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Butter - Imagining the Future of Hybrid Collaboration

Imagining the future of hybrid collaboration with Butter

The following excerpt is transcribed from The Future Of Now event that took place on 8 July 2021.

Key points

  • Collaboration online doesn’t have to be a struggle — technologically or socially.
  • Global team’s need for remote facilitation and hybrid collaboration is already here.
  • As the world changes, we need to keep up — you can get ahead of the curve with the right technological support and behaviours.




Butter is a tool built specifically for hosting engaging and interactive sessions as smoothly as possible. They focus on empowering facilitators and hosts by giving them all the tools they need in one place and engaging participants through intuitive features such as the speaker queue and emoji reactions to make everyone feel heard.

Ross Chapman

Head of Design at Obodo, a digital product studio leading UK start ups within a framework of Human-Centred Design, and an expert remote facilitator. He is one of the top people reimagining the future of remote collaboration and has helped bring Butter to the number one tool on Product Hunt.


Butter facilitates online communication by removing barriers and creating connection

Before 2020, relatively few people regularly engaged in live video meetings for work – and while these services initially saved the day, the downsides of virtual workspaces became apparent.

How do you keep people interested in what’s going on?

The physical separation provided by a screen can be isolating for some and exclude others who are less comfortable ‘on camera’.

Enhanced engagement and ease during collaboration are factors in pushes to return to the office. What happens when workers don’t want to return to the office, or your business has found success with a global team?

You make your virtual meetings better — more engaging, accessible, and smoother.


Making online meetings accessible and flexible

“I like the rule: if one person is remote, everyone is remote. Every session has a link to start with, every session is recorded, so if there is a problem you can come back to it.”
– Ross Chapman

When you lack technological skills, generally, you are at a disadvantage compared to your colleagues. But these skills have been growing exponentially faster and many people have been left behind.

By assuming every user has a certain tech proficiency, some companies can leave users in the dark and intimidated by this new piece of technology that they are now expected to use.

Lessen this exclusion by ensuring that flexible methods of interaction and contributing are available.

Ensuring that your online collaboration is accessible can be easy when flexible working is made possible through having high quality interfaces available on both phone and computer.

By integrating these systems, you enable people to show up in whichever form they need to. This type of accessible and integrative workspace is where the future of hybrid collaboration is going — it shouldn’t matter where you are but rather what you are doing.


Integrative and engaging systems that feel closer to real life than ever

Working online can create barriers because things like body language cues are less obvious online. By making an accessible meeting platform where people feel comfortable interacting, you can develop those interpersonal relationships.

For example, if video is not the best choice for a user, then using avatars and reactions can help bridge the gap between those on and off camera. This can also be done through the use of polls and easily facilitated break out rooms.

Using features like an on-screen agenda and a queue for speakers ensures that everyone feels heard and every topic is covered.

By going hybrid — with workers collaborating both remotely and in-office — you gain accessibility and diversity but potentially lose grounded connection. So, by creating a space where people from all over the globe can generate that connectivity you can minimise the cons and smooth the process. 


What have you changed your mind about in the last year in regards to remote work?

Ross: I’ve recognised that I work best with a remote team, because I like the work to speak for itself, rather than the drama around it of presentee-ism. … I think really, for remote work to happen with a team, you do need to get to know each other…that’s what’s changed for me. I didn’t realise that that was as important.

What’s most important to you in this next phase of work as we start to figure out hybrid collaboration, especially from a Butter perspective?

Chris Holm-Hansen (Butter): [To] not restrict our tool to be only used for certain types of situations and not usable for anyone else … levelling the playing field, and making the location of the people secondary.

What do you have more space for in 2021?

Ross: Making more time for time away from work.

Cheska Teresa (Butter): Setting personal boundaries … because life and work is so intermingled now.

Chris: Setting boundaries and being aware of when you switch from work mode to family mode.

Further reading

To see all our speaker book recommendations click here.


More about Butter:


About The Future Of Now series

Our goal at More Space For Light with The Future of Now (FON) series is to build a community of like-minded passionate professionals. We intend to bring together like-minded professionals to share, inspire, and explore new opportunities for growth. So you can discover new ways of working to bring back into your organisation.


More about the organisations connected to this event

  • morespaceforlight.com.au – A strategy and innovation consultancy specialising in both in-person and/or remote workshops, design programs and Design Sprints.
  • MURAL.CO – a remote collaboration whiteboard. With this platform you will supercharge your remote and in-person meetings and workshops.
  • hacker.exchange – a global education company that is supercharging the next generation of startups & leaders.
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