Does being “out of sight” at the main office rob remote workers of the requisite ‘visibility’ that to promotion?
Hybrid work is on the rise, with many firms planning to make this model a permanent fixture.
Amid this shift, organizations are unclear about whether to prioritize “meeting equity”—creating equal levels of productivity for participants across all workspaces and locations.
While this is not a new concept, with the current increased split between on-site and remote workers, ensuring that all employees can have an equal meeting experience is now mission critical.
This because moving to hybrid work creates new challenges where people joining virtual meetings may have unequal or unpredictable connectivity or hardware. Those without a minimal level of uninterrupted audio and video may miss important in-room interactions and struggle to keep up with the meeting flow.
Bridging the ‘meeting equity’ gap
During the pandemic, workers preferring to stay out of the office have ever voiced concerns that they had a “far lower chance of being promoted” (according to a BBC article) because of the “out of sight, out of mind” phenomenon. Meeting inequity presumably contributed to this sentiment to some degree.
However, as we usher in a new era of hybrid work where more employees choose to work remotely, organizations must ensure equality in group dynamics for better teamwork and productivity. For instance:
- Smart conference room systems can now use AI and computer vision to help participants stay in the ideal zoomed-in view. In these smart systems, the person currently speaking can be centered in the video frame by the main camera. When the next person is speaking, the camera pans and zooms smoothly to focus on that person. A wide-angle viewfinder controlled by AI can zoom out to frame the entire meeting room to allow remote participants to see and hear all meeting exchanges clearly.
- Video conferencing systems are evolving to a point where participants are captured using just one all-seeing camera, but where multiple smart cameras can provide different perspectives of meeting in progress. The next level of innovation is happening around cameras that can simultaneously present both a close-up view of the individual speakers and a view of the entire meeting room during video calls. These layouts allow remote workers to pick up contextual cues from the rest of the meeting room.
- In addition, with smart AI software managing where each camera goes, meeting participants will be able to get the best view of the action consistently: so much so that participants joining virtually from outside of the physical meeting venue may enjoy camera footage that is equal to that of the participants in the conference room.
Going forward, the still-evolving hybrid work environment will no doubt create new and unique challenges that require equity to be established and sustained.
However, through the use of emerging technologies and creative thinking, not only can we minimize these issues, but potentially make the world of work even more equitable and productive than before.