Globally, there are over 572 million knowledge workers*, and each week, billions of hours are spent in online meetings. Yet many of these meetings are held in settings that are not at all supportive for collaboration or productivity. In Jabra’s recent Hybrid Ways of Working 2023 Global Report, only 15% of employees say that all of their office’s meeting rooms are equipped with video cameras for online meetings, and around 60% of knowledge workers still rely on built-in laptop cameras and microphones. This begs the question: how much is the technology we’re using impacting our behaviour in meetings and our ability to collaborate effectively?
Answering that question has taken over a year of work by Jabra using state-of-the-art facilities to study human behaviour in a controlled environment at the Behavioural Lab at The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). The study, ‘Meeting Great Expectations: Behaviour, Emotion and Trust’, sought to understand the biopsychological impacts of the technology we use in our day-to-day work, and how it affects collaboration and inclusion in meetings.
Professional meeting technology is key to meeting equity
Meeting experiences are holistic and need to factor in all participants. When we first made the shift to remote work during the pandemic, most organisations provided employees with headsets and webcams for online meetings. However, the quality of this technology varied and was oftentimes inadequate. In fact, only 19% of knowledge workers** are using a personal, professional webcam.
Looking into how technology impacts the quality each person can access a meeting, and how much an equal playing field impacted everyone’s overall collaboration perceptions, the study observed significant improvements when everyone in a meeting uses professional Jabra equipment, when compared to using the nearest competitor’s video bar or built-in laptop audio and video. There was a 27% increase in clarity, 16% more trust, 35% greater expressiveness, and a 47% perceived improvement in the quality of input.
Additionally, remote workers often face the greatest challenges with technology in hybrid meetings. When armed with professional headsets and cameras, the research saw overall call clarity improved by 18% among remote workers, while meeting room participants also rated remote users 32% higher in terms of expressiveness. Meeting room participants also showed nearly twice (84%) the perceived level of engagement when comparing hybrid workers using professional equipment with those on laptop with built-in hardware. Furthermore, remote participants also trusted others joining remotely 22% more when using professional technology. These findings highlighted the increased levels to which remote workers can show up and contribute to hybrid meetings, and the advantages technology can provide them.
Meeting room equipment directly improves remote users meeting experience
We’ve all been in that situation where we join a meeting remotely while everyone else is in the office. It can be frustrating – you might struggle to hear what’s being said, not be able to see everyone in the room, and sometimes feel overlooked. But what if having the right tools could make you feel more present and included?
The study found that when people used professional technology both in the meeting room and remotely, those joining remotely reported a 56% improvement in the quality of conference room contributions. While nothing can quite replace face-to-face interaction, the second-highest ratings for collaboration, right after in-person meetings, came from remote participants rating conference room users equipped with professional video gear.
These findings highlight that technology can bridge the gap between meeting participants separated by physical distance. In summary, it’s clear that high-quality in-room technology significantly enhances the experience for remote participants. Any business aiming for inclusive meetings should prioritise updating their meeting spaces to support fair collaboration.
Holger Reisinger, SVP at Jabra said, “High-quality technology has a profound impact on the effectiveness of remote collaboration. Our research demonstrates that when businesses invest in professional equipment for both in-room and remote participants, they can achieve remarkable improvements. These findings underscore the pivotal role of technology in optimising meeting experiences and fostering successful hybrid collaboration.”
Dr Simon Noyce, British Chartered Psychologist, Lead Project Researcher said, “In today’s world of hybrid meetings, bridging the gap between in-person and remote collaboration has never been more important. Our aim is to encourage businesses to harness this technology to enable meaningful interactions that come as close as possible to the richness of face-to-face engagement.”
Download a copy of the full report here: jabra.com/lse
*Jabra’s Global Knowledge Worker Survey, 2023
**Jabra U&A Collaboration Study, 2022