Even in today’s digital age, in-person office meetings will remain a mainstay for several reasons. While virtual work became normalized during the COVID-19 pandemic, we now see companies welcoming a mix of virtual and in-office employees, changing the overall way they communicate.
Though digital communication provides ease and convenience to companies, meeting in person is a highly effective way to lead a team and increase employee engagement.
You can merge at-home and in-office communication by preparing your offices and conference rooms. This article discusses the benefits of meeting face to face and how offices can prepare their conference rooms for success.
Returning to the Office
As your employees return to the office after the pandemic, you’ll want to welcome them back smoothly while preparing them for successful team meetings. After all, you most likely haven’t seen their faces in a while, and you’ll want to create a rapport that keeps them coming into work feeling positive and productive.
With a rise in work-from-home jobs during the pandemic, many businesses opt for a hybrid schedule today that accommodates both in-office and remote employees. If this sounds like your company’s goal, you’ll want to follow a few steps to ensure your employees feel welcome:
- Communicate about employees’ desired schedules: Before their first day back in the office, you’ll want to send out an email to your employees to figure out the best schedules to accommodate them, whether they’d like to work remotely, in-office or a combination of both.
- Equip your conference room with the right tech: Ensure that your meeting room has an HD screen for video calls and high-quality microphones to reach remote employees when needed.
- Offer remote employees access to conference rooms: You’ll want to allow your remote workers to enjoy the office atmosphere by giving them access to conference rooms. This setup will promote that hybrid work model and encourage everyone to join in-person meetings.
By easing employees back into working at the office, you ensure happier workers and more productive communication. It’s essential to prepare your conference room meetings to accommodate this new hybrid work model.
Why Do We Need Face-to-Face Meetings?
While remote work is becoming more prevalent, face-to-face meetings are vital for a company’s productivity. Research also supports the notion that there’s no adequate substitute for meeting in person. For example, face-to-face communication is 34 times more effective than requests sent by email, and a physical handshake is more likely to influence positive negotiation outcomes. Here are some of the ways face-to-face meetings are essential for businesses:
Avoiding Technical Issues
In-person meetings eliminate the stress and energy that goes into dealing with technical issues or internet connection problems from virtual meetings. While technology presents many benefits, camera and audio difficulties take time away from important meetings. Consider making face-to-face meetings a top priority to ensure all participants know what’s happening and can hear the discussion at all times.
Building New Relationships
You may have new workers you haven’t met in person yet. In-person meetings provide the space to introduce yourselves, build trust and form deeper connections. After all, strong relationships are the key to long-term business success. Consider meeting face to face with those new clients or employees you haven’t developed a relationship with yet.
Face-to-face meetings facilitate communication by making it easier for all participants to ask questions. In-person meetings also allow you to pick up on those nonverbal cues you don’t always notice during virtual meetings. You eliminate the likelihood of misinterpreted emails, texts or other virtual communications and have the clarification your organization needs to run smoothly.
Increase Engagement and Participation
It’s easier to communicate with someone in the same environment as you. You can gain your employee’s or client’s full attention more quickly, so participants stay focused without distractions. There’s also less of an urge to multitask when everyone is in the same room, where you can encourage everyone to participate. You’ll want to schedule in-office meetings for those topics that require everyone’s full attention and participation.
Virtual Meetings Won’t Disappear
While in-person meetings are often more effective for picking up on nonverbal cues, virtual meetings present many benefits for companies that make them equally essential.
For instance, communicating over the phone or webcam can help you address topics that require quick communication. And virtual meetings are especially crucial when communicating with employees or clients over far distances. For example, if you have employees who are on business trips or clients from other countries, virtual communication is vital.
Consider incorporating virtual meetings into your company’s work model to ensure convenient communication when you need it. Perhaps you need extra clarification on a topic or to address the small details of a specific project — virtual meetings make this an easy way to solve minor problems.
The key benefits to virtual meetings include:
- Solving time issues
- Solving specific problems
- Preventing distance issues
- Effectively meeting deadlines
- Connecting with clients worldwide
Bringing Virtual and In-Person Meetings Together
With cultural changes impacting how we work today, merging in-person and virtual meetings presents many benefits for your company.
Start in Person
When determining the best way to merge the two, consider initial in-person meetings with clients and follow up with virtual communication as needed. A first face-to-face meeting lets you shake hands with new clients, establish trust and rapport and understand deeper project topics. While virtual meetings offer convenience, in-person meetings allow free and fluid communication for all parties involved.
Follow up Virtually
Follow up your initial meeting with quick and informal virtual conferences to address the more minor details of a project. This way, you have extra clarification, and your clients trust that you are working with them every step of the way. Virtual meetings are also convenient to discuss the final details when deadlines approach and your employees are across the country.
Use the Right Equipment to Merge Communication Styles
Using both in-person and virtual meetings is beneficial for the overall productivity and success of your business.
Tailor your conference room with the right equipment for both styles of communication. Choose custom multimedia conference tables that incorporate technology into your room’s design for smoother meetings. For instance, a V-shaped conference table allows all participants to maintain eye contact while also drawing attention to one focal point in the room, where you might place your screen to communicate with remote workers.
You can configure your designs to allow for data and power so that all participants have access to the internet, speakers and power for their laptops during the conference.
Create the Perfect Meeting Space With Help From Greg Pilotti Furniture Makers
With today’s shift from traditional meetings to a hybrid of virtual and face-to-face communication, you’ll want the best equipment to keep up with the changes.
Choose the right conference table for your needs with help from Greg Pilotti Furniture Makers. Our expert furniture makers will help you customize your table to include all of the features you’ll need for your hybrid team, from power and data configurations to high-quality materials that prioritize style and comfort.
To learn more about our custom conference tables, contact us today!