmanan, Head of India, Logitech 

Video conferencing has evolved into an essential tool for communication and collaboration in the modern workplace. The advent of hybrid work comes with both advantages and disadvantages. Even as hybrid and remote work creates new opportunities for employees, remote participants in hybrid meetings often miss out on important discussion points due to a lack of physical proximity. In the recent Microsoft Work Trend Index report, 51% hybrid employees are considering a switching to a full time remote role while 57% remote employees wish to consider hybrid. This indicates that hybridand remote work is becoming a dominant work model.

The shift to hybrid work posed various challenges for employees. They had to adapt to a novel work environment that combined remote and in-person aspects, which could be overwhelming. Issues such as poor internet connectivity, bandwidth limitations, and technical glitches caused audio andvideo lags, disrupting communication. This transition affectednot only remote participants, but also in-person participants. Due to poor visual and audio quality, in-person participants in hybrid meetings frequently struggle to see and hear remote participants fully. As a result, they may feel disconnected from those who join remotely and will frequently focus on those who are physically present in the room rather than those who are on-screen.

This disparity between remote and in-office workers has been impacting effectiveness of hybrid meetings. According toLogitech Remote Work Study , 89% employees struggle with video issues and 85% struggle with audio issues. This leads to a predictable outcome: unequal participation, disengagement, meeting outcomes that are left unfinished, and dissatisfied employees.

There is a growing sense of urgency to address this issue and make the hybrid meeting experience equally accessible to all participants, allowing every participant to be seen and heard properly. Addressing the meeting equity gap is importantespecially in situations where effective collaboration and decision-making rely on all team members’ participation.Hybrid meetings are simple in theory, but developing more equitable meetings necessitates refinement and careful attention. In the hybrid world, businesses are paying attention to how meetings are conducted. Companies must ensure that all meeting participants feel included and equal as more people work remotely.

Some ways organizations can establish meeting equity in the workplace by leveraging video conferencing:

EQUIP THE UNDEREQUIPPED WORKER: Hybrid work is video-first and collaboration-focused; technology can also assist in closing the equity gap within meetings. It necessitates the development of new communication and collaboration tools for employees. While organisations upgrade their workstations and meeting rooms for video conferencing, home offices are frequently overlooked. As a result, remote workers are ill-equipped for high-quality video collaboration. This is where the need for advanced video collaboration technology is crucial. Proactively equipping hybrid workers with the tools such as enterprise-grade webcam and headset for virtual collaboration is one way to address issues that have stemmed from hybrid or virtual meetings.  Logitech is working towards closing the meeting equity gap through its state of art product and technology, one such offering that helps address the concern of visibility in meetings is Logitech Sightdesigned to solve the disparity between hybrid teams by giving remote workers an “at the table” experience when meeting with office-based colleagues.

VIDEO ENABLE MEETING ROOMS: Equipping remote workers with the right tools is a step in the right direction, but properly outfitting meeting spaces is just as important. The pandemic and subsequent shift to hybrid work shifted our perspective dramatically, as many of us discovered how painful the remote experience can be. Fortunately, rapid innovation such as collaboration tools, inclusive design, AI tech etc. are improving the situation, and organisations are continuously seeking solutions that make the meeting experience far more equitable for all participants — both in person and remote. Owing to rising emergence of technology in the video conferencing space, meeting rooms from small to huddle to large will continue to improve and become more equitable making it easier for a seamless connection and collaboration with remote participants.

ENCOURAGE ACTIVE PARTICIPATION: In order to establish meeting equity, it is critical to encourage active participation in meetings. Companies are tackling this issue successfully today by harnessing technology to conduct productive video meetings. New technology, such as meeting room controls and whiteboard cameras, have come forth to ensure that all employees are heard during meetings. In a mission to make every meeting equitable Logitech has launched a series of new age products. One of such product is Scribe, an AI-powered whiteboarding camera, broadcasts whiteboard content directly into a video call–and makes the writer’s hand transparent so the remote person’s view is unobstructed. Another win for the pursuit of meeting equity.

INCREASING TEAM PARTICIPATION: Promoting meeting equity involves fostering inclusivity and active participation from all team members through inclusive meeting agendas. This can be achieved by seeking input from all team members prior to meetings, creating opportunities for sharing perspectives and ideas, and structuring meetings to encourage collaboration and discussion. By creating more inclusive meeting agendas, organizations can guarantee equal participation for all team members and maintain a clear focus on achieving common goals.

EVALUATE AND ADAPT: Organisations must be willing to evaluate their virtual meeting practises on a regular basis and adapt as needed. This could include asking team members for feedback on their virtual meeting experiences, analysing meeting data to identify areas for improvement, and implementing changes basis feedback. Creating an environment that encourages equitable communication and collaboration among team members requires continuously evaluating and adapting virtual meeting practises.

To summarise, meeting equity is a critical component of effective communication and collaboration in the workplace. It is vital for organizations to ensure equal opportunity for all employees and foster a collaborative culture in order to accelerate growth for employees and organisations.

– Anand Lakshmanan, Head of India, Logitech

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