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Top 4 Collaboration Challenges in Hybrid Meetings and How to Overcome Them

Collaboration Challenges
February 7, 2024 12:00 pm

Collaboration is crucial to achieving business objectives, and remote work makes it easier for professionals to collaborate without boundaries. However, hybrid meetings can present some collaboration challenges, which can hamper teamwork and productivity.

These challenges include difficulties in generating ideas, establishing norms for collaborative work, managing group conflicts, and dealing with technical issues. In this blog post, we will explore the top four collaboration challenges in hybrid meetings and provide solutions to overcome them.

1. Participants can’t all use the same visual work area

In hybrid meetings, some participants may be in the room while others are working remotely. This can create challenges when participants try to share visual information. Creating a shared visual workspace can help to resolve conflicts in meetings.

A shared virtual workspace allows all participants to see prepared materials such as presentations, videos, notes, diagrams, and lists in real time. There are two options for creating a shared virtual workspace, a lower-tech option, and a higher-tech option.

  • The lower-tech option is to position a webcam or laptop camera so that the flipchart or whiteboard can be seen by remote participants. In-room participants can use their own laptops and share notes, virtual whiteboards, etc.
  • The higher-tech option involves using a virtual meeting platform where the facilitator/presenter is logged in and shares the screen to present to remote participants. The presentations shared in-room can also be seen by remote participants.

2. It’s hard to generate ideas together

Generating ideas in hybrid meetings can be challenging, especially when participants are working remotely. To overcome this challenge, use an inclusive process to generate ideas. This method involves creating an environment that allows all participants to submit ideas in a divergent process.

  • The lower-tech option for generating ideas is to have in-room participants create and post “sticky notes” on a whiteboard or flipchart while remote participants give their ideas for posting to an in-room participant who transcribes and posts on their behalf.
  • The higher-tech option involves all participants using a virtual whiteboard function on their laptops. The facilitator is logged in and shows their screen on the in-room monitor/TV.

3. It’s challenging to include both audiences in sub-groups

Working in sub-groups is an effective way of breaking down large tasks into smaller pieces. In hybrid meetings, it can be challenging to create effective breakouts. Creating mixed breakout “rooms” can be one of the best opportunities to make connections between remote and in-room participants.

  • The lower-tech option for sub-groups to work in parallel is to segregate in-room participants in their own break-out tables or rooms while having remote participants in breakouts within their virtual space. Using a digital timer to keep both types of groups on time is also recommended.
  • The higher-tech option involves integrating in-room and remote participants into mixed breakout “rooms.” In-room participants sit in breakout rooms and enable their remote colleagues to join via their laptops. Audio is via speakerphone or laptop speakers. All groups present using a shared screen.

4. It’s hard to have both in-room participants and remote participants vote on proposals

In hybrid meetings, voting and priority-setting can be a challenge as it’s not easy to have both in-room and remote participants vote on proposals. Using a phone-based app such as SLIDO or Mentimeter can help to overcome this challenge.

  • The lower-tech option is to position a webcam or laptop camera so that the flipchart or whiteboard can be seen, and in-room participants place dots or checkmarks for themselves and for a remote participant partner. This approach has two disadvantages: it is not anonymous and takes longer.
  • The higher-tech option involves using a voting software app where both in-room and remote participants enter their opinions/answers into the app.

Hybrid meetings can present unique collaboration challenges, but with the right strategies, they can be easily overcome. Creating a shared visual workspace, using an inclusive process for generating ideas, integrating in-room and remote participants into mixed breakout rooms, and using phone-based apps for voting and priority-setting can all help to ensure effective collaboration in hybrid meetings. By addressing these challenges head-on, organizations can facilitate teamwork and productivity, regardless of where their employees are located.

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