Friday Faves is our weekly blog series highlighting a few select pieces from the REG team’s reading lists. You can catch up on past Friday Faves on the archive

When does it make sense to have mixed-mode meetings?

Anne says: Following on from my post in last week’s Friday Fave regarding video conference meetings and the use of cameras, this week’s article goes some way towards answering the question I posed about distributed meetings where some people are face-to-face and others dialling in from remote locations.

The authors have specifically renamed this type of meeting “mixed-mode” in an attempt to separate it from hybrid work, which they feel has become an accepted terminology and could cause a misunderstanding of the key issues when conducting mixed-mode meetings.

This research was an extension of earlier work: “Take a virtual-first approach and bring people together physically only when it adds value to do so.”

This would require intentional design and planning for meetings where deep teamwork is required – positioned as collaboration, innovation, and similar instances where face-to-face connections and shared understandings are essential. For shallow teamwork, use virtual meetings for coordination, information sharing and straightforward decision-making.

However, hybrid workplaces will result in mixed-mode meetings. How will this mode fit into the type of teamwork required? The researchers warn of two tiers of participation, access, and influence with those joining remotely being disadvantaged.

Their recommendations:

  1. Avoid mixed-mode meetings unless there is a strong foundation of trust and connection for the team.

  2. Convene mixed-mode meetings only when having some people together physically creates business value, not just because of proximity.

  3. Enable virtual participants to have a powerful presence in the meetings (they suggest using a large screen for remote participants – but this won’t suit everyone!).

  4. Build time into mixed-mode meeting schedules for informal connection between the in-person and remote participants.

  5. Recognize the risks of creating a two-tier team, and strive to mitigate them.

All of these recommendations appear relevant to any meeting mode, however, putting them into practice and refining them to suit the context of teams is the challenge facing businesses returning to hybrid work. The key takeaway, I believe, is the inherent imbalance in participation of mixed-mode meetings. This will only be resolved if there’s team awareness and agreement on how to consciously address the two tiers and conscious efforts are embedded in team practices to ensure remote team members are able to contribute effectively.

Read: https://sloanreview.mit.edu/article/when-does-it-make-sense-to-have-mixed-mode-meetings/

How should organisations manage hybrid work?

Jakkii says: This is a long watch, but one I found quite interesting. Presented by Chicago Booth Review (of The University of Chicago Booth School of Business), the video is a panel discussion between three University of Chicago professors, Steven Davis, Professor of International Business and Economics, Michael Gibbs, a Professor of Economics, and Melina Hale, Professor in Organismal Biology and Anatomy. Melina is also the university’s vice provost, leading remote-work planning for the Provost’s Office. They took a look at what their research and their work has shown with regards to working from home during the pandemic, the challenges and opportunities, and where to from here for hybrid work.

There’s some interesting points around overall productivity versus hours worked, the problem of distractions and access to quality infrastructure (high-speed broadband internet), and the impact of juggling care and responsibilities at home such as having young children at home while you’re working. They also look at the fact not all jobs can be done from home, the need for experimentation, flexibility and learning as organisations (and as teams) to find the right balance for your business and your people, and of course that this pandemic has given us much to learn from with regards to preparedness for future pandemics.

Many of these points have been raised before, however, I always appreciate hearing the perspectives from academics that are based on their research and data, even (or especially) when they may not completely agree with one another.

You can watch the full discussion via the video above, or if you prefer to read you can check out the transcript at the link below.

Read: https://review.chicagobooth.edu/economics/2021/video/how-should-organizations-manage-hybrid-work

At home

Jakkii says: The holidays are just around the corner, now! Hanukkah is 16 short days away, while Christmas eve is a mere 6 weeks away, and Kwanzaa kicks off a couple of days after that. Amazing how the year can seem so long then suddenly so short all at once! Given all the concerns about the global shipping shortages and delays, now’s a great time to get a start on your holiday shopping (assuming you do gifts, of course). And if that’s not enough to keep you occupied when you’re at home, here are a few more things to read and do from home this week:

Friday Fives

Hybrid workplace and the future of work

Remote work and the digital workplace

Communication, collaboration, engagement, and culture

Community management, moderation and misinformation

Privacy and data

Big Tech, tech and regulation

Social media

Extras

This is interesting: Fossilised poop shows how ancient dogs adapted to people

Things that make you go hmmm: Inside an online community of people with microchip implants

Space: 50 images of the universe from the Hubble Space Telescope

Podcast: A bold dream for the future of knowledge workers

Friday playlist: A very good playlist


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