Don’t Overlook These 4 Hybrid Meeting Room Considerations
Even if your meeting rooms are already equipped for videoconferencing and hybrid meetings, it may be time to make them more welcoming and effective for both on-site and remote participants. There’s a lot you can do to refine hybrid workspaces and technologies to increase usage and create a better user experience.
And Canadian office workers mean business when it comes to flexible work, with 43% saying they would probably seek a new job if their boss demanded they go back to the office full time. So, as employers begin bringing people back part-time, it’s critically important that offices are reconfigured and re-equipped to be as welcoming and productive as possible.
Here are four important things you can do to elevate your meeting spaces.
Focus on Meeting Equity
Today’s workers expect to be included in meetings and be able to participate equally. Meeting equity ensures that meeting attendees all have equal opportunities to participate. Everyone wants to see and hear what’s happening in the meeting no matter where they are. If they’re attending remotely, they want to be heard and seen and not forgotten behind a presentation on a screen.
It’s challenging to achieve meeting equity in hybrid meetings because those in the office may be at a disadvantage. While remote workers each have their own camera, microphone, and loudspeaker on their desk or laptops, those in meeting rooms are sharing. Their faces may be much smaller on screen, their voices much further away, and it may be hard for them to hear.
Proper hybrid meeting technology can offer equal access to users at any location. Cameras need to capture everyone in the room and, ideally, focus on those presenting. Microphones need to pick up all seats in the room equally so everyone is clearly heard. And every participant needs ready access to the same chat, whiteboard, and other presentation features.
True hybrid meetings—which combine larger groups of people in meeting rooms with individuals working remotely—are new for almost everyone. And you may wish to consider advising employees about how to be more inclusive and inviting during meetings. You may even want to document standards and expectations for your organization.
Be Selective About Room Cameras
While quality audio is essential to hybrid meeting rooms, the right camera can enhance a space and the meetings it accommodates. If you want to step up your collaboration room game, look for cameras that provide meeting equity by automatically capturing and zooming in on speakers and presenters. Make sure cameras are placed to include everyone in the room. Look for features like autofocus, tracking, framing, and zoom. Beware of those that distort the room with a “fisheye” view.
A high-quality camera will give remote attendees who join via video conference a full picture of what’s happening in the room. A simple video bar may work depending on the size and shape of the room, while a pre-packaged video kit may work for rooms dedicated to Zoom, Microsoft Teams, or another platform. Or, an integrator can help you customize a solution.
Choose Meeting Technology for All Work Styles
Designing a hybrid meeting room for everyone means considering users with a range of preferences and experience levels, as well as those from all generations. While Millennials are more likely than other generations to say they’d seek a new job if they had to go to the office full-time, 62% of all workers say hybrid work has improved their work-life balance. Since a lot of employees want the same thing—hybrid work options—creating better spaces seems to be less about generational preferences and more about allowing flexibility of work styles.
When choosing technology, consider that there are users of every age who are tech-savvy and some who are tech-wary. Generally, users want meeting room technology that is intuitive and easy to use. To create the best user experience, consider that room users may prefer:
- Audio calls
- Video calls
- Traditional meeting spaces
- Hands-on collaboration
To accommodate everyone, in-room equipment should be as simple to use as possible. This may mean choosing plug-and-play devices, touch panel controllers, and integrated systems that offer one-button operation.
Consider Creating Engagement Spaces
The terms “meeting space” and “conference room” don’t quite capture the creativity and collaborative potential of modern “engagement spaces.”
The best thing about engagement spaces is that they’re not limited to a set of rigid and boring rules. They can include what users want and can be used for anything from communication and collaboration to ideation and 3D visualization. However, here are some of the features organizations are including in their spaces:
- Video walls
- Recording capabilities
- Virtual and augmented reality
- Analytics about room engagement
In today’s hybrid work reality, the key to a better user experience is designing spaces people want to use.
If you want to learn how to create spaces that offer more than the average meeting room, talk to a collaboration technology expert at Nationwide Audio Visual.