Meetings in a hybrid workplace

Some people may be in the office while others are not. That means meeting participants may be all together in a physical meeting room, attending virtually from a workstation on campus, or attending virtually from a remote location… or any combination.

Audio feedback is of particular concern when multiple participants are attending from the same location. Below are some tips to help mitigate this and other issues.

If you experience issues when videoconferencing on campus, such as choppy display, freezing, or dropped calls, here are some basic steps you can follow to optimize video call quality: Tips for resolving issues when videoconferencing on campus

Tips on scheduling & planning meetings

  • Arrive a few minutes before the meeting to setup your computer as well as the audiovisual equipment but also to familiarize yourself with the system's available features. This tip still applies once you are familiar with the room's equipment since you will still need to setup and configure everything to your liking before the meeting starts.

  • Ideally, reserve a room equipped with video conferencing capabilities, or with audiovisual (AV) systems that allow you to project computer screens and play audio through the room's speakers.

  • If available, use rooms equipped with an Owl videoconference system. This system allows the participants in the room to be seen by all remote participants by showing a full view of the room as well as focussing, when necessary, on the person talking.

  • Alternatively, even if you are alone, join the meeting from a nearby phone booth or hybrid room, they provide a comfortable, sound proof zone, from where you can participate in a meeting without disturbing the other people around.

  • Familiarize yourself with the audiovisual facilities in your meeting spaces and allow adequate time to set up before the meeting. Check with the administrative coordinator in your department for assistance.

  • Always include an MS Teams or Webex meeting link to your meeting invitation, so that people can attend remotely, even if you are booking a physical room for in-person attendance.

Audiovisual tips for in-person participants in a hybrid meeting

If the room does not have video conferencing capabilities:

  • To avoid audio feedback, only the host computer should have the audio input and output enabled. Especially if the host is connecting to an available TV monitor with speakers.
  • Have other in-room participants turn OFF both their microphones (mute) and speakers (bring speakers to the lowest volume setting).
  • Encourage people working remotely to turn their cameras on so that the rest of the participants can see them.
  • For larger meetings, where a meeting room with appropriate A/V conferencing capabilities is not available, it is preferable for all participants to meet remotely (home or office), as it is not practical to designate a personal host computer for a large group.
  • Make sure the correct speakers and mic are selected and check the volume levels:

 Etiquette for meetings from a cubicle/shared space

  • Before initiating an unplanned audio/video call, send a polite text message asking if the person is free for a call; otherwise schedule a meeting in Outlook.
  • Use a nearby phone booth or a hybrid workspace if available. They provide a comfortable, sound proof zone, from where you can join a meeting without disturbing people around.
  • If participating to a meeting from your desk, wear a headset with a microphone so that audio is not coming through your computer speakers and be heard around you.
  • Mute yourself when not speaking; this will reduce ambient noise coming from your microphone, to disturb the meeting's proceedings.
  • Wear a headset with mic so that audio is not coming through your computer speakers.
  • Ensure your headset has a mic and mute yourself when not speaking; this will reduce ambient noise in your work area coming through your mic.
  • Using video during meetings:
    • Turn ON your camera for small team meetings to build a sense of community and trust, especially if you are one of the presenters.
    • Turn OFF your camera during large meetings, especially when most participants' cameras are off.

Tips on recording meetings

  • Record meetings if there is a need for future reference, or if some participants are unable to attend.
  • Be aware that some people are not as comfortable interacting when they know they are being recorded.
  • Depending on the length of the meeting, Teams will require from 10-30 minutes to make the recording available in the meeting chat/channel.
  • Before starting the recording, ask if participants are comfortable being recorded. You may even want to notify participants when you are sending the invitation. 

Tips to enhance meeting engagement

  • If you are facilitating the meeting, leave your camera open so people can see you and feel more engaged.
  • Make meetings Interactive to engage both in-person and remote participation.
  • Consider ways to incorporate additional interactive elements, like polls, breakout rooms, or encourage users to express themselves with live reactions, etc.

Resources and tools for virtual/hybrid meetings

Back to top