Hybrid Work Model: How To Succeed In The New Workplace

Hybrid Work Model

Many companies have started to bring their staff back to the office, but things are not like they were before. Are you thinking about how to adapt to the new way of working? Do you have employees working at home and others at the office? 

Increasingly, rather than the traditional office based model, companies are adopting a hybrid work model. This is effective when the company is neither fully remote, nor fully offline. It is, and will continue to be, the new normal. 

The hybrid model works in a variety of ways, so it’s not 100% clear on how to define hybrid work. We’ll get into the different models later, but generally it’s neither completely online nor offline. This may involve people coming in on a certain day or a few days a week, or having certain teams based in the office who benefit more from offline collaboration, or allowing workers to come to the office if they wish.

Yet, this work model has some significant challenges. Some companies want to return fully to the office to overcome these challenges, or are considering remaining online. Both of which have disadvantages as well. 

However, to get the best of both worlds, there are different ways to adopt the hybrid model, and some tips you can follow to make your employees happier and more productive. We provide a run down on the details of the hybrid model, and give you some tips.

Why adopt hybrid work

hybrid model

Hybrid work has many advantages over purely remote work and purely offline work. We run through these now, to show why you should consider adopting a hybrid work model.

Safety

The pandemic has not finished, and other pandemics are predicted. By protecting workers, particularly vulnerable ones, it shows the manifestation of the duty of care by the employer. It limits how many people are in the office at one time, and does well to protect people from harmful diseases. 

Employee Happiness

Some people are itching to return to the office, but many are happy working remotely. This isn’t just about employees either (though of course that is very important), a study by Stanford showed that workers were 13% more productive when working from home. This makes sense when you consider the lack of time being spent travelling and that the office, and that workplaces, particularly open-plan offices, can be quite distracting to workers. So we can recognize that there are benefits to allowing people to work from home. 

Larger workforce pool

When a company restricts its workers to be in one location, this rules out certain workers from other locations. People can live in other cities, time zones and even countries, who will offer you great expertise and skills, but they won’t want to relocate. By allowing for remote work, these workers are available to you.  

Societal impact

There is a positive societal impact if you permit workers to stay at home. One is that it shifts the burden of housing away from certain cities and locations, by permitting people to live further away from the office. It also reduces congestion and pollution as a result of less commuting. 

Cost reduction

The cost to maintain expensive offices, and to keep them running with hardware and resources, is a lot. By reducing this cost and the necessity of large central offices in expensive real estate locations, the company can save considerable money. 

Challenges of the hybrid work model

While there are many advantages to hybrid work, there are some challenges that you will need to overcome if implementing this working approach. Later we will provide you with tips to address them, but however you proceed, these need to be considered:

Isolation of remote workers

A major difficulty is that the hybrid model can create a sort of unspoken hierarchy and unfairness within the company, with those working offline significantly advantaged over those who don’t. The ones who work at the office can stay more in the loop about work projects and meetings, and get their faces known to leaders, leading them to be more likely to get promoted. This can fuel resentment between workers and then lead to resignations or a lack of productivity. 

Management difficulty

Managers will have to both deal with managing offline and online teams at the same time. This will raise a host of different issues, as both remote workers and offline workers may have different needs. They will need to ensure all parties are informed constantly, facilitating offline and online meetings. 

Expenses

If done badly, the hybrid approach may incur significant costs. There may still be high spending on rent or taxes for property, while not having all the benefits of purely offline work. Companies who struggle to adapt to hybrid work and online work in general, may have an increase in expenses, rather than the decrease it can potentially bring. 

How does the hybrid model work?

hybrid working

It is important that any company is completely clear on which kind of hybrid they are adopting, so that employees and potential employees know what is expected of them. 

Here is a break-down of the different types of hybrid models:

Remote first

The remote first work model is one where the company is primarily remote, with some exceptions. Employees may work from home, in different locations and time zones, but have the option to work in the office if they wish. Or the company may ask for some specific workers to come to the office if it is necessary for them to do so, but generally keep the team and workforce working at home. 

The benefit of such an approach is that those who are productive at home, those who are located far away from the office, can continue to work with ease, while those who do value the office can use it if they wish. Quora has adopted a remote first approach, allowing anyone to work at home if they prefer, while keeping their office open. Dropbox have taken a different approach, and allow use of the office only for collaborative work, keeping solo work at home. 

The potential disadvantage of remote first is that it may make it difficult to manage, and that those tired of virtual meetings will have to continue to tolerate a mostly online working space. 

Office first, with remote for minority

The office first approach is the opposite. It designates the office as the primary work location, expecting certain teams and staff to work offline, while permitting certain members to work online, whether because of geography, health, or merely preference. It may mean that the leaders are required at the office, but the regular staff are permitted to work remotely if they wish. 

The advantage of this is to get the benefits of offline work, particularly career progression, networking, and the ability to manage. The disadvantage is that those who do work remotely may be sidelined and at a disadvantage, by being left out of the loop and not recognized for their hard work by the leadership, by not making face to face connections. Office first companies will struggle to get staff who have got used to working from home, and will have higher overheads on expensive office spaces. 

The percentage model

The percentage model, i.e. 50/50, 40/60 etc. or office occasional model, is one where employees are expected to come to the office for some designated time. This could be one or several days of the week, with the other days allowing for work from home. 

The main difference between this and remote first is that there is a requirement to work in the office, so staff cannot be spread across the country or the world. 

This working model has advantages in that it can ensure all staff get the chance to meet each other and collaborate in person, but it may be seen as restrictive on members of staff who don’t want to or can’t really come to the office with ease. 

It limits the employee pool, and while it can get the best of both worlds, it can arguably get the worst, by still dividing workers, and getting lower productivity.

Tips to make the hybrid business model succeed

hybrid business model

So now you know why you should adopt a hybrid model, what the challenges are, and what models are available to you. We now give you advice on what to do to make the hybrid model succeed!

Focus on remote work

Office first companies will and are struggling. It is best to accept the reality that online work is here to stay and work around that. It is generally better to focus on this, and provide an element of flexibility to employees about how and when they will use the office.

 Consider using the work space for certain goals, and allow most staff members to work at home, or provide the office as an optional space. Expecting that people will want to all come back to the office just is not realistic, and you may drive your workforce away. 

Review fairly and be consistent

If you have workers coming into the office, the biggest challenge is the tiered nature of online versus offline workers. This can be remedied in part by only making certain teams and workers go to the office, or allowing the space to be optional, and reviewing remote workers’ growth on their terms, to ensure they are not overlooked when it comes to promotion.

 You can ensure that managers also work remotely in addition to employees, so that they do not prefer those who come to the office, and make steps to ensure the remote workers’ hard work is noticed. This ties in to making online the priority.

Keep all meetings online, and maintain a level of consistency with this, to guarantee that no online worker is left out of the loop, and the team all know what is taking place. 

 Also, offline office perks may be a way to draw people back to the office, provide perks for online workers as well, and keep online socialization events, to make sure the disparity is reduced. 

Reimagine both the online and offline work spaces

It is important to reimagine both the role of the offline and online space. In terms of the offline space, consider why you really need staff there. Is it for collaboration? If so, focus on allowing employees to visit in order to work together, rather than for the sake of having people in the building. 

For the virtual space, try to consider ways to make it better for everyone. It is best to keep a lot of work online, even if the workers are in the office. For example, for brainstorming sessions and collaborative online work, consider white boards apps such as Google Jamboard or Miro

Consider having less online meetings, and have tools such as Slack, or Discord, to facilitate audio or text based conversations, to allow staff to get on with their work. Don’t overload people with 20 Zoom calls a week, rather, have few meetings which are productive and use other tools for communication. 

Consider meeting note software such as Notiv to help record, transcribe, and isolate key action items automatically, in order to get the most out of online meetings and lessen the burden of taking meeting notes. 

Conclusion

 To conclude, focusing on keeping remote work in place, and allowing flexibility for your workforce is the way to go. To prevent a divide between workers, you can try to keep a lot of work in the online space, have online managers, and try to ensure that there is no preference for those who work offline. Make sure you look at software to help make the online space and online meetings as productive as possible as well, to make sure your company stays up to date on how it works. Following this guide will overcome the main challenge you will face. It will take a bit of imagination to make it work, but the benefits will be many, and it can overcome the problems faced by adopting a purely offline or purely remote model. In summary, the hybrid work model is a real opportunity to improve your company.

Virtual Meetings Guide 2021: Best Meeting Management Tools (Free & Paid)

virtual meeting image

A recent survey by Attentiv reveals that Americans attend on average around 1 million meetings every working day. Many of these meetings are virtual meetings, which bring a particular range of challenges. Planning, organizing and tweaking meeting room technology can take between 30-45 mins. 

Despite what many think or experience, a virtual meeting does not have to be ineffective. This article will give you some essential tips for virtual meetings and how to make them far more productive, by following some tactics and using free and affordable meeting management tools.

We first explain some basics about meetings, and give advice on virtual meetings, equipping you with virtual meeting etiquette. Then we have prepared a list of meeting management tools needed for virtual team meetings, before discussing how to effectively take notes and digitally store vital meeting information. 

Complete guide to virtual meetings in 2021

How does a virtual meeting work?

First things first, you need to know how to make a meeting that is virtual, before you can make it successful. What is meeting virtually like? 

A virtual meeting takes place online and allows the participants to communicate and collaborate via video or audio. There is a range of meeting options now, which will get into later on, but generally, it involves real-time communication where the participants call via the internet. There may be features such as screen sharing, to show presentations and other documents.

What are the key types of virtual meetings?

virtual meeting image

There are generally three types of virtual meetings, and then some variations within these categories:

  • Teleconferencing/Audio calls;
  • Video conferencing;
  • Web conferencing.

There is firstly teleconferencing, which is less popular these days due to modern technologies, where participants are present on a shared call line. A more modern version of this would be audio-only calls. 

Then there is video conferencing, which is like Zoom or Skype calls, where participants call via video and communicate remotely. 

Thirdly, is web conferencing, which as well as allowing for the sharing of video, allows the use of presentations, interactive features, one-way streaming or other methods. This may or may not be more like a lecture, where participants can only see one screen and not be seen themselves, combined with pre-recorded videos, or it can be more like a typical video call with all participants visible, but encouraging interactivity. 

How do you start a virtual meeting?

You know now what a virtual meeting is and what key types of online meeting exist, but how to get things started? No matter what software you use (more on that later), whether it’s MS teams or Zoom, meeting tips universally still apply. A silent meeting, with no one taking the initiative, can be disastrous and waste time, rendering the meeting pointless. A good start is the cornerstone of good virtual meetings.  

First of all, what is the meeting idea? The goal determines everything. Importantly, do have an organized plan for the meeting. Make sure it starts correctly and properly and the participants know what to expect. Layout any rules initially, such as cameras on, sound off unless speaking, and any other rules you wish. 

Virtual icebreakers

After starting the meeting, establishing the order and the rules, you need to get people loose, engaged, and happy to be there. This is where ice breakers come in. Having organized virtual meetings doesn’t mean there isn’t a place for fun. So here are some fun ways to start a meeting:

  • Guess who: using information gathered before, such as answers to questions from meeting members, participants are described with various fun facts and the rest have to guess who it is describing. Whoever correctly guesses, proceeds to describe another colleague with the information passed on to them. 
  • Would you rather: ask the group questions where they have to choose between two options. This is great to facilitate discussion and getting the team to know each other better. 
  • Informal coffee breaks: Tell everyone to bring a coffee (or other hot beverage) and attempt to facilitate the small talk we often miss in online environments. This will recreate the essential bonding between the team members of offline work.

The advantages and disadvantages of virtual meetings

Virtual meetings bring a range of benefits with difficulties. The main challenges are as follows:

  • Ineffective and unnecessary meetings

Meetings that have no goals, are not logged or don’t achieve anything waste everyone’s time. When you have online meetings, unfortunately, this can happen, as no one is paying attention, and nothing is remembered after, leading to further pointless meetings. 

  • Miscommunication

Humans rely a lot on body language. When meetings take place online, it is quite common for information to be lost. In addition to the aforementioned tech problems, and that people may just be waiting till they can close their laptop, lots can be lost in virtual meetings.

  • Technological problems 

By relying on software and hardware, which can be prone to going wrong, or using overly complex, incompatible, or user-unfriendly software, meetings can take forever to get started or get interrupted, and time is wasted. 

Despite these problems, when you use proper tools and software, virtual meetings can have the following benefits, overcoming many of the challenges of virtual meetings:

  • Meeting management tools can optimize remote collaborative work and help teams

Using software can make collaborative work happen with ease so that communications are focused, collaboration can get started without lots of unnecessary meetings, and the teams can get on with their tasks. 

  • Eliminate back and forth emails and schedule meetings faster

Good tools, such as Google Calendar, Slack, and many others, can allow for speedy scheduling and communications. You need to ensure Slack integration and other app integration for example with web conferencing tools, so that information about meetings and within them can be easily shared and written. No information is lost, meeting invitations are not buried, and they can be set up easily. Compare this to organizing meetings around an office just using emails, and you can get a sense of the improvement. 

  • Avoid prolonged meeting sessions (share screenshots and videos to communicate)

Long meetings are ineffective meetings. Virtual meetings, with proper software which allow for the sharing of screens and videos, ensured that information is readily displayed, skipping the need for lengthy discussions and making sure people take proper note of the information. 

  • Facilitate unified communication and collaboration

Make sure you integrate any other apps, such as Slack, and use software that puts as much as possible under one roof, this way collaboration is easy to do and communication is logged and clear.  This allows for one place for all work to be done with nothing lost. 

  • Improve productivity

If you streamline the meetings, focus them, communicate outside of meetings and collaborate, you will have productive sessions, and then have fewer meetings as a result, allowing for further productivity. 

  • Store data such as meeting minutes and discussions, and share files

While many programs such as MS Teams and Zoom have recording options, storing in one place can be risky, and also they often simply record, requiring you to sit and rewatch. Also if any meetings took place on a different platform, then this can be lost.  Using recording software, such as Notiv, info from all virtual meetings can easily be kept at hand for you, with key elements extracted and in word form, and stored safely. This information will allow you to readily go back to any meeting, so nothing is missed, as it often is, especially compared to face to face meetings. By storing this information and keeping it accessible, you automate a lengthy process and save immeasurable time in the future. 

  • Organize remote meetings without any technical issues

Remote meetings can be complicated at first, with people losing passcodes, not having the right app and poor internet connections. However, utilizing proper software and programs, and rolling it out for your team, will help overcome these issues, making it simple and quick. 

  • Take meeting notes digitally, disseminating the information quickly, and following up on actions

Meeting notes are easily lost, ignored, and forgotten about. Yet if you take digital notes and store them, this information will be accessible, so, just as with the minutes and dates, nothing is missed that you will need in the future. In addition, with the right software, teams can collaborate with meeting notes, before and after, so that there is consensus on what meetings are about, what was achieved, and therefore meetings are extra productive.

We discussed what virtual meetings are, and the benefits they can bring. Now you can learn how to make your meetings a success!

Tips to take virtual meetings to the next level

Running a good online meeting requires a bit of planning in advance, but it will be worth it. Here’s some tips for your next meetings:

Goals and Agenda

When a meeting has a clear goal, it can be resolved quicker, people will want to engage, and afterwards it will be understood why it took place. No one wants to come to unimportant meetings they don’t remember, or ones which fail to achieve anything. Set a goal before the meeting, and communicate this. The agenda of the meeting should also be laid out, so everyone knows what to expect and the correct amount of time is spent on each area. 

Rules and Moderation

Set rules for how the meeting will work. Make sure people are muted unless speaking, set time limits for speakers and each item of the agenda, to ensure time is not wasted. Have a moderator of the meeting who will lay out the agenda, control participants, and introduce any other presenters of the meeting. 

Share and Collaborate on Notes

Summarize all the progress of the meeting, any unresolved items, and what was achieved after. This should be shared in a chat such as on Slack, so that nothing is lost, people can check what happened, and there is a log of the meeting. 

Top 12 meeting management tools for productive meetings (Features Overview)

Now you know how to help run your meetings. Here’s some different software that will help you get the most out of your virtual meetings, and descriptions of the various platforms to host your meetings on, so you can decide what is best for you and your team. 

Microsoft Teams

Virtual Meeting Screenshot

**Microsoft has announced that it is retiring Skype for Business on 31 July 2021 and replacing it with Microsoft Teams. 

Microsoft Teams is a practical and comprehensive meeting management platform for online discussions, file transfer and storage, with an instant messaging function. It is integrated into the Microsoft Office 365 suite but there is also a free version available.

During 2020, Teams added around 95 million users, making it one of the fastest growing tools. Its growth rate has already surpassed Zoom, according to a recent report from the digital experience management company, Aternity.

Microsoft has integrated Teams and made it a productivity and collaboration hub to help virtual teams achieve more. It has been adding several features recently, such as Multi-Window meetings and calling experiences, live reactions, offline file access, and PowerPoint Live, making it an all-in-one strategic meeting management software for enterprises of all sizes.

Features:

  • Real-time collaboration between virtual teams;
  • Free with Microsoft365 and Office365;
  • Unlimited integration with business applications and services such as Adobe, Evernote and Trello;
  • File sharing, personal and team file storage, and personalized screen sharing.

Advantages:

  • Integration with the Office 365 suite and Microsoft tools, to share and modify Excel, PowerPoint and Word files;
  • Availability of a free version with unlimited conversations, audio and video calls for individual and group meetings; 
  • iOS and Android platform compatibility;
  • Full telephone via Microsoft 365 Business Voice (requires additional licensing);
  • Hosting for large numbers of internal and external users.

Disadvantages:

  • Users without an Office 365 subscription need to download the software to their computer or mobile device;
  • Management of files is a bit complicated, as everything is stored in the channel root folder;
  • No meeting reminder and agenda template features;
  • Channel limits   a user is restricted to 30 private channels and 200 public channels.

Pricing:

  • There are free and paid plans. Prices start at $5.00 per user per month for the Business Basic plan, along with a trial version.

Zoom Meetings

Zoom meeting tips

Zoom is one of the most popular meeting management software in the world. The cloud-based tool offers quality video conferencing sessions with messaging and real-time content sharing and promotes internal and external communication within the company. 

Zoom comes with a variety of useful features such as integrated HD video and audio, recording and transcriptions (English only), and audio-only call capability. It also seamlessly syncs with your calendar so you can manage your schedules easily from any location and device. Zoom’s screen sharing and annotation feature keep team members in the loop during a group discussion.  

Zoom’s usage has ballooned recently, from 10 million users in December 2019 to a massive 300 million participants in March 2020. However, there have been some big problems with its increasing popularity. Zoom was sharing its data with Facebook, and engaging in unfair practices involving fake end-to-end encryption issues. In a few countries such as Canada and Taiwan, organizations like NASA and SpaceX, along with school boards banned its use.

Features:

  • HD video, audio, collaboration & messaging;
  • Fully-featured video webinars;
  • Rooms and Workspaces;
  • Screen sharing and annotation functions;
  • Templates to help schedule future meetings;
  • Meeting recordings with auto-generated transcription feature (English only);
  • Workplace Bot, and integrations with several apps and services;
  • Customizable background picture;
  • Participants engagement features such as voting that supports Firefox, on-demand hand raising and polls.

Advantages:

  • The free version offers unlimited conversations between two participants and up to 45 minutes when you have 3 to 100 participants;
  • Webinars and meetings can be streamed on Facebook;
  • The desktop client and mobile app offers more features than the online version;
  • You can record the conference to make it available for replay;
  • When using the chat feature, you can choose to send your message to everyone or just to the host. 
  • Users can synchronize their conferences with their calendar (Google Calendar etc).
  • There is support for large audiences.
  • Many apps support Zoom integration

Disadvantages:

  • The free version has a 40-minute limit per meeting;
  • A software download is required for use;
  • Sessions are arbitrarily closed when the internet connection is unstable.

Pricing:

  • There are free and paid plans. Prices start at $14.99 per month per license (Pro Package for small teams);
  • Optional Add-on plans include Cloud storage (starting at $40 per month), Premier support, and Large meetings (starting at $50 per month).

ClickMeeting

ClickMeeting virtual meeting

ClickMeeting is among the most versatile meeting management tools, assisting business discussions, webinars and multi-channel exchanges. A browser-based software, it does not require installation and works with all the latest versions of Chrome, Safari, FireFox, Edge, Opera, and Yandex. 

ClickMeeting meets the needs of business managers as well as Marketing and Sales professionals, HR managers, educators, coaches, and motivators due to scalable features (in paid versions) such as desktop sharing, webinar on-demand set up, a whiteboard, polling and voting tools, and real-time chat translation.

Users can personalize their meeting rooms/webinars by adding specific colors, their logo, images, to strengthen their brand image. It also supports integration with Google Analytics and similar apps to collect webinar statistics to analyze and improve the performance of webinars.

Users can benefit from several automation-webinar scenarios such as auto-streaming on Youtube or Facebook, auto-publishing of the webinar recording on YouTube or the webinar profile page and automated invites for future webinars. 

Features:

  • Private and group chats;
  • Breakout rooms;
  • Webinar recording and storage;
  • Diverse operating system functionality;
  • Webinar rooms and web conferences;
  • Branding features;
  • Screen sharing;
  • Webinar statistics;
  • Call-to-action;
  • Social media sharing;
  • Tests and surveys to collect audience opinion, comments.

Advantages:

  • Flexible rates, depending on the number of participants;
  • Presentation mode that shows documents/slides to engage the audience;
  • 30-day trial version (up to 25 attendees);
  • Meetings of up to 1000 participants;
  • 20% discount for  annual subscriptions;
  • Live and on-demand webinar;
  • Integration with several external apps and software;
  • Recurrent meeting scheduling feature;
  • Breakout rooms.

Disadvantages:

  • Relatively expensive;
  • Glitches have been reported – screen freezing, loss of audio/video etc.

Pricing:

  • 30 days trial;
  • Pricing depends on the number of attendees, and are charged on a monthly or yearly basis;
  • Plans start from $25 per month billed annually for 10 attendees. 

x.ai

x.ai virtual meeting

x.ai is an intuitive meeting management tool powered by AI to schedule meetings and appointments. Instead of scheduling meetings yourself, you can delegate this task to the tool’s meeting assistants Amy and Andrew who will coordinate with others to find the best time for a meet-up. Just cc or Slack the assistant, and they will take care of the rest.

You can organize all types of meetings with x.ai- private meeting/individual slots, coffee catch-ups, product demos, interviews, and group meetings.

x.ai can integrate with Google Calendar, Outlook, and Office 365. When a user initiates a meeting with x.ai users, the assistants automatically reviews everyone’s calendar to analyze the availability and preferences of all, and schedule meetings accordingly.

The guests only need to enter basic details (name, email, optional notes), and the tool will add the event to everyone’s calendars. Besides, it also offers a copy time option – choose and copy any three days from your calendar, and paste and share them with others via email. 

Features:

  • Automated scheduling;
  • Meeting tracking;
  • Calendar management;
  • Integration with several third-party applications such as WordPress, Stripe, Zapier, Slack, Google Analytics, Zoom, Teams and Notiv;
  • Group scheduling;
  • Branding feature;
  • Conference room booking;
  • Auto-response;
  • Integration with Outlook and Google calendars;
  • Multi-location (coffee shops, work, home, etc.);

Advantages:

  • Automated management of meeting arrangements, reminders, emails;
  • Metrics and reporting features;
  • Task delegation to Amy and Andrew- x.ai AI-based personal assistants;
  • Opportunity tracking (the AI assistants keep in touch with the contacts to set up meetings at the most opportune time);
  • Enterprise-level security;
  • iOS and Android compatibility.

Disadvantages:

  • People may mistake the bot for a human;
  • The automatic scheduling can be problematic if a person is traveling or does not update the calendar regularly.

Pricing:

  • Free and paid versions. Pricing starts at $8 per user per month with a 14-day trial.

Doodle

Doodle virtual meeting

Doodle is a professional cloud-based meeting management software making scheduling appointments easier through consensus on the best time slot and dates.

Doodle easily synchronizes with your calendars (Google Calendar, Outlook, iCal, Yahoo), to check for available time slots and avoid meeting clashes. 

It also offers several settings such as limiting the number of votes per proposal and number of participants authorized to attend the event, restricting participants to a single vote (in case of only one choice), and an interesting hidden poll feature that hides the name, comments and votes of participants if needed.

Additionally, it simplifies meeting scheduling and allows participants to indicate their preference by selecting Yes/No. You can also establish a voting deadline. 

The Doodle planning template can be customized with a logo, colors, and even a personalized URL (premium feature). You can also request all participants fill in mandatory fields such as email, phone number and address.

Doodle can be integrated with several external apps such as Zoom, Slack, Teams, Google Meet and Zapier to facilitate networking.

Features:

  • Calendar sync;
  • Auto reminders;
  • Meeting invite tracking;
  • Participant visibility;
  • Customized branding and personalized URL;
  • Doodle bot for Slack;
  • Integrations with external apps including calendars to facilitate meeting;
  • Yes/No polling system to avoid scheduling hassles.

Advantages:

  • Eliminates the hassle of sending back and forth emails;
  • Tracks all poll activities from one dashboard;
  • Polling, which makes it easier to decide group meetings;
  • Reporting features;
  • Android and iOS apps.

Disadvantages:

  • Most features are only available with the paid plans;
  • It can be difficult to find an event with too many polls;
  • Does not support audio and video calls.

Pricing:

  • Free and paid versions. Pricing starts at $6.95 per user per month along with a trial version.

TeamViewer

TeamViewer virtual meeting

TeamViewer is a remote access and tele-assistance tool that you can use to take control of a device temporarily. It is mostly used for computer troubleshooting or installing software while having to travel or make a phone call. Apart from this, TeamViewer is a meeting management tool with useful features such as virtual whiteboard, group chat, audio and video conferences, and file sharing via a secure cloud. 

Its virtual whiteboard feature enables teams and departments to collaborate on joint projects to save time and increase productivity. You can also use TeamViewer’s screen capture feature to take a screenshot of the board. 

The TeamViewer instant messaging and video chat function allows users to connect and communicate with team members and outside users in real-time. All chats within TeamViewer are end-to-end encrypted, and any message, document, or data shared on these chats will be delivered to the intended recipient.   

You can also use TeamViewer to connect to multiple systems and invite team members to work on a project simultaneously. You can even change the viewing direction during a session. 

TeamViewer saves your recent connections to let you reconnect with contacts and devices quickly and saves the time you would have spent on searching for them in your list. 

Features:

  • Encryption for secure file sharing;
  • Control the device from anywhere (requires tools to be installed on both devices);
  • Supports all operating systems, Windows, MAC OS, Android, Chrome OS, iOS, Linux;
  • Flexible settings to reduce latency– enhanced image quality at the expense of speed and vice versa;
  • Video calls;
  • Remote printing;
  • Detailed reporting log that captures all sessions’ activities;

Advantages:

  • Supports remote connection even if devices are running different OS;
  • Offers video and audio conferencing;
  • Virtual whiteboard.

Disadvantages:

  • The free version does not allow multiple sessions to run concurrently from one account.

Pricing:

  • A free version for private and non-commercial use;
  • Pricing starts at $23.90 per user per month with a 14-day trial.

HubSpot Meeting  

HubSpot Meeting  

Hubspot is strategic meeting management software that offers a lot of useful and well-integrated tools, including email marketing and tracking, lead management, social media and sales email automation. All of these tools are included within a single subscription, making HubSpot a full-suite of software supporting the collaboration between marketing, sales, service, and operations teams. 

In this article, we presented various scheduler tools that can be connected to your inbox, but this meeting management tool is different. HubSpot’s free meeting scheduling software is already available in all HubSpot CRM versions (including the free plan), and integrates with your Google or Office 365 calendar to set up meetings with prospects, clients, and leads. 

You can personalize the booking link and share it through email and invite prospects to schedule a meeting. When a meeting is booked, the tool adds it to your calendar and the CRM automatically. 

The calendar link can be easily embedded on your website or included in the email to schedule meetings conveniently. 

Features:

  • Group meeting links;
  • Round-robin meeting link that shows individual availability of selected employees to schedule a meeting with the available rep;
  • Syncing with Office 365 and Google calendars;
  • Transfer meeting ownership to another employee;

Advantages:

  • A free to use meeting scheduling tool included in the HubSpot CRM;
  • Option to customize the meeting link to reflect your branding;
  • Multiple meeting types;
  • Timezone and language customization;
  • Ability to add video conference links with Zoom, Google Meet, or UberConference (if a video conference integration is already set up in HubSpot);
  • A call-in link can be added to the invite;
  • Automated confirmation email sent to attendees.

Disadvantages:

  • Unavailable as stand-alone software.

Pricing: 

  • Included in the HubSpot CRM.                                                        

Cisco Webex

Cisco Webex virtual meeting

Webex is an enterprise meeting management tool and part of the Cisco Webex online collaboration platform packaged as a complete meeting solution for businesses of all sizes. It supports all operating systems and virtual meeting platforms.

There is no need to install this video conferencing tool; invitees receive a meeting link in an email and participate through their browsers. Webex allows us to control video conferences by voice command via Google Assistant or Siri.

Webex offers various productivity tools and features such as file sharing to exchange information and documents, digital whiteboards for interactive teamwork, and calendar integration (Google, Outlook). Webex Meetings can also be integrated with external interfaces such as Microsoft Teams and Slack.

Webex lets you schedule meetings with options tailored to your needs – quick scheduling when you are short on time or advanced scheduling to set up future meetings. You can also create email or call reminders to notify the attendees about the meeting. 

Features:

  • Conferencing tools – video and audio conferencing and live chat;
  • Presenter tools – live preview, switch presenter;
  • Share documents or confidential conversations and record meetings for future consultation with a secure password;
  • Cross-platform support;
  • Collaboration tools – whiteboard, participants controls, survey tools, screen sharing 

Advantages:

  • Integration with Facebook live;
  • Transfer and edit documents during the meeting;
  • Cloud recording option;
  • Send meeting invites via email, phone call, and SMS;
  • Integrations with tools such as Slack, Salesforce, Microsoft Teams.

Disadvantages:

  • Meeting points or action items can’t be converted to tasks or projects;
  • No option to set up an agenda of meeting plans;
  • Transfer of only limited file types up to a certain size is supported.

Pricing:

  • Free and paid versions. Pricing starts at $13.50 per host per month with a trial version.

Join.me

Join.me meeting

Join.me is a suitable meeting tool for startups and small businesses because it allows them to set up a customized background and personalized meetings with a unique URL and send automated invites via email. 

Features:

  • Screen sharing;
  • File transfers;
  • Internet calls;
  • Control sharing;
  • Unlimited audio with international conference lines (for Pro users);
  • Recording and cloud storage of meetings;
  • Meeting tools – annotation, presenter exchange;
  • Meeting planner with Outlook plug-in and Google Calendar plug-in;
  • Personalization features – personal URL;
  • Time zone tracking;
  • Enterprise authentication with an easy sign-in option;
  • Stand-alone audio.

Advantages:

  • Swap presenters;
  • Supports 10 video streams at once;
  • Reporting feature;
  • No need to install the software or register an account;
  • Integrates well with other messaging and content management systems;
  • Can accommodate a large number of attendees in a single meeting.

Disadvantages:

  • Screen freezing;
  • Difficult to share the screen if the software is not installed.

Pricing:

  • Free and paid versions. Pricing starts at $10 per user per month with a trial version.

Magic Minutes

Magic Minutes

Magic Minutes lets you set up meeting agendas, create and share the minutes, and schedule meetings. Its centralized dashboard offers several features such as the ability to review and accept (or reject) requests to join settings and send invites. Users can set up time limits, manage agendas, rearrange sequence, and assign tasks to attendees via the same interface.

The tool allows you to predefine sentences of your choice to be used during the meeting, and these phrases can be shared with other attendees with a single click.

The meeting admins can use the pre-populating fields and descriptions to quickly create agendas for future or follow-up sessions. They can also use the search and filter feature to find details about the earlier meetings from the stored history.

Magic Minutes connects with third-party apps and services via Zapier integration. After the meeting ends, the minutes are downloadable as a single file containing all relevant details such as the agenda and actions to be taken.

Features:

  • Track action items;
  • Agenda, minutes and participant management tools (including post-meeting tools);
  • Task assignment;
  • Automated circulation of minutes;
  • Storage minutes and other documents securely for regulatory compliance;
  • Cloud-based deployment.

Advantages:

  • Puts together all the information before the meetings;
  • Helps document decisions and conversations quickly via the meeting template;
  • Meeting progress feature to keep discussions on track;
  • Import reports through stored history.

Disadvantages:

  • Does not support iOS or Mac OS;
  • Does not support video conferencing;

Pricing:

  • Free and paid plans. Pricing starts at £12 per user per month with a trial version.

Vyte

Vyte meeting

Vyte is a tool to organize meetings according to team members’ preferences as well as according to the organizer’s availability, with easy sharing via an associated link.

Creating a meeting is simple: add a meeting subject, indicate the emails of attendees, and propose different dates and time slots according to your availability, along with a descriptive note. Each attendee will be able to choose the meeting date according to their preferences.

Organizers can group their appointments and statuses through a dashboard (to be confirmed/confirmed) either as a list or calendar view type.

Features:

  • Set up a unique Vyte page for attendees to access with a simple link;
  • Link its Vyte page with external calendars such as Google Calendar, Office 365, Microsoft Exchange, iCloud, CalDAV;
  • Prohibit appointments of a minimum duration;
  • Apply a margin between two meeting sessions;
  • Customize the appointment page via a personal link;
  • Various features for group meetings such as controlling the notifications participants receive, prohibiting attendees from suggesting another time.

Advantages:

  • Syncs with multiple calendars;
  • Allows attendees to propose dates and time slot(s);
  • Automatic coordination across time zones;
  • Book meetings online at a convenient time;
  • Supports group and 1-on-1 meetings.

Disadvantages:

  • No audio/video recording;
  • No video conferencing feature;
  • No screen sharing;
  • Only supports Web, iOS app, mobile website (no Android app support).

Pricing:

  • Free and paid plans. The Pro plan starts at $8 per month with a trial version.

Notiv Notetaker

Notiv virtual meeting

Notiv is more than just a meeting transcription software, it is an AI meeting assistant which makes your meetings extremely productive. It transcribes statements made during a video/audio call, creates bite-sized highlights from important discussions, and lets you circulate the meeting highlights with a single click.

Whether it is an internal team discussion or a sales call, Notiv lets you record, transcribe, and highlight important points through key insights. Its smart AI recognizes action items, important phrases, or follow-up points soon after the meeting is finished. 

Notiv seamlessly integrates with web conferencing platforms such as Zoom, Google Meet, WebEx, Microsoft Teams, Skype for Business, and more! Notiv’s calendar syncing feature means it will auto-join every meeting, hassle-free.

Features:

  • AI-generated topics, agendas, action items, highlights;
  • Accurate and live transcription of videos and phone calls;
  • Meeting recording;
  • Workflow optimization;
  • Integrates with a lot of external apps and services;
  • Sends meeting highlights directly via emails.

Advantages:

  • Easily handles accents, abbreviations, and slang;
  • Auto punctuation;
  • Auto-joins meetings and transcribes them;
  • Allows the adding or editing of key details directly from the meeting notes;
  • Imports/exports video and audio files quickly;
  • Links meeting action items with tasks.

Disadvantages:

  • Currently only supports English. 

Pricing:

  • Free and paid versions. Pricing starts at $19 per user per month with a 14-day trial.

How to take meeting notes the smart way?

While we are talking about Notiv, and transcribing meetings, it is worth digging deeper into note-taking. Note-taking is a tricky task, however, in our blog, we’ve described some good tips to follow regarding how to take meeting notes

Generally, good advice is to keep a focus on the important information, don’t write down each and everything. Use visual techniques, such as mind mapping, prepare your notes before the meeting, and use tools like Notiv to type and store the information after. Notiv allows you to store important meeting notes, so you can come back at another time, a major way to improve virtual meetings’ usefulness.

How to record and transcribe a meeting

Taking notes is one thing, but you may want to consider getting the software to record and transcribe meeting notes. Various software can help with recording meetings. Zoom meetings, and meetings from other virtual meeting apps, can be recorded by Notiv, for example, allowing for you to revisit past meetings at any time. Then, you can use software to transcribe meeting minutes and notes. This can be useful to save the considerable time of transcribing. 

However, unlike other apps, rather than a full transcription, Notiv can both record and extract useful information, saving time and effort to find what you need. It can also then send the information to any employee chat, as it can integrate with Slack

Conclusion

There are many benefits and drawbacks to virtual meetings, but with the proper preparation, software and techniques, you can not only overcome the disadvantages but make virtual meetings better than offline ones. This page has hopefully helped you learn how to make these meetings more effective. 

The conferencing, planning, and meeting management tools reviewed in this article have strong and weak points, but they all serve a common purpose – to help conduct a productive virtual meeting.

These strategic meeting management software with pre-built features and simple UI save you a lot of time, with Notiv being our top pick. With Notiv, virtual meetings have fewer issues and are immensely more effective.

Turn Your Voice Conversations Into Clever Business Outcomes In 3 Steps

Meeting notes

Preparing concise and organized meeting notes is a real skill. It is difficult to listen, take notes, and participate in meetings at the same time, and on top of that, we often jot down unnecessary information, which results in spending valuable time trying to make sense of wordy and cluttered entries before we can share them with others. This is where note-taking apps come in handy and relieve you of stress.

Notiv is among the very few cross-platform apps that offer the perfect combination of versatility, efficiency, and speed. It provides users with all the essential features to help you create, organize, save, and share your meeting minutes.

Notiv’s Conversation Intelligence

Notiv is an AI-powered note-taking tool that can record and transcribe video and voice calls. It works with various web conferencing platforms such as Zoom, Webex, and Google Meet, and integrates with many third-party apps your team uses – add the app directly from your Notiv account and begin recording your meetings and calls instantly.

Notiv Notetaker is much more than a typical meeting notetaker; it uses AI to analyze your conversations and identifies key topics and phrases. After the meeting, rather than poring over pages of notes, you can refer directly to these key moments for actionable insights.  

It saves resources, time, and effort, offering near-verbatim transcripts almost instantly to benefit your business. Whether you’re recording a sales call with a client or conducting an internal meeting, Notiv captures your interaction and gives you the understanding to make better decisions accordingly.

Overcome the Challenge of Note-Taking With Notiv

Notiv offers peace of mind during your internal and external meetings. You will never have to worry about taking meeting notes again(!) as you can integrate Notiv with your Google or Office calendar, and it will join every scheduled conversation.

Notiv has re-engineered the meeting culture – perfectly recording and storing all your meetings, even those you couldn’t attend. 

How to synchronize Notiv with Zoom (and other meeting platforms)

  1. Go to the Settings menu, then Calendar, and click Zoom;

       2. Authorize Notiv to access your Zoom account;

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         3. You will be able to view all your scheduled Zoom meetings inside your Notiv account. You can also choose which meetings Notiv should record.

Tip: If you want Notiv to record all your meetings simply turn on the auto-join feature and Notiv will automatically join. 

Record your meetings, either remotely or in-person with Notiv. Just follow the simple steps in this link.

Full Collaboration for Better Decision Making

Apart from creating transcriptions, Notiv automatically produces a summary of conversations, suggests action items or questions, and notes important discussion items.

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Notiv offers valuable insights which you can refer to on demand. You can pull previous recordings or transcripts and share these with your colleagues to improve team performance, business processes, training, client calls and more.

Using Notiv’s voice command and triggers

You can use Notiv’s built-in voice notes and triggers during your conversation and Notiv’s cutting edge AI will pick them up, creating an “Action item”, “Note” or “Decision”.

  1. To add a note, say “Add a note” or “Take a note.” For instance, “Thanks John, I’ll take note that you are meeting our Sales Director tomorrow”;
  2. To add an action item, the same idea is used. For instance, “There is an Action Item for Lara to send the latest sales figures post meeting”;
  3. To log a decision – “We have decided to reschedule our next sales meeting for 24th July, 2021”.
  4. Notiv also picks up any sentence containing its name. For example, “Hey Notiv, send the meeting transcript to Matt only”. 

Tip: You can easily search through your transcripts and notes to pull specific information. All you need to do is to use the “Search” feature from your account’s main dashboard, and Notiv will display the transcripts or meeting notes containing the search term.

Create Actions and Assign Tasks Automatically

As Notiv processes your meeting recording for transcription, it analyzes the script and suggests key phrases as actions, tasks, and decisions.

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You can add manual actions and tasks as required, and share them with others with a single click.

How to add notes and actions manually

To do this:

  1. Highlight the text from the transcript as a task, action, or decision;Blog post image 8
  2. Hover your mouse over the selected section and choose how you would like to classify it.
  3. The selected text will be populated in the relevant category as a note/action/decision.Blog post image 9

Tip: Ditch emails and invite your team to collaborate online with Notiv. They will be able to see the notes, actions, and decisions, provide helpful feedback, leading to better and more informed decisions. Follow this link to learn more about collaborative note-taking.

Conclusion

There is a wealth of information hidden in our collective dialogues, and Notiv – as a smart meeting notes taker, mines these key insights to help us collaborate and improve our performance for marketing, customer service, and sales purposes. 

Notiv does the following:

  1. Captures your conversations automatically, transcribes them, creates action items, and sends all updates via daily digest.
  2. Allows you to recall important parts of discussion, and share the entire recording and script with your team.
  3. Finds and identifies common themes and keywords across all meeting conversations and offers insights that help with quick decision making. 

Try Notiv for two weeks for free, and experience how easy it is to work with an AI-powered transcript for better business outcomes.

Notiv + x.ai: scheduled and captured meetings

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The Notiv + x.ai integration enables you to automatically add the Notiv Notetaker to your scheduled meetings

We are pleased to announce that our integration with x.ai allows Notiv users to schedule meetings in one easy click directly from their Notiv account.

How does Notiv work with x.ai?

x.ai is an AI-powered meeting scheduler that syncs with your calendar. After a quick and easy setup process to create some custom preferences suitable to you, you can share a link with your guests and let them pick time slots work into your schedule.

When you use Notiv and x.ai together, any meeting you arrange via your personalized x.ai link will be recorded, transcribed, and captured by Notiv automatically.

x.ai

How do I enable x.ai scheduling in my Notiv account?

We have tried to make integrating Notiv with x.ai as easy as possible.

Follow the step-by-step instructions on our Notiv + x.ai integration help center article.