Brian Phillips, Director of Product Marketing at Poly, joined Nancy Lussier in The Collaboration Space to discuss the latest in return-to-office plans. They discuss what the hybrid workplace looks like and the importance of creating meeting equality.


Watch the podcast to explore how to plan for meeting equality when teams return to the office

The flexible workforce of today’s hybrid workplace

Many companies thought they had settled into the “new norm” during the pandemic. However, employee resistance to heading back to the workplace has companies reimagining the return to office. 

According to Brian, “Many companies are still figuring out what their new normal looks like.” And that new normal continues to evolve as organizations struggle to get employees back into the office. How do you encourage a workforce that doesn’t want to return to the office?

Workers want to find value in coming back to the office, especially if they have a long commute. So if a company hasn’t updated its collaboration technology since 2019, workers will feel like they can be more productive at home.

Meeting space technology that increases meeting equality

Hot desking gained popularity during the pandemic, but it wasn’t enough of a draw to get workers into the office willingly. For productive and efficient meetings, workers needed collaboration and meeting spaces.

And even though many companies used video conferencing before the pandemic, 30% of global companies started using video conferencing for the first time in just the past couple of years. For the companies that were “video pros,” their meeting rooms were designed to connect to other corporate meeting rooms. In a flexible, hybrid work environment, connecting to these meeting rooms from remote locations sometimes caused a negative experience for both in-room and remote participants. 

During the pandemic, companies focused on creating equitable meeting experiences for remote participants. Now the focus has shifted to ensuring in-room meeting participants have an equitable meeting experience. Participants in meeting rooms often feel like they are part of the background when the camera only provides a view of the entire room.

Team members want to be seen, heard, and recognized during meetings and collaboration sessions. Poly’s People Framing feature gives in-room meeting participants an up-close space on the display. And Poly’s Speaker Framing enables the meeting room camera to zoom in on the person talking so participants can see who is speaking. 

Additionally, audio is the most important part of your calls. Clear audio that allows participants to jump in as needed and that can block out unwanted noise is important to productive meetings. Meeting noise issues become exponentially worse the more people you have on a call. So it is even more important to have these smart audio technologies to make sure everyone is heard clearly.

Geographic and demographic differences in returning to the office

Companies that are located in densely populated cities need to provide a compelling reason for workers to commute to the office. However, mid-size and small-size U.S. cities are seeing more of a return to the office. 

In addition to geography, age plays a role in workplace preferences. Younger, 20-something employees want to be in the office. Younger workers want in-person interaction to help with their mentoring and ability to grow. However, more established workers are more interested in remote work options. 

Organizations need to find a way to create an office environment that suits workers’ flexible workstyles. They should also focus on creating the culture they want, rather than mandating when employees must be in the office. 

Use collaboration technology to incentivize employees

Workers don’t want to feel like they are losing productivity by going into the office. Collaboration technology is an important part of motivating workers to make the commute and join their colleagues in the office. If you need help updating your meeting spaces for 2022 and beyond, get in touch with AVI-SPL today