Category Video Collaboration

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” >

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.

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How to Promote Video Collaboration in Your Workplace

As we use video conferencing systems more often in the workplace, we are working together to address challenges and complete projects. The use of video conferencing in companies of all types and sizes reflects a need to improve employee engagement and productivity.

To promote video collaboration in your organization, deploy user-friendly video conferencing systems in your meeting rooms. That’s one of the major takeaways from a new paper by Wainhouse Research, “Profiting From a Business Video Culture.” The study notes that end users consider video conferencing in a dedicated room essential to the workplace video experience.

This also holds true for those of you working in mid-market companies, where PC-based collaboration is the most common use of video conferencing. Forty percent of mid-market employees use video conferencing at their desktops on a daily basis. Think that would make room systems unnecessary or unwanted? Think again.

According to Wainhouse, the frequency of use leads to a better impression of video conferencing, with most respondents saying they would participate in it more often if it were available in dedicated rooms. 

Some major takeaways from the Wainhouse report:

  • Among those who attend video calls at least once a week, they prefer dedicated room conferencing over PC-based video calls.
  • The availability of room-based systems makes end users more likely to take part in video conferencing in other venues (huddle rooms, desktop, mobile).
  • Companies of most sizes overwhelmingly prefer video meetings in conference rooms

Room-based video conferencing systems mitigate the background noise and interruptions you have to deal with when taking calls you take at your desk. Other benefits include:

  • Trimming travel costs
  • Enhancing teamwork with internal and external stakeholders (colleagues, clients, customers, partners)
  • Attracting the talent that expects a collaborative culture 

If your company is like others, with a high percentage of PC-based video, you already have a solid foundation on which to build and extend these benefits across your organization. As you do your research and talk with potential service providers, you’ll want to make sure they can provide the same quality of meeting-room video collaboration you’d expect is afforded to the largest companies. That includes a consistent, positive user experience that promotes adoption. The services supporting that quality and your users must be global or nationwide in reach while also addressing the challenges of individual offices and ensuring that all locations are receiving consistent service. 

Read the Wainhouse Research paper as you consider an expansion of video conferencing that would improve productivity, employee engagement, and talent retention at your company. 

Download “Profiting From a Business Video Culture” >

Webinar Recording: Choosing a Wireless Presentation Solution

Get the recording of our webinar, “Choosing a Wireless Presentation Solution: Cut Through the Clutter.” During this event, Tom LeBlanc, editorial director of Commercial Integrator and My TechDecisions introduces the topic by asserting the value of collaboration in today’s work culture.
 
Lieven Bertier, director of go-to-market strategy and services, meeting experience, for Barco, then touches on topics like:
  • What makes a perfect meeting
  • Statistics based on surveys about business meetings
  • How to add value to meetings
  • What we need from our collaboration technology
  • Benefits to expect from collaboration meeting solutions
  • Barco ClickShare and its value as a wireless collaboration solution

Get the recording for “Choosing a Wireless Presentation Solution: Cut Through the Clutter” >