An important aspect in designing the future of work is to first understand the future workforce. By 2030, 75% of the global workforce will consist of millennials and Gen Z who are used to working together, sharing knowledge, and collaborating, and without a doubt, they’re digitally dexterous.
With various countries experiencing a slowing economy, every employee in the workforce must create value for the company in whatever role they play. A study by Gartner revealed that employees are 16% more productive and 30% more attracted to their company when they’re satisfied with their physical workspace.
More than 35% of employees shared that they waste more than 2 to 5 hours per week on virtual meetings, without any output. Hence, meeting rooms at physical workplaces play a vital role in the productivity of any company. From providing an incredible first impression in front of your customers to offering personal focus rooms, so one can concentrate on important work, meeting rooms vary in assorted sizes such as small, medium, or large rooms offering diverse use cases – team huddles, executive meetings, town halls, employee onboarding, etc.
Let’s look at two examples of meeting rooms. And try to address what’s missing.
Scenario 1: Imagine you’re hosting a partner at your workplace. You reserve a meeting room. The partner arrives at your office, and you start a discussion in the meeting room. Your partner requests you to share the meeting invite with one of his colleagues so she can join remotely. You share the meeting invite, and now you and the remote participant are in the meeting using your laptop. But your remote participant can neither see nor listen to you guys. Nor anyone in the meeting room can hear or see her.
Scenario 2: Imagine one of your large customers sends you a meeting invite to discuss a transformation solution you proposed to them. You want to provide the best experience to the customer. When you reach the meeting room you find that the video device in the meeting room supports a different meeting platform than the one shared by the customer. Frustrated, you decide to join the meeting from your laptop.
What is missing in both scenarios? The answer to me is employee experience and productivity.
A legacy meeting room can often lead to a bad employee experience and low productivity. This is because employees can collaborate in the room but cannot be creative with legacy solutions.
They would not be able to digitally save and re-use the wireframing done for a new product UI or share content and thoughts to remote participants on a new product idea efficiently when the room only offers a projector without a video conferencing device with microphones and speakers.
Elements of a Creative Meeting Room
Creative meeting rooms should be equipped with efficient, innovative yet intuitive solutions for people to meet, communicate and collaborate.
Though not a direct element plays a very important role in employee experience. One study shows that more than 70% of meetings involve two to four people, but 53% of meeting rooms are built for a capacity of seven or more people. Designing workspaces based on requirements such as for one-to-one discussions or a team huddle helps in leveraging existing real estate effectively. It is recommended to have more huddle and focus rooms than large rooms.
Room Booking Solution
An effortless and efficient mechanism to book a meeting room of choice based on requirement not only help in better managing the meeting rooms but also provides insights on room usage for businesses to take informed decisions on capacity management. For ex- enabling sensor-based meeting room booking will allow businesses to understand the behavior of employees, the ratio of meeting rooms pre-booked vs ad-hoc reservations, or the ratio of participation vs ghost meetings, etc. Policy enforcement can be done to release room booking in case of a no-show.
Room devices: Interoperable is the “mantra” for room devices. Meeting rooms require devices that can join meetings from any meeting provider and equip with features like voice-activated meeting controls, intelligent framing, and background noise suppression. The right device in any business use case can elevate the experience, for ex- having an all-in-one digital whiteboarding device in a huddle space is great for quick brainstorming while a customized setup of good speakers, microphones, and cameras with A/V mixtures in a large training room enhances training experience.
Virtual room assistants: In the world of “Siri” and “Alexa” and now GPT, employees need virtual assistants in meeting rooms to help reduce time consumed in meetings, the saved time can be utilized for priority work or some creativity. Virtual assistants can capture meeting notes, highlight important actions or key takeaways, provide real-time translation and transcription of meetings so no one is left behind and equally participate in conversations.
Room Device Management and Monitoring: Transparent IT is the need of this era where there should be no or minimal involvement of end-users using meeting rooms. Next-gen monitoring solutions should be equipped with a feature to capture data of not only meeting call quality or meeting room hardware but also overall end-user experience in the room, for ex- did the user tried to join the same meeting multiple times from the room, was their frequent meeting disconnections, was end user able to share content on first go, etc. Management of meeting room devices involves automated business workflows like device procurement, deployment, inventory management, and decommissioning integrated with ServiceNow for reducing the administrative burden of IT teams.
As per studies, geographical proximity leads to creativity because the ‘tacit’ character of knowledge requires face-to-face interaction hence employees tend to be more creative when they are in the same physical workspace than at a virtual meeting.
With that said, meeting rooms can be a facilitator or a hurdle of creativity at the workplace, hence organizations should aim at having meeting rooms and elements that are employee-centric and fosters creativity.
HCLTech’s MRaaS offering caters needs of end users, IT, and business leaders by providing
- Enhance meeting room experience and foster a creative environment for end users
- Reducing the daily workload and administrative burden of the IT team
- Take away capex cost and value realization worry of business leaders
Employees have been collaborating over virtual meetings during the pandemic, however, they realized not all collaboration led to creativity. So clearly, if the output is collaboration, then the outcome must be creativity, hence companies must aim for modernizing meeting rooms for creativity and not just collaboration.