13 years ago, I realised I needed to be surrounded by people and build a community around me. I have up a lucrative and mind-numbing career in IT to be in the company of others. For this reason, you’d have thought that I would be the first to be hammering down the door to get back to face to face meetings, and in theory I am.
I also have phlebitis, acute lipodermatosclerosis, an enlarged superficial vein, lymphedema and two crutches designed to bring pain to anyone who trying to walk in front of me. Long and short: I can’t get to face to face meetings until I have an operation in a few weeks time.
And I’m lucky; there is a time in the near future where I will be able to get in the car, walk to a train station or sit for more than 10 minutes without having to raise my leg. Some people never get to do those things.
So here is the point of my post. It’s a plea. The last two years has taught us to have hybrid meet ups. When calling a meeting this should always be an option now. Below we share the way we made that happen in a small organisation with very little money. If we can do it so can you.
We bought and LG smart tv. They are cost effective and easy to add apps to. You don’t need one as big as ours – just one large enough for everyone in the room to see. You can get a 32 inch for less than £200 from John Lewis right now.
We also bought a stand on wheels to allow us to move ours. You obviously don’t need one of these, we just find it useful. They are about £60 from Amazon or Wayfair but also try second hand office furniture shops like City Used Furniture or Recycle NorthWest.
Finally we bought a conference camera and speaker. There are tons of options from £30 – £1000 just check out reviews and always check places like ebay first.
There are other things we could have bought. If you have money to burn the conference owl at £1000 looks amazing, and we could have loved a casting device too but just deemed it unnecessary.
People attending face to face should being their laptops if possible and log on so those joining remotely can see everyone. Laptops in the room should be muted with sound down using the conference mic instead.
Allow some time before is possible for set up and chats.
Finally, you should also have someone facilitating to ensure anyone online wanting to talk gets to.
It sounds like a faff but we have been doing it through necessity over the last month and it’s working really well. If you’d like to chat to us about our set up more, feel free to get in touch.