Nothing propinks like propinquity, but tech is still vital for trust when hybrid working

Nothing beats in-person meetings, but tech is vital for hybrid working trust and equality. That is the main conclusion of a new report from Jabra’s LSE Behavioural Lab. According to the study, people are 56 percent more engaged in face to face meetings. In instances where hybrid meetings are required, meeting room participants saw an 84 percent increase in engagement from remote participants when using a professional meeting-room headset and video camera. The study is based on observations of 88 people of 15 different nationalities in a range of work settings.

Trust is typically more difficult to establish remotely than it is in person, the report argues. In meetings, technology affects how much we trust other participants. All meeting participants reported much greater levels of overall trust and clarity when utilising and experiencing professional technology. There was a 27 percent increase in technology clarity, leading to 16 percent more trust, 35 percent greater expressiveness, and a 47 percent perceived improvement in the quality of input.

Additionally, remote users collaborating with other remote participants who also used professional video led to noticeably better trust ratings (22 percent) than those using the built-in audio and video on their laptops. The report also claims that there are clear cultural differences that impact meetings independent of technology. A basic binary division was revealed between knowledge workers in Europe and knowledge workers in Asia when it came to participation.

There were variations in share of voice; those in Europe engage in significantly more verbal dialogue than peers in Asia, regardless of whether they were collaborating remotely or from a meeting room. They offered around 1.6 times or 39 percent more verbal engagement across all experimental settings.

However, when analysing data on face emotion recognition, the attention variable revealed a distinct difference between participants from Europe and those from other continents. Compared to their European counterparts, those in Asia had 134 percent higher levels of attention in meetings. Meeting equity is increasingly important to the professional development of employees, and this finding proves that diversity plays a huge part in such meeting inclusion. Professional technology can facilitate optimal environments for productivity, but a holistic approach through creating diverse and behaviourally inclusive teams is critical to achieving truly effective collaboration in the future of hybrid meetings.