Too often meeting room design is done on a budget and not with productivity in mind. Today, as hybrid work and collaboration is firmly introduced in corporate life, room design becomes even more vital to increase efficiency and ensure an equal level of participation for all employees in hybrid meetings, no matter where they are. What should organizations keep in mind when (re)designing a meeting room for hybrid video collaboration?
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"Building facilities, CTO’s and organizational teams need to get together and optimize the meeting experiences, because it’s costing businesses so much money. Often meeting rooms are done on a budget, rather than thinking about the productivity, efficiency and the great culture and inspiration they create."
Matt Chadder, CEO and founder of Instinct laboratory stresses the importance of office (re)designs. A meeting room can be set up, equipped and decorated to make the people in that room more collaborative, creative and interactive. Playing with geometry (e.g. round tables) , lighting, temperature, air quality and adding the right furniture and tech tools (on the exact right locations) can have a profound impact on how people communicate, deal with conflict, cooperate, interact and collaborate.
Oh no, some people are not in the room!
When bringing in remote participants to your hybrid meetings, the concept creation of meeting spaces becomes even more complex. In video meetings people suddenly become very self-conscious, meeting dynamics change and surroundings play a large role. Better collaboration is no longer about just productivity, interactivity or time efficiency, it is also about creating high-quality, life-like video and audio experiences and giving everyone an equal share of voice, both inside and outside the room.
“Before, meeting room designs were very in-room centric, with a use case of only 10% of attendees that are not present in the room. Today that percentages goes up to 79% on average. There is no one room design that fits all, as these percentages keep on changing.”
Scott Walker, President of Waveguide LLC, underlines the importance of the right ecosystem design for video collaboration spaces. Employees have been living meeting equity the past two years being away from the office, now with the return to the office they are suddenly faced with meeting inequity. The right room design and ecosystem can help counter that feeling of inequality for remote users.
Some very practical room design tips to solve inequity
People go to the office to meet, socialize and collaborate. And yet there will always be one or more remote participants in these meetings. Here are some practical tips to design equitable meeting spaces that truly bring in the remote participant.
• Is everyone seen?
- Position the room display for the best camera angles. Place it a bit higher and the camera just below, on eye-level
- Have multiple screens so you can separate remote participants (gallery views) from content
- Install AI-powered cameras zooming in on speakers
• Is everyone heard?
- Check the room acoustics
- Install decent microphones and speakers
- Benefit from AI features like voice recognition
• Always consider the complete room ecosystem
- Place furniture that suits the room size and optimal viewing of participants
- Foresee proper lighting, screens
- Integrate a whiteboard functionality or foresee a camera on a physical whiteboard
- Make the user experience wireless, seamless and automated
- Integrate a room booking system and digital signage
- Make requesting IT assistance easy
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As the standards for meeting room designs are different today, organizations should do more than just equip rooms with technology. They should look beyond the technology, think in use cases and consider the complete environment to create truly inspirational employee experiences.
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