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Human Resources

Return to the office or stay at home? There is a third way

Published 17 September 2021 in Human Resources • 2 min read

How can I enable success with mixed-mode meetings?

Much of the conversation about hybrid work focuses on striking the right balance between the in-person and virtual modes. And we, too, have begun to explore the differences in how leaders need to support teamwork in the in-person and virtual modes. However, it’s increasingly clear that there is a third option – mixed-mode meetings – that presents additional challenges.  

By mixed-mode, we mean meetings in which some participants are together physically while others are virtual. How should leaders balance the potential benefits of having some people present in person against the potential costs of diminished inclusion, connection, and influence for the virtual team members? 

We started with the principle that mixed-mode meetings should happen only when they create concrete business value, and when it’s really not possible for the team to be together fully.  

Here is our guide to how to decide whether and when to allow mixed mode meetings. This chart will help you decide when to schedule a meeting in person, when a Zoom meeting will suffice, and how to help people collaborate in hybrid gatherings. 



Robert Hooijberg

Professor of Organizational Behaviour at IMD

Robert Hooijberg is Professor of Organizational Behavior at IMD. His areas of special interest are leadership, negotiations, team building, digital transformation, and organizational culture. Before joining IMD in September 2000, Professor Hooijberg taught at Rutgers University in their MBA and Executive MBA programs in New Jersey, Singapore, and Beijing. He is Program Director of the Breakthrough Program for Senior Executives and the Negotiating for Value Creation course.

Michael Watkins - IMD Professor

Michael D. Watkins

Professor of Leadership and Organizational Change at IMD

Michael D Watkins is Professor of Leadership and Organizational Change at IMD, and author of The First 90 Days, Master Your Next Move, Predictable Surprises, and 12 other books on leadership and negotiation. His book, The Six Disciplines of Strategic Thinking, explores how executives can learn to think strategically and lead their organizations into the future. A Thinkers 50-ranked management influencer and recognized expert in his field, his work features in HBR Guides and HBR’s 10 Must Reads on leadership, teams, strategic initiatives, and new managers. Over the past 20 years, he has used his First 90 Days® methodology to help leaders make successful transitions, both in his teaching at IMD, INSEAD, and Harvard Business School, where he gained his PhD in decision sciences, as well as through his private consultancy practice Genesis Advisers.


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