The modern workplace has come a long way since the days of 9 to 5, when turning up at the office was the only way to imagine things getting done. Hybrid working has helped to dispel the argument that being present is the same as being productive - and with the innovative conference room technology available today, there's practically no argument at all.
It's estimated that managers in any organization spend 35% - 50% of their time in meetings, yet a good proportion of this time ends up being unproductive.
What's intended to be an efficient way for people to come together, discuss ideas, drive outcomes, troubleshoot and brainstorm, often becomes a waste of valuable time, with ideas quickly disappearing into the ether and no outcome at all.
Image source: The Muse
So how do organizations overcome this lack of positive outcome and boost productivity in the conference room - and in the workplace in general?
The anatomy of a bad meeting
Meetings interrupt productive work, and when run poorly, meetings can drain people’s energy. At the same time, meetings can also give people the information they need to keep work productive and motivational, driving decisions and mutual accountability. So how do organizations find the balance?
As mentioned, much of the time spent in the meeting room is wasted, and executives view more than 67% of meetings as non-productive. Technical issues with conference room equipment and conference room setup can impact productivity by causing delays and throwing discussions off-course.
Issues like double-booked meeting rooms, lack of adequate space, incompatible video conferencing equipment and poor, unstable internet connections are disruptive and costly. The U.S. Bureau of Labor reports that $37 billion is lost annually to poorly structured meeting environments.
Conference room equipment: An engine room of productivity
If meetings are supposed to be a vehicle of productivity in the workplace, then it's the conference room equipment within your meeting room that is the engine.
There are several ways to make meetings more productive, and in this blog, we'll discuss how and why workplace technology is a huge factor in the success of every meeting.
The right workplace technology can help eliminate the logistical challenges of running meetings, making them more operationally efficient, collaborative and productive. First let's look more closely at the factors that can cause meetings to be unproductive in the first place, and the conference room technology trends that are helping fix the problems.
Outdated conference room equipment
Organizations need to consider the time cost of outdated conference room tech. Up to date technology, ease-of-collaboration and efficient booking methods all contribute to the success of each meeting in your office. Faulty video conferencing technology like wireless presentation systems or conference room display equipment that doesn't work as it should, can severely impact an organization's progress.
Although many companies put off updating the technology in their conference rooms, it should not only be a priority, but an ongoing endeavor.
Reduced collaboration equity
Collaboration equity is a relatively new addition to the workplace vernacular that's used to describe the extent to which a team can communicate and contribute equally, no matter where they are or whether it's from personal devices or static office equipment.
True collaboration equity allows remote workers to access all the meeting room technology necessary to do their jobs from home, whether that's to take part in a video conference, screen sharing, use mobile devices, access a digital whiteboard, or communicate separately with other meeting participants in real time. Outdated legacy systems often prohibit collaboration equity.
For example, team members in different time zones may not be able to attend every meeting, so a valuable piece of conference room equipment could be to have access to a meeting recording feature and/or transcripts so that those teammates can catch up on what they missed on their own time.
Incompatibility with new technologies
Many legacy conference room systems are not compatible with contemporary meeting room tech like smartphones and tablets and also require the use of specific operating systems for full functionality.
This means that when trying to make a call; there’s a high probability that your device may not be compatible with the one you’re trying to reach.
In the hybrid workplace, vendor-locked systems are incompatible with the flexibility required to sustain remote working models. A survey conducted by AV Magazine found that Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) and Bring Your Own Meeting (BYOM) solutions are the technologies being purchased/sold most, to help employees collaborate effectively in the office and at home.
How video conferencing can improve meeting effectiveness
The only way for modern and innovative businesses to grow and globalize is to build and maintain quality relationships with partners, suppliers, internal teams, investors and customers.
Traditionally, this was a costly and time-consuming undertaking, requiring extensive travel to attend meetings, and often impacting the productivity of management level staff.
During the pandemic of course, travel was not possible, so to maintain business continuity and preserve relationships, video conferencing became the new normal for meetings. Instead of corporate boardrooms, home offices became global meeting rooms and thanks to conference room technologies, businesses could carry on.
Video conferencing tech has enabled the success of the hybrid workplace model by boosting productivity, saving time, reducing travel expenses, and promoting collaboration.
What makes a productive meeting?
Productive meetings come from the marriage between quality technology and well planned, consistent meeting habits. Video conferencing technology has been a key enabling factor in improving business relationships and reducing the time required to complete projects.
For a hybrid workplace model to work effectively, a major factor is the use of technology and IT systems that allow employees to communicate and collaborate whilst working in different locations. This can only happen if there are solutions to enable it.
Collaboration in the conference room
Today’s conference rooms must be sanctuaries that nurture a hybrid-friendly working environment to allow teams to work and collaborate seamlessly no matter where they are located. A video conference call enables on-site and off-site meeting participants to work together using video conferencing software and equipment, allowing remote attendees to feel like they’re physically present, even if they’re halfway across the globe.
Multi-tasking and real time collaboration
The word multitask was adopted as business jargon to describe modern work habits. While the verb is perfectly apt for computers, where CPUs can execute multiple processes concurrently, it is less apt for people. Neurologically, humans cannot do more than one thing at a time effectively, and attempting to do so can negatively affect productivity. Video meetings can help encourage productivity by using interactive display to return the focal point to those in the conference room in real time.
Conference room equipment that boosts productivity
Conference room technology should allow users to call, conference, text, and share files all from any device. If correctly set up, the right conference room equipment will better the performance of staff and business by enhancing collaboration and improving productivity. Here are some of the most important elements of an efficient conference room, and how they enhance productivity.
Image source: ViewSonic
Digital whiteboards are important for content sharing, collaborating creatively and brainstorming. Interactive whiteboards allow meeting participants to deliver presentations, share annotations, documents, photos, and interact with others across devices.
Wireless presentation system
Conference room technology should support meetings, empower people, and provide a better work experience, and wireless presentation systems allow multiple presenters to easily share information with no time wasted when switching between presenters. They allow flexibility, are intuitive and user-friendly, and require minimal setup and cost.
Good quality display screen
Displays are the 'visual' part of conference room audio visual, and your screen is one of your main collaboration tools. The display enables you to see colleagues in other locations, view presentations, and screen share from laptops, tablets and smartphones.
Companies like Samsung, Sharp, and NEC have all developed state-of-the-art displays to fit a variety of needs. 4K UHD is now the standard in display technology, but a display alone doesn’t necessarily mean a 4K UHD image. The bandwidth and content can all impact image quality.
Conference room scheduling software
Robust, user-friendly conference room scheduling software helps to streamline and simplify the process of reserving meeting space in conference rooms. This saves time reduces double-bookings and other scheduling errors as well as updating participants if there are any changes to the meeting time, location or agenda. Keeping people on schedule means they can do their best work with minimal interruption.
A control panel is important to conference room design and video conferencing success, as it acts as your control center for the whole conference room audio visual system.
The user interface on the control panel is critical. It should be easy for users to get in the conference room and connect to video calls or launch presentations and allow transition from a screen-sharing presentation to video conferencing, all with a single touch.
Good sound quality
Microphones and speakers are an important consideration for an effective, high quality conference room experience.
High quality microphones and speakers can help make more productive meetings and enhance productivity and the overall conferencing experience. The right setup can reduce echo, feedback and other noises for conference participants.
Monitoring and troubleshooting your conference room technology
Collaboration spaces are essential components of modern workplaces, with hybrid ways of working increasing the need for more flexible collaborative spaces outside the typical meeting and conference room.
IR's Collaboration Space Management solution enables proactive monitoring and remote management of all conferencing-enabled collaboration spaces from a single vantage point. This includes all collaboration platforms, equipment and devices, to create a seamless, cohesive collaboration experience for users.
Proactive monitoring and management are essential to ensure Quality of Service, and optimize user experience. Without monitoring, organizations are essentially 'flying blind' with their entire UC environment.
The failure of just one component of your communication equipment can lead to poor quality connection and downtime, as well as a bad experience for users, which directly impacts your bottom line. Here's what our Collaboration Space Management solution can offer:
Remote UC & End-Point Management
Control, configure and test UC platforms and video communication devices
Remotely conduct software/firmware updates
Automate space readiness for users
Monitoring of Collaboration Spaces
Advanced monitoring, alerting and troubleshooting of video communication devices and UC tool issues.
Actionable, intelligent insights into space usage, and voice and video quality.
Multi-vendor, Multi-technology Visibility
Support for all UCaaS Rooms platforms including Microsoft Teams Rooms, Zoom Rooms, Webex Rooms.
Support for all device manufacturers including Jabra, Poly, Logitech, and many more.
You can improve your organization's productivity and maximize meeting time by ensuring that the technology in your collaboration space is always meeting-ready.
You can improve efficiency and scalability by leveraging automation and remote management to reduce manual processes and overcome physical access limitations when supporting users and devices.
And you can understand how and when tools in your collaboration spaces are being used, giving you the means to support and manage them effectively
Find out more about how IR's Collaborate suite of monitoring and performance management solutions can add value to your organization and increase productivity. Get a demo