This week I’ve packed in a lot of hybrid meetings and I have had further reflections on how they work.
I’m still totally loving our Teams Room set up that we now have in Room 6 and the Boardroom in Argyle House but I’ve been trying not to be selfish and block book them for all my meetings, so just booking them where I think they’ll be really helpful. The rooms are getting busier now and it’s getting harder to always get your favourite room so I’ve been branching out a bit more and trying other spaces.
I’ve had mixed success in the other rooms. The first week I was back I had a few hardware issues which wasn’t surprising as I suspect I was one of the first users of the rooms for 18 months. This week it’s been software issues – logging into the computers seems to have taken longer, working out whether Teams is installed or not, and installing it from the Software Centre if it isn’t, has also taken longer and then logging into Teams itself and getting into the meeting has taken ages. This means I’ve been late for all my meetings the past two days. It wasn’t like this last week so I don’t know if it’s been bad luck or something else going on. I had two meetings this morning where I gave up trying to use the PC in the room and just used my laptop instead. Perhaps I’m less patient now that my expectations have been used by using our lovely Teams Room set up .
I could just go in and connect with my laptop but that’s reducing my screen real-estate. If I’m connected to the big screen on my laptop, and sharing the call with others in a hybrid meeting, where do I take my notes, look at papers etc during the meeting?
The other thing that’s been troubling me other than the slow speeds of getting in is more about process. Before the pandemic, our occasional ‘hybrid’ meeting (which we definitely didn’t even know what hybrid then….) was run with Skype for Business. We literally used it for nothing else except occasional dial-ins for team members who had to work at home to make sure they were in for a boiler engineer (etc). Skype for Business wasn’t a great experience, we had frequent issues and sometimes even forgot the remote participant was there (sorry remote participant!). Now we are using Teams for everything – it’s replaced email in a lot of cases and your chat isn’t something you want to be plastered over a giant screen in a meeting room. What do you mean I use too many silly gifs in my chat??! When you are using it in a normal meeting room (ie not Teams Room), you need to make sure you mute your message notifications by setting your account to ‘do not disturb’ status and it probably makes sense to log in with the big screen turned off so you can connect into the meeting and only show Teams when you have joined the call and your messages are no longer visible (but that’s not possible in all rooms because there isn’t a smaller monitor). Just in-case there’s anything personal in there or something which could be taken out of context. Or maybe you just don’t want your boss or other senior colleagues to see that you have conversations entirely in gifs. She might think you are silly. Obviously I’m not talking about me here.
Tomorrow, I’m at home again and back to using all my screen real-estate during meetings.