1 Idea 9 Questions: Hybrid Meetings are Terrible

From time to time, I question my ideas before writing a blog post to clarify my thoughts and write a more precise blog post. I took the idea from Luca Rossi and expanded a little bit. I want to use these questions more and more before I start writing a new post. I also put a time limit of thirty minutes to answer these questions to challenge my idea.

Here I share these questions and give my idea in a distilled and raw form to anyone interested. If you want to read the outcomes of this thought, check out my blog post related to hybrid meetings.

1. What is the idea?
When everyone returns to the office from forced-remote life, don't have hybrid meetings where half of the people join the meeting remotely while the other half is in a conference room. Everyone should join remotely.

2. What Am I Really Trying To Say?
I have this experience, and it was terrible. Unless everyone is in the same room, everyone has to join meetings remotely. And if you have hybrid meetings, please don't use anything physical while having a remote joiner.

3. Who is my audience?
Software engineers and leaders

4. Why should people care? (what's the benefit)
After the pandemic, many companies will have the challenge of a hybrid workforce and will fall back to the old office habits. They will use meeting rooms for meetings while some of their members are remote. They will have inclusivity and engagement problems that will cause many other problems and conflicts. People don't understand each other well, and their performance lowers. They should prevent these things before they happen.

5. What is the most important point?
If one person is remote, everyone has to join meetings remotely and separately from their own computers. Unless everyone always works in the office, always use digital solutions for meetings.

6. Why is that the most important point? (what can you achieve with it)
Hybrid meetings are disadvantaging remote employees. They cannot see the micro gestures of people in the conference room and cannot read everyone's body language from only one camera. They cannot understand every discussion (or even jokes) because the microphone grabs every other sound in the room (remember zoom calls with background noise). There are always connection problems even in the office. We need to make everyone equal, and they should be on the same ground to engage with the work in the same way. We need to be more inclusive and don't discriminate against people unintentionally because of their remote work choice.

7. What is the easiest way to understand the most important point?
If you had a call to your big family gathering, you could understand how the experience feels. If you have watched a discussion program on TV where they invite a guest to join the group discussion via phone and the person on the phone mostly spends time understanding what is the discussion is about and people constantly interrupt them. That is the experience of the remote employee.

8. How do I want the reader to feel?
I want them to feel empathetic to the remote employee and be thoughtful before taking any action. I want them to be mindful of their decisions about their meeting style.

9. What should the reader do next?
If they are a software engineer and they will have a remote employee when they go back to the office, they can start a discussion with their manager about the future considerations and raise a concern.
If they are a manager, they can figure out if there will be any remote employees. If so, they can open a discussion about how people imagine the meetings, but they should be on the side of either full-remote or full on-site meetings.

I use these questions and answers to write a blog post. These answers above formed a blog post called "Why are Hybrid Meetings Terrible? Remote vs. On-site Meetings".

Short Form Last Updated: Jun 17, 2021