Pesto Blog

Include your Remote Team with “Brady Bunch” Video Conferencing

Doug Safreno
Doug Safreno
Nov 21, 2019 - 3 min read
Include your Remote Team with “Brady Bunch” Video Conferencing

Update: If you're interested in learning more, check out this PHD work by Banu Saatçi - she comes to similar conclusions with a scientific approach. Thanks for sharing Banu!

It’s hard to level the playing field between remote and in-office teammates.

Teams especially fail to include remote teammates during "mixed" video conferencing, when some teammates are in a conference room. Remote teammates can't participate in side conversations and have a hard time injecting their questions and thoughts at the right moment.

At Gitlab and General Catalyst's "Making Remote Work" conference, we were fortunate to see several thought leaders discuss how they make meetings more inclusive to remote teammates.

Ian Tien (CEO of Mattermost) introduced the concept of "Brady Bunch" video conferencing. Each person in the meeting room uses their own laptop's video camera, rather than relying on the room video camera. As a result, everyone can see each other's face the same way.

This helps remote workers feel more included in many ways.

Visual Equality

Everyone is visually equal - all participants see each other in the same way. This feeling of equality makes remote teammates more likely to contribute, and in-office teammates more likely to be inclusive.

Everyone is equal - even if Allison and Minnie are in the same office

Side Conversations

In traditional meetings, side conversations frequently emerge, often as things get off track. But remote employees can't engage in side conversations without it sounding off to everyone over the conference room speaker.

If people are paying attention to different speakers, you probably have a side conversation. Remote workers will only get the gist of one conversation.

Forcing Brady Bunch displays the side conversations. This helps remote employees gain context. It also helps the meeting stay on track - in-office employees feel more reluctant to engage in side conversations that are out-of-scope if everyone will partake in them.

Social Cues

One of the hardest things about talking to a conference room full of people as a remote employee is that it's hard to see everyone's faces. This makes it difficult to read social cues, making it more likely for remote teammates to accidentally say something at an awkward time. In practice, remote teammates just speak less on calls to reduce the risk of derailing the meeting.

How would the remote teammate insert themselves if this was their view of the meeting?
In practice, remote teammates just speak less on calls to reduce the risk of derailing the meeting.

With Brady Bunch, it’s easy to see everyone's faces and thereby read social cues, so that the remote teammates feel more comfortable jumping in at the right moment.

Reduce Cost

Requiring Brady Bunch conferencing can also save cost - there’s no longer a need for all of the expensive conferencing equipment!

What's Next

Pesto is a video conferencing service that is inclusive to remote teammates. Pesto not only enables Brady Bunch video conferencing, it shows your other teammates who is meeting, building closeness and trust across all members of your distributed team.

Try out Pesto today - it's free!

Remote Work Trends According to US Census Data

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Vivek Nair
Vivek Nair
Nov 1, 2019 - 6 min read