In our last blog we talked about how the return to office movement is influencing the way people hold meetings within organisations, but it isn’t just where people participate from that impacts how effectively they meet. The recent study by Jabra at the London School of Economics’ Behavioural Lab investigated human interactions in virtual meeting environments and asked the question how does the technology used in meetings affect behaviour and the ability to collaborate effectively? In this blog we are going to summarise the findings of this study and reveal how the way we meet impacts meeting effectiveness.

In data released by Microsoft in May 2023 it was revealed that the average worker spends 25% of their day in Teams meetings. Yet, what research has since shown, is that many of these meetings are in poorly designed and ill-equipped meeting rooms that are not able to facilitate efficient communication and effective collaboration. Despite more employees returning to the office, there are still not enough meeting rooms equipped with the right technology to facilitate effective meetings with those who are joining remotely.

Using eye tracking, facial tracking analysis and bio-psychological recording, The LSE Behavioural Lab monitored participants’ behaviour in a series of meeting tasks that sufficiently represented real world activities that collaboration technology would be used for. This Jabra study found that the technology used in a meeting can greatly influence factors such as trust, emotion, engagement, understanding and the overall meeting experience.

Whilst many people still prefer face to face interaction in the same room as it helps them to better engage with others, express themselves and contribute to the conversation, many of these people still want to work remotely.  The key is therefore to find the right balance between collaborators being able to join a meeting from wherever they are located and having the right technology to enable them to participate effectively.

How meeting room technology influences the overall meeting experience

Jabra LSE Report

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The biggest challenge to creating effective meetings is enabling remote participants to take part in a way that makes them feel as though they are in the same room as physical participants. The study by Jabra at the London School of Economics’ Behavioural Lab found that when participants use professional in-room and remote technology they report better audio and video clarity and increased trust. Without professional technology there is a chance that participants can miss what is being said in the room, or not be heard by other meeting attendees.

It isn’t just the quality of meeting room technology being used that impacts the meeting experience for all participants but also whether they use the same or different technology to one another. The study found that when everyone involved in a meeting uses the same professional equipment, such as headsets and web cameras, they all perceive the meeting to be of a better quality.

Using professional technology means higher levels of audio visual quality and when everyone uses the same equipment, it gives everyone access to the same meeting experience, which can result in less stress and anxiety, particularly for remote participants who are not physically in the room.

The Jabra study at The LSE Behavioural Lab found that remote meeting participants can engage more effectively in a meeting scenario when they can read faces more clearly. By analysing gaze patterns with study participants it was determined that when using professional meeting room equipment, such as 4k webcams, remote attendees looked at each other more than when using built-in laptop cameras. Remote users were also better able to see and understand in-room participants when they used professional meeting room technology.

If, as the study suggests, only 1 in 10 meeting rooms are equipped with collaboration technology such as a video bar system, and businesses are set on maintaining their hybrid working models, equipping remote and office-based employees with the right meeting room technology will be essential. When meeting participants use different technology, it can lead to ineffective communication as people tend to talk over one another as they can’t see each other’s faces clearly enough, or read their facial expressions, which results in a poor meeting experience. According to Microsoft, inefficient meetings are the biggest barrier to productivity, so getting a better understanding of how technology and the way we meet impacts meeting effectiveness can help organisations to maintain and improve efficiency.

What businesses can learn from this research

As business leaders push the return to office movement to help increase productivity and collaboration, it can’t be ignored that most meetings will still be held on a hybrid basis. With this in mind, finding better ways to meet and ensuring everyone has access to the best meeting room technology are going to remain key to facilitating effective communication. Getting a better understanding of how technology impacts the way we meet and the barriers a lack of it can create, will only strengthen leaders’ grasp of how to improve overall productivity, trust and wellbeing.

As a leading digital enablement solutions provider, AVI-SPL can help your business to integrate and manage meeting room technologies from the industry’s leading manufacturers to enable your teams to collaborate more effectively, no matter where in the world they might be. Follow the link to find out more about our meeting room solutions.