Hybrid working is here to stay and is shifting from a model of 90+% remote to a more balanced mix of time spent in the office vs time remote. As a result, there is a push to video enable more and more of our meeting spaces to access the full potential of platforms like Microsoft Teams and Zoom in the workspace.
This post highlights three steps you can take to ensure you create a consistent, high-quality experience in the spaces where you are implementing Microsoft Teams Rooms solutions.
One of the most compelling aspects of platforms like Microsoft Teams is the ability to offer all users a consistent and familiar experience that fits neatly into their workflow. As that usage moves from the laptop-driven experience of the home into the office’s meeting spaces, we must retain that familiarity and ease of use.
That means we must provide consistency in how the platforms are accessed and the quality of experience. To achieve that, we have to think about both the technology and the room environment together.
You will see many room-in-a-box solutions presented by manufacturers (Microsoft suggests solutions based on room size, for example), and these are a great starting point. But, as the song goes, it’s not how you start, it’s how you finish. And, to achieve the best ‘finish’ - the best user experience from your investment in those technologies, you have to look at the context. In this case, the setting.
The room environment can significantly impact the way we experience video and audio. The surfaces, furniture, and layout of a room can dramatically affect how the technology in a “small” meeting space will behave. One small meeting room can feel very different to another small room; the same is true regardless of size. You will have probably seen it in your existing offices; there always tends to be one meeting space more popular than others or one used only as a last resort.
You can do some simple things to create a consistent, high-quality experience in the rooms you are video-enabling. Here are three suggestions.
Having a clear idea of how you will use your space will help your integration partner select the best technology to wrap around your collaboration platform. The solution can then be built to prioritise how you want to use that room and create a natural experience for room users.
The size, surfaces, light levels, layout of the room will all impact how we experience the technology installed within the space. Size of space is a starting point but not enough to ensure you pick the right solution to get the most out of your investment.
There are standards that a quality integrator will follow to ensure that the specification and positioning of your camera, displays, microphones and speakers are optimised to create the best experience for those in the room and, crucially now, those joining remotely. Greg Jeffreys, former AVIXA Chairman offers some interesting insight on these standards here.
A space first, tech second approach doesn’t mean that you can’t standardise across your office estate. For example, if you’ve settled on Microsoft Teams, there is an extensive and expanding range of peripherals and solutions certified by Microsoft. Your integrator will be able to work with you to select the best option for each space while maintaining a consistent user experience.
Now is the time to equip our meeting spaces to gain the full benefit of hybrid working and platforms such as Microsoft Teams in our workspaces.
Employees want the flexibility of hybrid working and organisations that provide the facilities to support flexible working approaches will reap the benefits.
Get in touch if you would like to talk to a team member about matching Microsoft Teams Rooms Solutions to the specific needs of your workplace and how to video-enable your meeting spaces to create high-quality, consistent experiences across your organisation.