As we inch toward a post-pandemic world, there’s a significant challenge facing companies of every size across all industries. Called meeting equity, it has the potential to significantly affect how engaged and productive your team is and, in turn, how successful your company is.
In this post, we’ll define meeting equity, outline why it’s important and share 4 tips to create meeting equity within your company.
What is Meeting Equity?
After two years spent working remotely, it’s clear that hybrid work is synonymous with the future of work. Going forward, it will be a rare exception to have everyone join a meeting from the same room.
This join-from-anywhere workplace makes it more challenging to ensure:
- Everyone has a similar meeting experience
- Everyone feels their contributions are valued equally
Whether you call it meeting equity, meeting equality or proximity bias, the basic idea remains the same. It’s time to create virtual meeting experiences that make it easier for everyone to fully participate regardless of location.
Why is Meeting Equity Important?
Most of us are reasonably new at trying to create equitable meeting experiences. At most, we have about two years of dabbling in meeting equity during what often felt like a temporary solution. Now, the future is clearer:
- Remote meeting platform use continues to grow – from March to June 2020, the use of Microsoft Teams increased nearly 900 percent. And it’s continued to grow swiftly ever since. Microsoft Teams now has 145 million daily active users, up from 75 million in 2021.
- Working remotely is here to stay – according to Gartner, 31% of all workers worldwide in 2022 will be remote (a mix of hybrid and fully remote). And the U.S. will lead in terms of remote workers for 2022, accounting for 53% of the U.S. workforce.
4 Tips for Creating Meeting Equity
To address meeting equity, we need first to get honest about something. It is easier to focus on and feel more connected to people in the same room—because of this, creating meeting equity won’t happen on its own. Instead, it would help if you had a combination of culture, tools, people and commitment. Here are 4 tips to help you create meeting equity at your company.
Tip #1: Signal your intent
Spend some time learning how to host hybrid meetings. Then, let your team know you’re committed to creating equitable meeting experiences. Invite their input and ideas for how to make meetings more equitable.
Tip #2: Document a process
Your organization is probably already revising some of its organizational effectiveness norms to adapt to a hybrid reality. Consider creating meeting equity guidelines to guide everyone’s efforts as part of this work. For example, Google created three pillars of collaboration equity to emphasize the importance of representation equity, participation equity and information equity.
Tip #3: Use the right technologies for the room
Modern meeting room technology solutions include options that support meeting equity. For example, is your platform click-to-join? Can users show up and log in to the meeting room with any device? How do people in the room appear on screen to those who are remote when a meeting begins? Does the system maximize the use of an HD Pan/Tilt/Zoom camera that provides a 90° diagonal field of view so anyone who might speak in the room can be seen? Is the audio high quality regardless of location?
Tip #4: Lead by example
Once the right systems are in place, leaders and participants can drive meeting equity by showing what equitable practices look like. For example, if you’re dialing in, participate – demonstrate that you’re listening, engaged and ready to contribute. If you’re in a conference room with others, draw in the people who are working remotely, amplify their voices and acknowledge their contributions.
Related content: Creating community in a hybrid world
How are you driving meeting equity for your company?
If you don’t address meeting equity now, you risk creating different (and potentially divisive) workplace cultures – one experience for those in the office and a different (often lesser) experience for those who are remote.
If you want an external point of view about whether your current meeting room technology could be more inclusive, our enterprise team is here to help. Contact us today.
Related post: What the Best Hybrid Workplaces Have in Common