What a hybrid meeting is

A hybrid meeting takes place in a physical setting but some members attend remotely using Teams.

A hybrid meeting is different from a virtual meeting, where everyone attends remotely.

A hybrid meeting could involve:

  • one person in the office meeting one or more people accessing remotely - in this instance take your laptop into a meeting or quiet room
  • a few people in a room meeting one or more people accessing remotely - in this instance take your laptops into a meeting room, connect to a screen, and use one laptop for audio
  • many people in a room meeting one or more people accessing remotely - in this instance use a meeting room with Surface Hub Pro

How to arrange a face to face meeting

Face to face meetings are beneficial for the following reasons: 

  • logistical, technical or legal 
  • safeguarding, or professional supervision 
  • meeting and inducting new starters 
  • team away days 
  • sharing and discussing sensitive or complex issues
  • detailed discussions or debates or in-depth collaboration
  • creative or idea generation meetings

If you're arranging a face to face meeting, you need to make sure that attendees know it isn’t a virtual meeting. Give them enough notice to make travel arrangements and manage their diaries.

You should be clear why the meeting is in person rather than online.

How to book a meeting room for a face to face meeting

You can book a meeting room using Outlook. If you see an empty meeting room you want to use, please check the room's calendar to make sure it's not already booked.

Please cancel room bookings you no longer need. This includes existing reoccurring meetings. It’s important to keep all room bookings up to date so it's clear which rooms are available.

Guidance for chairs and organisers of hybrid and virtual meetings 

Conducting effective hybrid meetings, where some participants attend in person and some attend remotely, helps ensure that everyone has an equal experience and opportunity to contribute . Without an effective approach hybrid meetings can lead to something called ‘presence disparity’, where those attending remotely have a poorer experience than those who attend in person.The right technology, good meeting management, and engaging all attendees can help make the most of hybrid meetings 

As the chair or organiser:  

  • promote maximum engagement and productivity from attendees 
  • make best use of time and resources  
  • promote the best possible outcomes for the communities we serve  

Know the rooms 

You'll need to book a room that’s appropriate for how the meeting is running and how people are accessing it. 

If you're arranging a hybrid meeting, you'll need to consider: 

  • what equipment you need 
  • how people join in person 
  • how people join virtually and be seen and heard by all attendees 

Check you know how to connect to a screen. If you're accessing remotely, make sure that anyone attending physically knows how to do this.  

Know the technology 

The meeting chair or organiser should have a good understanding of how Teams works. They need to support any attendees with any issues they're having.  

This includes making sure everyone can access the meeting. It also means you should check with attendees in advance as most people will know which technology or methods will help them feel included.  

Prepare for technical problems in advance. Make sure physical and virtual attendees have a way to alert the chair or host if they have technical problems during the meeting. 

You can also choose someone to check the chat. This person can be the eyes and ears for the virtual participants in the meeting. They can make sure everyone has a chance to contribute.    

It also helps to have someone who is in the room monitor connectivity or audio issues.  

Be aware of data security 

If you share your screen: 

  • close any tabs you don’t need from your browser window and anything you've been working on before the meeting 
  • avoid sharing your full desktop 
  • use headphones to maintain confidentiality 

Use of cameras 

In large meetings with a lot of participants it's appropriate for only the speakers to put videos on. 

In small meetings it's better to have cameras on for the following reasons: 

  • communication is more effective when you have non-verbal cues 
  • facial expressions humanise a meeting 
  • seeing people helps to forge relationships 
  • it reduces temptation to multi-task 

Please note that some people do not like having their cameras on. For example it could slow their internet connection down, so it should never be forced. 

Be inclusive 

During hybrid meetings it can be easy for remote attendees to feel left out. If you're attending in the same room as others, make an effort to involve everyone. 

Try to: 

  • avoid behaviour that might make those who are attending remotely feel excluded - for example, don't allow those in the meeting room together to begin side conversations that remote participants can't hear or take part in 
  • ensure everyone has an equal voice - don't just default to people you can see or those in the meeting room, and use functions like chat or hand-raising, explaining how questions or comments will be answered at the start of the meeting 
  • make remote participants comfortable to contribute throughout - don't just bring them in at the end 
  • avoid using equipment in the room (like flip charts) that remote attendees can't see - share your screen instead 
  • make sure in-person attendees log into the meeting on separate laptops so everyone can see each other clearly 
  • guard against dominating a discussion - it's not so easy to join in a discussion when attending remotely 

Good practice for attending hybrid meetings

Many of our meeting rooms don’t have special equipment for hybrid meetings.

If you're attending a hybrid meeting, you'll need to think about what you need. The meeting organiser will send details of how to access the meeting and any technical requirements in advance.

If you're based in an open plan office, find a meeting room or use headphones or a headset. This will reduce the impact of noise on colleagues and maintain confidentiality.

If no meeting rooms are available, you may have to attend a hybrid meeting from an open plan office.  Be mindful of your colleagues in the same way you would when using the phone. 

You'll need to take your laptop to connect to a hybrid meeting. 

If you're attending a hybrid meeting remotely:

  • use the Teams backgrounds function if you're in a busy environment such as a kitchen or bedroom
  • audio can echo in an uncarpeted room which can be distracting - put a rug or cushions on the floor if you have some to create a warmer sound

Respect meeting room equipment and your colleagues

Please don't remove cables or other equipment when using meeting rooms. For hybrid meetings to work successfully, everyone needs to feel confident that all the equipment is in place when they go into the meeting.

For example, if you can't connect to screens because someone has removed the cables, you may not be able to hold your meeting.

If you notice anything missing, please log a facilities repair request as soon as you can. 

Support for using Teams

For support using Teams, the Connecting You programme have created Teams training courses that you can take. They have created an ‘Intorduction to Microsoft Teams’ session or a ‘Microsoft Teams Owner’ session. 

Find out more information on the Microsoft Teams training sessions.

IT & Digital have also created a series of bite-sized videos offering a complete introduction to the fundamentals of Teams. These videos will help you understand how you can use Teams and effectively meet and collaborate with your colleagues.  

Look the part

When you’re attending a Teams meeting, remember:

  • to dress appropriately for a work meeting
  • not to sit in front of a bright window as your colleagues may struggle to see your face - if this is unavoidable consider using a lamp to light yourself from the front
  • to use your camera well – don’t sit too close or too far from it, and find a way to raise your laptop so it isn’t looking up at you from below
  • even though you're in your own home, it looks unprofessional to smoke or vape during meetings

Participate

  • follow the rules of the meeting set out by the chair
  • it can be easy to be silent when you're in a room on your own - stay alert, ask questions or make comments when appropriate
  • if you don’t want to interrupt, you can comment or ask questions using the chat function or raise your hand

Concentrate on the meeting

Resist the temptation to do other things during the meeting. This could be things like checking emails or doing other work.

It's usually obvious to other people if you're not paying attention.

Don't turn off your video to do other things unseen or go out of the room. Don’t do things in a virtual meeting that you wouldn't do in a face to face meeting.

Some people prefer not to have their camera on. This could be because the camera can slow their wifi connection. It’s ok to have your camera off as long as you're paying attention. 

If you need to leave the meeting for a short time, for example to receive a delivery or attend to a child, say so in the chat window and let people know when you're back.