How To Address Meeting Overwhelm in Hybrid and Remote Work

Andrea Piacquadio/Pexels

AI Meeting Assistants in Hybrid and Remote Work

The rapid shift to hybrid and remote work during the pandemic led to an explosion of virtual meetings. While meetings aimed to foster collaboration, they often created a sense of being overwhelmed which reduced productivity. As organizations settle into long-term hybrid and remote work arrangements, addressing meeting-overwhelm is a top priority, as I tell my clients who I help transition to hybrid work.

I spoke with Gil Makleff, Co-Founder of Sembly AI, and Michael Weis, Director Business Development of Speech Processing Solutions, about how artificial intelligence can help organizations and employees to better manage meetings.

The Promise and Pitfalls of Remote Meetings

Remote meetings expand access to candidates and talent. Organizations can hire from anywhere instead of just locally. Employees enjoy increased work-life balance without long commutes. However, virtual meetings also have downsides.

Makleff explained that "team cohesion is really important" in hybrid and remote work. Weis added that initially many organizations just told employees to "take your laptop and start working" from home. But productivity depends on having the right office setup, technology, and meeting etiquette in this new environment.

Using AI to Increase Meeting Productivity

AI-powered virtual assistants create meeting summaries, notes, and follow-ups. This reduces meeting fatigue and fear of missing out. Employees who miss meetings can quickly catch up on the key discussion points and action items.

Makleff gave an example of asking the AI assistant: "Give me the five key points from the meeting, write an email to my team, and do it in less than 180 words." The AI generated a concise summary and follow-up in minutes.

Integration into Existing Tools

Many organizations use dozens of apps and communications platforms like Slack and Microsoft Teams. Adding another app causes change management headaches.

Fortunately, the virtual assistant integrates into existing tools. As Makleff explained, "You don't even need to change your way of working when applying this new technology." For example, the AI can share meeting notes over Slack or add tasks to Microsoft Planner based on meeting Points discussed.

The Need for Protocols and Etiquette

While for AI augments meetings, organizations still need proper protocols and etiquette. Makleff noted that "governance is really important" when implementing these tools. Companies must decide on the type of meetings where the virtual assistant should be included and internal and external protocols for sharing meeting information including AI generated meeting notes.

Weis stressed that user education and transparency is key. The AI assistant must demonstrate efficiency gains, not just novelty. Organizations need "rules for joining a meeting or meeting culture." AI enhances human collaboration when introduced thoughtfully.

Continuously Improving Meetings

Makleff envisions meetings evolving from one-off events to continuous conversations. Participants can bookmark moments to revisit later or raise clarifying questions over collaboration platforms.

Weis agreed that the AI assistant improves information sharing and follow-up after meetings. This ensures everyone has the same level of knowledge.

The Cutting Edge of AI Assistants

Makleff noted generative AI like ChatGPT will allow assistants to summarize meetings with increasing sophistication. He foresees AI that magically adds meeting notes and follow-ups directly into the relevant apps in the user’s existing application ecosystem. 

Weis emphasized the importance of high-quality audio and voice recognition for AI transcription. He explained that Speech Processing Solutions provides the microphones and hardware for clear meeting audio. Sembly's AI generates meeting summaries from the audio transcripts.

The Future of Meetings

AI meeting assistants have moved from novel to necessary in the last two years. They help organizations and employees stay aligned and productive despite less face-to-face interaction.

With the right protocols and etiquette, AI can make meetings more inclusive and efficient. The collaboration between Speech Processing Solutions and Sembly AI shows the cutting edge of natural language processing applied to the workplace. Meetings will never be the same.

A perfect memory

Makleff commented that building your meeting cloud enables users to access a ‘perfect memory’ by using keyword search across meetings and perfectly ‘remembering’ conversations that happened months ago in minutes is important to many users. 

Weis shared that this can work across all platforms not only for large meetings but also for individual users using their Philips Voice Tracer technologies.

The openness of meeting assistants

Makleff shared that the ability to connect to zoom, Microsoft Teams and Google meet is an important feature in many organizations that have a Microsoft focus but still need to interact with suppliers or customers in other platforms like zoom and Google Meet.

Weis commented that this cross platform access is crucial to have open communication with both internal and external parties in the organization.  The ease of use is particularly important.


Key Take-Away

AI meeting assistants boost hybrid & remote work productivity with concise summaries, follow-ups & seamless tool integration. Crucial for managing overwhelm...>Click to tweet

Image credit: Andrea Piacquadio/Pexels

Originally published in Disaster Avoidance Experts on May 29, 2023

Dr. Gleb Tsipursky was lauded as “Office Whisperer” and “Hybrid Expert” by The New York Times for helping leaders use hybrid work to improve retention and productivity while cutting costs. He serves as the CEO of the boutique future-of-work consultancy Disaster Avoidance Experts. Dr. Gleb wrote the first book on returning to the office and leading hybrid teams after the pandemic, his best-seller Returning to the Office and Leading Hybrid and Remote Teams: A Manual on Benchmarking to Best Practices for Competitive Advantage (Intentional Insights, 2021). He authored seven books in total, and is best know for his global bestseller, Never Go With Your Gut: How Pioneering Leaders Make the Best Decisions and Avoid Business Disasters (Career Press, 2019). His cutting-edge thought leadership was featured in over 650 articles and 550 interviews in Harvard Business Review, Forbes, Inc. Magazine, USA Today, CBS News, Fox News, Time, Business Insider, Fortune, and elsewhere. His writing was translated into Chinese, Korean, German, Russian, Polish, Spanish, French, and other languages. His expertise comes from over 20 years of consulting, coaching, and speaking and training for Fortune 500 companies from Aflac to Xerox. It also comes from over 15 years in academia as a behavioral scientist, with 8 years as a lecturer at UNC-Chapel Hill and 7 years as a professor at Ohio State. A proud Ukrainian American, Dr. Gleb lives in Columbus, Ohio. In his free time, he makes sure to spend abundant quality time with his wife to avoid his personal life turning into a disaster. Contact him at Gleb[at]DisasterAvoidanceExperts[dot]com, follow him on LinkedIn @dr-gleb-tsipursky, Twitter @gleb_tsipursky, Instagram @dr_gleb_tsipursky, Facebook @DrGlebTsipursky, Medium @dr_gleb_tsipursky, YouTube, and RSS, and get a free copy of the Assessment on Dangerous Judgment Errors in the Workplace by signing up for the free Wise Decision Maker Course at

Disaster Avoidance Experts

Dr. Gleb Tsipursky is on a mission to protect leaders from dangerous judgment errors known as cognitive biases by developing the most effective decision-making strategies. A bestselling author, he wrote Never Go With Your Gut (2019), The Blindspots Between Us (2020), and The Truth Seeker’s Handbook (2017). His cutting-edge thought leadership was featured in over 400 articles and 350 interviews in Time, Fast Company, CBS News, Inc. Magazine, and CNBC. His expertise comes from over 20 years of consulting, coaching, and speaking and training experience as the CEO of Disaster Avoidance Experts, along with over 15 years in academia as a behavioral economist and cognitive neuroscientist. Contact him at Gleb[at]DisasterAvoidanceExperts[dot]com, follow him on Twitter @gleb_tsipursky, on Instagram @dr_gleb_tsipursky, and visit to learn more.

Follow us @ indiesourcemag