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In many parts of the world, it’s back to the office for local government workers after months of working from home. It’s scary for some. A relief for others. But despite the return to some semblance of normality, social distancing constraints still apply. That means meetings where colleagues once sat shoulder-to-shoulder now need to be rethought. 

According to Kevin Smith, UCANZ Sales Director for Integrated Systems at Shure: “Many people are keen to return in the future and there’s a real need to work together. But there are going to be changes, and organizations will have to ensure workspaces are sufficiently equipped and sufficiently flexible to cope with this.” 

In our earlier article on this topic, we looked at how remote working looks set to remain a feature of modern local government. Now, we consider how to make social distancing in the workplace a success. While social distancing requirements will (hopefully) be relaxed at some time in the future, it’s also possible that ‘keeping a safe distance’ may become the norm. 


Enabling the democratic process 

So, how will local government manage the socially-distanced return to work and ensure that the council and committee meetings so vital to the democratic process are conducted safely? Recognizing the importance of ensuring every voice can be heard, no matter how far apart participants are sitting. 

This latter possibility is being viewed as one way to conduct meetings. As is the use of space outside a local government organization’s own offices, such as gyms or school halls, which are typically much larger. To make this feasible, however, all the necessary agendas, delegate management and voting rights that are standard in a larger local government meeting will need to be enabled. 

One of the most important considerations is audio quality. After all, when there’s important information to share, precision and reliability are essential. Anything less than total clarity impedes decision-making. 


Six Steps to Socially Distant government meetings 

At Shure, we’ve identified six requirements for making communication in local government meetings effortless, while adhering to social-distancing demands: 

  1. High-quality audio capture and reinforcement to convey everyone's point of view, no matter how far apart they are sitting. 
  2. Inherent security and confidentiality, with wireless encryption to safeguard meeting content. 
  3. Flexibility to conduct meetings outside of cramped, local council offices to maintain safe distance between participants, such as in local schools, hotels, gyms, and other larger venues. 
  4. Easily installed (and removable) conference microphone systems to support off-site meetings. 
  5. Meeting management tools to maintain the democratic process and procedures, regardless of the location. 
  6. Ease of use, with a consumer-like user experience enabling people unfamiliar with the technology to quickly get up and running. 

Whether on-site, off-site, or in multiple small rooms, local government meetings, committees and debate are essential to the smooth running of our communities. With the right audio and conferencing equipment, conducting these meetings at a safe distance and with great sound quality can be fully realized.   


Find out more about Shure’s collaboration and conferencing solutions for Local government organizations. 

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