Merge's Blog

For hybrid team meetings, have ALL your staff join virtually

Since January, I’ve been sharing specific tips on how you can better lead your virtual or hybrid team. Back in Strategy #1, when I talked about the importance of establishing your hybrid team workplace culture, one of the four high-level ideas I gave you specifically for your hybrid team was to strive for fairness – between the in-office group and the remote group. In my last tip, I touched on it again when I talked about ensuring that you reject a “them” versus “us” mentality. Today’s strategy continues with this theme of perceived fairness – it is to hold your team meetings virtually.

For team meetings, have all your staff join virtually

Now hear me out. I know that most of us are Webex-weary, Meet-maxed, or Zoomed-out. Which means that many of us are dying to meet face-to-face, in person. So your natural tendency is to agree when your staff in the office want to meet in a large group in the conference room, and beam in the remote staff through an online platform. Resist the temptation. The benefits do not outweigh the disadvantages.

If you hold a blended meeting – some staff in a large group in person and the others remotely online – you are increasing the likelihood of a “them” versus “us” mentality, something that I specifically warned against in my last video in this series. You will also inadvertently create an environment in which your in-person group will carry the majority of the dialogue and decision-making, as well as engage in side-conversations that your remote group will not have access to.

Far better that you ask your office staff to join a virtual meeting from their desktops so that everyone is online. That way, everyone has an equal voice, at least during the meeting. Your remote staff likely already perceive that the in-office staff have greater access to resources and information, so don’t accentuate that by having the in-office employees participate as a group.

Don’t underestimate the power in this small change

Today’s tip may seem like a very small shift, but don’t underestimate how powerful it can be when it comes to leading a hybrid team. Perceived fairness is an important factor in a hybrid team, and this seemingly small idea will have big positive outcomes.

Of all the best practices I share about leading a hybrid team, this one tends to get the most pushback. “It’s not really that big a deal if some staff gather in the conference room for a team meeting, is it?” is the question I get asked often. And the answer is “Yes, it is.” For all the reasons I gave you. But I want to know what you think. Do you agree with this best practice? Or do you have a good reason why not? Please add your comment below.

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