Time to kill the ‘1 remote — all remote’ rule!

We’ve found a way to make hybrid meetings work like magic. No echo, no expensive equipment. When your remote teams come together, they don’t need to split apart into phone booths and corners. It’s time to end the ‘one remote - all remote’ rule.

We’ve found a way to make hybrid meetings work like magic. 

No echo, no expensive equipment. When your remote teams come together, they don’t need to split apart into phone booths and corners. It’s time to end the ‘one remote - all remote’ rule.

✨ 🎉 Enter Whereby Co-location Groups ✨ 🎉 

With only your laptops you can bring your remote and co-located teams together. 

At Whereby it started as an internal conundrum about how we could make hybrid meetings work for our company, so that we could get the most of our time together, without sacrificing something dear to us: our remote culture

As so many of us moved to a remote-first way of working during Covid, we didn’t really have to think much about this problem. Everyone was remote. Everyone was dialling in from home.

But now we’re returning to offices, co-working spaces, offsite meetings, or getting together for planning and brainstorming. When some of us are co-located, and some of us are remote, the experience is terrible.

You’ve been there. We all have. You’re at home dialling into a group meeting where everyone else is together. They’re crowded around one laptop, echo, they’re having conversations off mic. It’s only a matter of time before they forget about you anyway, so you just do your best to tune into what you can.

Hybrid is the future, and hybrid meetings are still terrible

Whereby built something which worked like magic for our team, so we’ve decided to share it with all of our customers so that we can — for once and for all — kill the rule. 🪄

If you are together, you can all use your laptops to dial into your Whereby room, form a ‘co-located group’, that group can then cleverly (like, very cleverly, using some tech we have a patent pending for) identify and prioritise the speaker’s microphone: no echo, no muting. Those at home see what looks like a normal remote meeting, they can hear everyone, see everyone, and participate as if they’re present.

It’s time to kill the Sacred Mantra: If one person is dialling in remotely, everyone in the team must be remote.

Suddenly now, we have more tech companies working hybrid than not. According to Buffer, 97% of workers want some kind of work arrangement that is at least partially remote. Accenture recently reported that 83% of workers prefer to work hybrid. Hybrid working, where some employees are remote, some are in office, and there is flexibility between either, is becoming the status-quo.

But here is the problem: Working hybrid still kind of sucks.

That’s why companies follow ‘The Rule’. The reason we have this ‘one remote-all remote’ rule is to ensure the remote team isn't left out. But what it ends up with is the team who are together have a kind of crappy experience too — running into different rooms and phone booths, dealing with echos and bad meeting quality. It’s just… not good.

At Whereby we are building a world in which anywhere works. Remote. Office. Van. Hotel. Conference. For our team, this means we are fully remote, meaning 100% of our team work from home, or self-managed co-working spaces. 

However, there are many times when our team gets together for hybrid meetings, and it seems to be increasing. Offsites, team-dinners, meet-ups, are coming back onto the menu, but the solutions for how to work in this new way don’t seem to be catching up. 

Whenever our team were meeting up and getting together, we ended up feeling like we spent half our working day fighting with dial-in equipment in meeting rooms, or ducking into solo phone booths. It kind of, well, defeated the purpose.

The best way to complain is to fix things

Fully remote teams are proving themselves to be at least sometimes hybrid. Hybrid is the future. We need to stop sticking to the painful and archaic diatribe of ‘remote or in-person’ — it is now all hybrid, pretty much all the time. 

What does this mean for policies? Rules we hold dear? Collaboration? Socialising? 

Us folks building businesses in Operations and People have a lot left to discover and redefine, we shouldn’t let the rules of 2019 rule the future of work. Let’s build solutions for the future we want to see, not the past we locked ourselves to. Working Hybrid isn’t easy, and there is still so much to improve. We’d love to hear suggestions of other things about hybrid meetings that it’s time to upgrade, we’ll get our best folks on it!

If you want to give Whereby co-location groups a go? Learn more about our hybrid meetings feature

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