Hybrid work has made meeting equity a hot topic lately and I am happy to see it gaining attention. Meeting equity has been on my radar for a long time – as a meeting participant, as a manager, as a marketer of collaboration technology, and as a woman, who at times in my career has been employed at organizations where meeting equity was definitely not standard practice.
Most of the recent coverage has focused on technology. Certainly technology plays a large role regarding meeting equity in the hybrid workplace, however, other factors are equally critical. Achieving meeting equity also requires a commitment to rethinking mission and management practices, as well addressing bias, often unintentional, in workplace culture.
Understanding The Context
The reason meeting equity is trending is clear. COVID-19 restrictions have largely ended; many companies are calling their employees back to the office.
Yet workers are resistant. In a recent Gallup poll, 32% of workers said they preferred to continue working remotely full-time and 59% said they wanted hybrid options. Even more telling are findings from a recent ADP Research Institute survey: 64% of respondents said they would consider looking for a new job if required to work in the office full-time.
The reason that workers are resistant to returning are diverse, with health concerns, better work-life balance, and the time and cost for commuting at the top of the list. Many employees have also seen their personal productivity increase and, in some cases, found remote work has even raised their employee profile. Whatever the reason, an inevitable outcome from this demand for hybrid work: a need to develop strategies to promote inclusion, build team collaboration, and optimize hybrid productivity and creativity. All key elements for meeting equity.
Defining The Goal
If you’re ready to commit to working toward meeting equity as a goal, the first step is defining it. Consider this simple statement below – my personal working definition – as a starting point and modify for your organization:
Meeting equity enables an equal experience for every team member, independent of location, workspace, technology, and meeting platform. It creates an environment that helps bring out the best in every team member.
Developing A Plan
You need to know upfront that working toward meeting equity is not easy – but it’s well worth the effort. As you start planning, most of your work will fall within three key focus areas: mission, technology, and culture. And each area has a series of strategies to consider and actions to take. There are many moving parts.
To help address some of the complexities, see the meeting equity checklist that follows. Based on my experiences and research – plus plenty of field input from the DTEN team – this checklist can be an insightful guide for your company’s plan of action.
MEETING EQUITY CHECKLIST: Mission, Technology & Culture
Meeting equity starts with a vision that becomes your guiding principle and benchmark. Key action items include:
- Define meeting equity for your workplace. Like any important initiative, having a clear picture of what you want to achieve is critical.
- Create an action plan. Outline tangible steps for improving meeting equity; a cross-functional team of remote and in-office team members …….