Technology Increases Employee Inclusion In Hybrid-Mode Work

In a world where 63% of employees say hybrid work is the ideal modality, only three in ten firmly agree that the company where they do business is providing them with the technology they need to collaborate pretty and inclusively from anywhere. This emerges from the 2022 edition of Jabra’s Hybrid Ways of Working Global Report, conducted among 2,800 professionals in six countries worldwide. The future of work is virtual. With hundreds of millions of people collaborating daily on Teams, Zoom, and other unified communications platforms, digital environments are the new standard for contacts. Many employees have only met some of their colleagues on these platforms.

For this reason, leaders must do everything possible to get the most out of the virtual workspace so that employees can create more human and authentic relationships with their colleagues. Professional audio technology has an impact on the inclusiveness of meetings. According to Jabra research, users of professional audio devices said they feel more engaged in virtual meetings than those using consumer audio devices or microphones and speakers built into their laptops. Experienced headset users were 11% less likely to feel excluded from the conversation in virtual meetings than consumers of consumer devices or integrated audio. Similarly, users with professional headsets were 14% less likely to be unable to hear what was said in the meeting than users of integrated devices and 12% less than users of consumer devices. Currently, only 30% of workers globally use professional audio devices.

Since 80% of all meetings – globally – are in virtual or hybrid mode, and only 20% take place in person, employees must be able to address them with ad hoc technologies better. A lack of adequate technology can make building relationships in these virtual environments more complicated than necessary. Companies that prioritize meeting fairness gain greater engagement in hybrid-mode meetings Since the onset of the pandemic, and in parallel with the rise of hybrid work, the term “fairness of meetings” has entered the debate to explore the attempts by companies to create fair virtual environments.

In a traditional meeting room, each participant has a seat at the table and has the same opportunities to contribute to the meeting. A hybrid meeting environment comprises both physical and virtual participants. Therefore, it is more difficult to achieve true fairness at the conference. The Jabra survey found that companies that take active steps to achieve greater fairness in meetings are likely to increase engagement in hybrid meetings. 56% of hybrid workers say their organization prioritizes fair meetings, and 64% say they are just as busy in hybrid meetings as in face-to-face meetings.

This compares with 36% of full-time office workers who say their engagement in hybrid meetings is on par with face-to-face meetings; among office workers, only three in ten believe that their organization prioritizes meeting fairness. Almost half of the employees (55%) view their office solely as a place to work with a computer, headphones, and possibly a good Internet connection. But Jabra research has identified a critical location-independent key to positively impacting employee well-being and productivity levels: video. 61% of employees globally say they feel more engaged and present in meetings when all attendees have their cameras on.

Similarly, 54% believe they can collaborate more productively during video calls than with simple audio calls. This is probably why 70% of employees say using standardized professional cameras would help everyone participate equally in meetings in hybrid mode. Leaders urgently need to study the best technology to connect all employees and business partners inclusively, regardless of where they work. This will be an essential element to achieve greater fairness in meetings and to be successful in the future that, as far as work is concerned, will be increasingly characterized by the hybrid mode.

Holger Reisinger, SVP of Jabra, commented: “The way we work has changed forever, and today’s environment requires access to digital platforms and technologies to be successful. For this reason, leaders need to prioritize employee experience and ensure that employees can be in large numbers in virtual meetings, no matter where they are. We must start by identifying technologies that allow employees in the office and those remotely to collaborate on an equal footing so that they can move smoothly from one place to another without feeling excluded, unheard or distracted. . Only in this way will employees be truly able to work flexibly, on their terms, and develop a stronger emotional bond with their digital and physical workspaces”.

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