Category AV in Meeting Spaces

Four Benefits of Activity-Based Work Spaces

We want flexibility in how and when we work. When we’re at the office, we expect to have the tools to do our jobs efficiently and to the best of our abilities. That sometimes means being able to rely on one another’s knowledge as we work through projects. It also means being able to exchange that knowledge in ways that engage us and feel comfortable.

Activity-Based Work Spaces and the Technology That Supports Them

When you have a variety of activity-based spaces, you enable people to work with one another using tools that facilitate collaboration. And that capability can build a strong team culture. Just a few of the activity-based spaces we find at work include conference rooms, huddle rooms, ideation spaces, and quiet rooms. Depending on their size and purpose, these areas may have solutions like BYOD web conferencing, interactive displays, digital signage, and wireless presentation and content sharing.

In AVI-SPL’s white paper on multigenerational teams, you’ll find a helpful chart that shows how seven types of technology solutions can be applied across seven room types. Here’s a sneak peek:

Activity-based spaces chart

Benefits of Activity-Based Work Spaces

Meetings can be about what has been done, what could have been done better, and planning for upcoming projects. A lot of meetings — perhaps yours as well — follow this format. Activity-based spaces encourage productivity; they are places to do the tasks that are usually on the to-do list following a meeting that’s long on talk and short on action.

And when you have a variety of activity-based spaces, you enable everyone in a workplace to gather in groups, work one-on-one, and alone. Some of their benefits include:

  • Giving different generations the spaces where they feel comfortable working.
  • Encouraging collaboration. Bring people together, and you create a environment for innovation. 
  • Empowering people to be more productive because they have the resources — including colleagues and technology — to work effectively.
  • Attracting and retaining talent. Give people the tools and culture they need to work at their best and grow into their positions, and you’ve created a workplace where people want to be.

Activity-Based Work Spaces Close the Generation Gap

AVI-SPL’s white paper “Building an Inspiring Digital Workplace for Multigenerational Teams” explains the differences in collaboration, communication, and work-space preferences among different generations. And it shows how activity-based spaces meet the needs of boomers, Gen X, millennials, and Gen Z, whether they prefer video conferencing, working face to face, or collaborating in groups.

You’ll learn how you can create a collaborative environment that works for everyone as you gain insight into the kind of work spaces and technology that can bring the generations together and foster teamwork. 

Get your copy of “Build an Inspiring Digital Workplace for Multigenerational Teams” >

Q&A on Flexible Workplaces and the Future of Work

 In the following Q&A with workplace solutions experts Dusty Duistermars, you’ll learn about changes in the workplace: what’s driving those changes and how companies can adapt. Dusty Duistermars is the senior vice president of digital solutions for JLL, which specializes in professional services in real estate.

Interview With Dusty Duistermars

Q: What is the flexible workplace and what makes it so attractive?
Duistermars: Technology — specifically, mobility — has been impacting where and how we work for over two decades. The flexible workplace is simply space that allows employees to work in non-traditional ways, including remote work, co-working and desk sharing/hoteling. Flex space is typically higher-tech enabled, allowing employees to reserve space based on the type of activity they’re performing and only for a limited duration. These activity-based working spaces include a variety of supportive technologies like interactive video conferencing and wireless sharing of content that can be annotated in real time by participants.

We can trace this to a couple of factors: millennials and technology. Millennials have grown up with the technology that allows them to be in touch with one another on a 24/7 basis. So it’s no surprise that they expect the same of their work environment.

Q: Are we at a point where people can say “no thanks” to a company that doesn’t offer them the experience and resources they need?
Duistermars: Absolutely. Due to the overall talent shortages, employees have options. They could also go freelance; we’ll see the gig economy double in the next five years. If employers are not leveraging their space as a differentiator to both retain and attract employees, they will ultimately fail.

Q: What does this shift look like from the company side?
Duistermars: It’s no longer about occupancy, it’s about utilization and productivity.

Q: So instead of permanent assignments to space, assignments to real-time usage?
Duistermars: Right. You might have 200 or more people assigned to a designated area (typically referred to as a ‘neighborhood’) that only has 100 desks, and that will work because they’re not there at the same time.

Q: To do this, don’t you need a culture that welcomes and supports people working in and out of the office?
Duistermars: Yes, and you can build that culture by making collaboration technology systems and spaces available to them. Focus groups, design partners, and IT will help figure out how flexible to go in those areas. They’ll also account for work types, as on-site engineers will require different types of space than say the national sales team who’s rarely at ‘their’ desk. The idea is that more personalization and flexibility add to the employee experience.

Q: Where are companies at with the move to flexible workplaces?
Duistermars: First off, this doesn’t happen overnight. There are multiple steps, including detailed change management and communication strategies that are needed to be successful. That being said, we see, on average, about 5-10% of client portfolios being flexible. It’ll grow to roughly 30% within the next five years.

Q: What will account for that increase?
Duistermars: Talent is driving a lot of this. Millennials want the flexibility. It also a much better cost model for employers. A dedicated space can cost employers on average, $10,000 annually. That’s a lot of money for someone who’s only in their seat about half the time. Thus, desk sharing makes business sense too.

Q: Let’s shift perspective to the IT side. As more spaces become flexible, how does that affect their management?
Duistermars: It makes managing those spaces a challenge if you don’t have the right tools in place. Some platforms are capable of managing numerous aspects of the ecosystem. Or if you’re using a point solution/best in class model, you’ll want to make certain that it’s integrated properly and that you’re getting the right data (typically utilization) out of each system and able to analyze holistically.

Q: How is JLL helping companies that need employees on site?
Duistermars: That’s a great question. Allow me to break this down: First, we involve our consulting and labor analytics group to make certain the company is choosing the right markets/locations based on the type of talent that they need.

From there, we help them create great spaces where employees want to be. We also lean on partners like AVI-SPL to make sure the experience from desk to meeting spaces is frictionless.

Q: What advice do you have for companies that haven’t yet bought into the idea of workplace transformation?
Duistermars: The only constant is change. If you’re not getting ahead of this by focusing on your people and your technology, you won’t need to worry about any of this in five years; your company won’t exist.

Webinar Recording: Creating a Customized Collaboration Space for Any Environment

Learn about the NEC solutions that are designed to improve collaboration between teams in the same workplace and across different locations.  During this on-demand AVI-SPL webinar, Chris Feldman, product manager for NEC Display Solutions, addresses:

  • Roadblocks to incorporating collaboration technology
  • NEC solutions for team collaboration, wireless presentation, and interactive whiteboarding
  • The collaboration challenges solved by NEC’s Mosaic Suite, CB Series, and InfinityBoard.

You’ll also discover how you can choose from NEC’s hardware and software options to create the collaboration solution that works best for your organization.

During the Q&A, Feldman addresses how to save work from a session, typical equipment and capabilities in a huddle room, and the best system to use in a classroom environment.

Get the recording for “Creating a Customized Collaboration Space for Any Environment” >

Webinar Recording: Devices That Improve Cloud Collaboration

In this session presented by Sherri Pipala, you’ll learn how Poly devices bridge the gap between platforms and how they ensure the best collaboration experiences for your users. You’ll also learn about:

  • The prevalence of UCC solutions in the workplace
  • What people expect out of their workplace meeting experience
  • Top three collaboration pitfalls and how to avoid them
  • Poly solutions for Amazon, Microsoft, and Zoom
  • How the AVI-SPL Symphony user experience application manages and monitors the Poly devices that drive your collaboration

Get the recording for “Why Devices Matter: Realizing the Full Potential of Your Cloud Collaboration Solutions” >

About the presenter
Sherri Pipala joined Polycom in 2008 and has held numerous sales leadership roles.  She currently leads the Poly Field Alliance Team, where she’s focused on alignment and joint solutions with Poly’s Strategic Alliances. Sherri has over 25 years of experience marketing and selling collaboration solutions and advanced services for the enterprise and global account markets.  She focuses on executive relationships, business development, and partner enablement to support the best solution engagements. Sherri brings a “voice from the field” perspective to ensure product solutions, marketing and support drive customer success.

How to Build Huddle Rooms That Increase Employee Engagement

Employee engagement is a crucial success factor for staff retention and company profitability. Gallup reports that “companies with highly engaged workforces outperform their peers by 147 percent in earnings per share.” Meanwhile, “87 percent of employees worldwide are not engaged.” What does this mean for you?

The challenge is on to create workplaces like huddle rooms that inspire collaboration and employee engagement.

How do you deliver a digital workplace where on-site and remote coworkers can easily connect and share ideas? Offer plenty of video-enabled huddle spaces for small, impromptu working sessions. Need inspiration? Follow this roadmap to build huddle rooms that increase employee engagement.

Create your huddle room success team

Start by creating a huddle room success team. Include stakeholders who support or will benefit from attracting and retaining top talent through employee engagement. Consider the desired huddle room user experience or UX, before you build or upgrade collaboration spaces.

  • It’s essential that the group represents the departments that hold the project’s purse strings too.
  • Consider huddle room build, design, video conferencing systems, support, and software budgets.
  • The team may consist of C-Suite members, end users, human resources managers, workplace strategists, IT staff, and facilities managers.

Define employee engagement benchmarks and goals

Next, define what successful engagement looks like by identifying benchmarks and setting goals. Example benchmarks include average employee tenure and current conference room utilization and the number of video meetings booked each month. 

Third-party focus groups and one-on-one interviews can also help you define current engagement levels and collaborative workspace preferences. Now set goals based on how much you want to improve these metrics each quarter, or annually after you’ve installed your huddle rooms. 

Develop a huddle room video adoption plan

Beautiful huddle rooms outfitted with the latest digital workplace solutions won’t necessarily increase employee engagement if your small collaboration spaces sit empty. Before the team starts construction, write a video adoption plan to encourage huddle room utilization.

  • The adoption plan should include employee training and a way to measure room and technology use.
  • Staff must know how to reserve huddle rooms and use new video conferencing and collaboration tools.
  • It’s also helpful to identify an influencer at every level from executives to end-users to champion video adoption and encourage employee engagement.

Design a user-friendly huddle room

Ever have to wait 10 minutes for a video conference to start? To encourage video adoption and engagement, ensure that huddle room equipment is easy to use. Include equipment and software staff members prefer, and that IT can easily support. Refer to your research to review which collaboration tools staff members like to use.

You can track current conference room usage via existing support software, or your scheduling system such as an Outlook calendar. Look at which rooms employees reserve most often. Study what type of video conference equipment is in your small meeting rooms.

Also, track how many employees were in the room and the number of remote employees that logged in to each meeting. Use this information to determine how many huddle rooms you need, and the room sizes that work best for your teams. Consider how to support bring your own device (BYOD) preferences when designing your digital workplace.

Use Room Standards to Create a Replicable, Positive User Experience

Based on your research and goals, develop huddle room equipment and software standards. Your standards are a finite set of hardware and software options. Most importantly, stick to these guidelines when building new collaboration spaces.

With standardization, employees will be familiar with meeting room controls. End users can walk into any huddle room and start the meeting quickly and easily. Remember that meeting that took too long to start? Standards help eliminate wasted meeting time. Limiting available options can streamline the IT support process also.

Positive user and IT staff experiences can lead to increased video conferencing adoption and employee engagement. Ask for staff suggestions on how to make meeting room control more user-friendly too. Allow users to provide feedback anytime through apps or email.

Consider Huddle Room-Specific Devices and Software

The popularity of huddle rooms has sparked suppliers to create hardware and software specifically for use in huddle rooms. When outlining your room standards, consider these collaboration solutions designed specifically for small meeting spaces. Huddle room gear can be more affordable than hardware designed for larger areas. Streamlined collaboration solutions can also be installed faster than more complex systems.

Cisco WebEx® Room Kit Mini

Cisco’s WebEx Room Kit Mini huddle room solution is easy to install and use. It’s a single device includes the codec, speakers, microphone, and camera.  This Cisco hardware is ideal for teams of two to five people. It allows users to connect to laptop-based video conferencing solutions via a USB connection.

Barco Clickshare CS-100 Huddle

Barco’s Clickshare CS-100 Huddle wireless presentation system helps small teams collaborate with fast and easy screen sharing. Users can share content from any laptop, tablet or smartphone using the Clickshare app or button.


Monitor huddle room devices and track room utilization

Tracking the goals your team set at the start of your project is essential to measuring room utilization and employee engagement. AVI-SPL’s Symphony user experience application makes it easy to monitor global room and device usage on a single screen, from anywhere.

Symphony proactively monitors conference room equipment. Your staff can address issues before they negatively impact huddle room user experiences and employee engagement. If your IT resources are already strained, consider a managed services solution as well.

Keep in contact with end users and IT support

While you deserve to celebrate your huddle room success, don’t disband your team once your small conference rooms are in use. Review end-user feedback to find ways to improve the meeting room experience and increase room utilization rates.

With your huddle room utilization rates in hand, measure them against changes in staff turnover. Look for correlations between employee engagement via collaboration in huddle rooms, and longer employee tenure. Update your room standards as needed.

Get more huddle room planning ideas

Ready to get started? Check out the How to Create Inspiring, Collaborative Huddle Rooms guide for further details on how to build small collaboration spaces that increase employee engagement. Read ideas on how to determine the number of huddle rooms you’ll need and how to estimate costs. Download the huddle room guide now.

Subscribe to blog updates to get fresh digital workplace ideas delivered to your inbox.