Your phone will ring in the background when you log on to your third video meeting in the morning. A colleague will come to your desk to discuss next week’s agenda and invite you to a personal meeting later that day. Your boss – who works in a different state – sends you a message about an emergency request.
Hybrid work combines both remote and personal work communication styles, making it easy to get lost in translation and disconnected to colleagues.
In some offices, it has created a two-tier system where employees who attend meetings in person have a preference over the remote, said Joseph Allen, a professor in the Department of Family and Preventive Medicine at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. . He is also the author of the book “Suddenly Hybrid: Managing the Modern Meeting.”
“We are starting to look at promotions and going to people who are in person because they are showing that they are more committed to the organization,” Allen said.
Remote workers invest in their jobs, but it doesn’t always come that way because they’re not in the office, he said.
Seeing and hearing emotion is the key to making sure that the hybrid work better, Allen said.
One of the most common times people interact is during meetings. Hybrid meetings can be the most inclusive styles of communication because it allows everyone to connect wherever they are, but they need additional skills to be successful, he said.
If you are a remote worker or have actually attended some meetings, you are already at a disadvantage, ”said Karin Reid, CEO and chief credential creator of Speaker Dynamics, a corporate communications training firm. He is also the author of the book “Suddenly Hybrid: Managing the Modern Meeting.”
He explained that individual employees have a presence by simply appearing when remote workers need to make extra effort to look.
Turning on your camera is not negotiable if you are a remote participant of a hybrid meeting, he said.
“If your camera is off, you risk disappearing from the meeting,” Reed said.
Many people choose not to turn on their camera because they think the camera is ready or they are tired of video calls, he said.
“It’s not about looking like a news anchor, but about showing up to make sure your message can be communicated,” Reid said.
During the meeting, make sure you are fully engaged in the conversation, Allen said.
“It’s easy to check and scroll through a long list of emails you don’t have, or keep up with the work, but it’s important to listen to what everyone is saying and add your input,” he said.
Do not hesitate to be silent and say you have a idea, Allen said. You have to be prepared to put yourself out there because you can’t always blame the leader for not calling you out, ”he said.
If you are struggling to ask as a virtual participant, journalist and author Celeste Headley said what you would like to talk to the leader of the meeting before the event and please send a note asking you to set aside a couple of minutes for yourself. “We need to talk: how to have important conversations.”
Additionally, you can go to your manager after the meeting, share what you are struggling to say, and ask how you can add your voice.
“If you approach it that way, the more you bring them into problem-solving, the more likely you are to get a positive result,” Headley said.
While it is important for remote workers to actively listen, individual workers also share responsibility.
First, meetings should always start with remote employees talking first, Reed said. He explained that this is a reminder to attendees personally that people have taken the time out of their day to call when remote employees are allowed to express their opinions and feel like a valued participant.
Meeting leaders should also designate allies, such as when a remote employee is assigned to a personal colleague at a meeting, Allen said. When a personal employee calls, they should share their thoughts and then turn to a remote colleague and ask them if they have anything to add.
In addition, employees should acknowledge all forms of communication in person, especially if there are remote workers who do not have access to personal meeting video, Allen said.
For example, Allen said that if somebody nods their head in approval, some remote employees will notice orally because they can’t see someone’s body language. If using the chat feature, someone should be responsible for sharing what people are saying and bringing applicable talking points.
Headlee said all attendees should make sure to ask follow-up questions because it has the unique power to make others listen.
“Instead of going to any meeting that focuses on what you are going to say, go to a meeting that focuses on what you want to learn from other people in attendance,” he said.