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Space Matters: Designing Work Environments That Work For People

Posted by Ashley Jones on Nov 28, 2017 11:07:00 AM

The proliferation of conferencing and collaboration technology has changed the way we think about space. With a video solution like Prime Call Cloud UC, anyone with a computer or mobile device can connect to anyone else with a computer or mobile device, no matter where they are. Physical space basically vanishes--you are in the virtual realm, where geography doesn’t matter.

But here’s the thing: we all still have bodies. We still exist in physical space as our interactions play out in a virtual world. Until someone figures out how to upload our brains to the cloud, we will have to think about how our office spaces facilitate or hinder productivity and innovation. A company can invest hundreds of thousands of dollars in top-of-the-line video conferencing and collaboration technology, but if people feel alienated or crowded or lonely in the work place due to design and layout flaws, work will suffer.

Work place design in the 21st century revolves around one problem: how do we best accommodate the changes in how and where we work? Which is to say: how do we work with the changes created by digital technology? Employees are no longer chained to their desks. In fact, many employees might not even come to the office most of the time. Wi-fi is everywhere. Wherever there is an electrical outlet, someone can plug in and get to work.

In short, the office of today is defined by flux and flow and flexibility. Embrace it. Channel it. Use it.

A recent survey by architectural firm Gensler found that 30% to 40% of a person’s day involves solo work. At the same time, Gensler found that more innovative companies were five times more likely than less innovative companies to have spaces that accommodate collaboration. So you have to address the problem of design on two fronts. You must provide people with spaces that offer solitude while also opening up spaces for people to gather and collaborate.

You can get the best of both worlds by transforming some of your smaller rooms into huddle rooms. These are minimally equipped spaces that can fit up to a half-dozen people but that don’t have permanent residents. Think of them as multi-purpose spaces that can be used for private phone calls, last-minute brainstorming sessions or focused solo work.

Since you want your huddle rooms to be as many things to as many people as possible, you’ll want to equip these spaces with unobtrusive but powerful collaboration solutions, something like Polycom RealPresence Trio, a modestly sized collaboration hub that offers crystal clear voice calling as well as device pairing for content sharing. With the addition of a USB camera, users can also access video features. It is not the kind of massive video set-up you would find in a proper conference room, but this isn’t a proper conference room. This is a room where people can work in whatever way feels right for them.

If you’d like help designing work spaces that will work for you and your teams, we can get started on that right away. Please contact us with any other questions about implementing AV solutions in your offices and beyond. If there is anything else you’re looking for, use our Advanced Search tool to find it.

 

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