With the corona crisis forcing people to work from home, many businesses have adopted the philosophy that “work is an activity you do, not a place you go to”. This begs the question which purposes an office space will have to fulfill in the coming weeks, months and even years. Let’s have a look at the different types of physical workspaces and their optimal equipment.
Physical office spaces will always be necessary. The question is: will employees still want to go there to spend their day behind a screen? The answer to this question might be “no”, because the past few weeks have taught us that working from other locations is perfectly possible, too. Not commuting to work saves us a lot of travel and time. There are no colleagues around to distract you, so you can focus on your tasks better.
What will people still go to the office for? Will they only drop by for physical collaboration or mandatory face-to-face meetings? As these activities will take place in your office’s shared spaces, several types of collaboration, meeting and webinar spaces will be required.
If you already have these spaces available, you’re one step ahead of many businesses. Still, these spaces need to be equipped with the right technology to make the trip to the office worthwhile for your colleagues. Let’s take a closer look at some of the typical spaces your colleagues and external visitors will need in your office.
Your reception or service desk staff are your visitors’ first point of contact, which means they are also the first people to be exposed to physical contact. Setting up a virtual reception desk will enable you to offer the same service while keeping your employees’ safety in mind. Additionally, this new approach paves the way for innovative services you can implement in the future.
The huddle room’s popularity has been rising for years, because people started realising that many physical collaborations only involve a limited number of people. A small, practical room is the ideal environment to collaborate efficiently in small groups. The technological key ingredients for a good huddle room are a digital whiteboard, the possibility to share content (wirelessly) and audio/video conference tools to let people participate remotely (ad hoc or planned). An example of a great huddle room solution is the Microsoft Surface Hub 2S, which offers an all-in-one solution with the aforementioned ingredients and Teams, Skype for Business and other Microsoft or third-party applications. If you need other software as well, such as Zoom or other collaboration tools, there are plenty of possibilities to put together a custom-made huddle room. Setting up a huddle room is a versatile process that can fit any budget. This allows you to set up several spaces in your organisation at the same time, for example.
‘Traditional’ meeting rooms will still be necessary, because this is where you usually bring together larger groups of people (4-20 or even more) for physical meetings and interactive discussions. In these spaces, the possibility to share content (wirelessly) is fundamental. Interactive whiteboarding and the possibility to have external parties participate through Microsoft Teams and Zoom are essential as well. Technologically speaking, a modern meeting room should be equipped with 1, 2 or even 3 screens, the possibility to share content (wirelessly), interactive on-screen whiteboarding and integration with Microsoft Teams and/or Zoom and/or other virtual collaboration platforms.
Certain spaces in your organisation deserve some extra attention. In a boardroom, auditorium or lunch room, an Active Speaker Tracking camera setup can be necessary to properly record board meetings, all-hands company events and announcements in the best way possible and make them available virtually afterwards. During these digital events, you’ll need to deliver the same meeting experience to local and remote participants.
The future of training is about to change as well. The trainer will still be able to teach physical attendees in the training room, but trainings will also be attended by remote participants - and their experience should be of the same quality as if they were in the room. In this scenario, technological equipment plays a vital role to deliver the same experience to every participant in terms of audio, video, content and interactivity.
Conducting a webinar usually doesn’t take more than delivering a good audiovisual experience with optimised microphones, well-placed cameras and the possibility to add content to the webinar, such as videos, a presentation or a whiteboard. Combine all of this in a comfortable room with good acoustic properties and you’re all set to virtually share your announcements, visions and knowledge on a regular basis. Get the most out of this small ‘extra space’ and get started immediately in a budget-friendly way.
Of course, you’ll want to get as much use as possible out of the spaces mentioned above. That’s why it’s important to implement an efficient availability and reservation system. You could just visualise room availability and manage room reservations in your Outlook calendar, but we want to take things a bit further: with Digital Signage, you can visualise the available rooms in your office building itself. Every room can be reserved ad hoc, and you don’t even need a PC with Outlook to do it.
We understand that the points mentioned in this blog come with important decisions for your company. Xylos would be happy to assist you with developing the most optimal strategy and making the right choices.
Based on our extensive experience, we at Xylos have developed a plan to support you from A to Z through every phase of the process:
Together, we’ll make sure your company or organisation is ready to return to the ‘New Office’. Don’t hesitate to contact us. We look forward to getting to know you!
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