In today’s new, more agile era, the role of the office is changing fast. These locations are increasingly seen as more of an occasional hub for meetings and more social activities, as opposed to a permanent base where employees can expect to spend all day, every day. As a result, the way people keep in touch and work together will also have to adapt to this new reality.

At the heart of this will be the unified communications and collaboration tools that make flexible and agile working a practical solution. Tools ranging from instant messaging to one-on-one video conferencing and full remote team meetings will play an essential role in keeping firms productive and innovative.

A new type of meeting format

But how we use these tools is changing, and this means many firms will need to take steps to ensure their audio-visual solutions are up to the challenge. For instance, while we’ve all become used to using the likes of Microsoft Teams or Zoom to host purely remote meetings during the recently required home-working, in the future, it’s likely that more meetings will have a mix of virtual participants with those who are physically present.

These hybrid meetings, where half of the attendees may be in the same room, with the rest dialling in remotely, will necessitate a change of thinking in order to ensure everyone can participate on an equal footing.

To avoid issues such as discussions being dominated by those in their room, who are better able to pick up on each other’s non-verbal cues, it’s essential those joining remotely can be seen and heard effectively. This may mean larger screens and stronger speakers to ensure there are no communication difficulties.

Reshaping the workspace - The future of AV in the office

Rethinking the design of your office to meet expectations

At the same time, it’s also vital that those who are at home can understand what is going on without difficulty, and this is an issue that’s often made worse by meeting room designs that aren’t optimised for the regular use of AV equipment.

For instance, one common problem is poor acoustics, especially if a room is prone to echoing or reverberations. This often isn’t a major issue for people who are in the room in close quarters, but it can make life very hard for remote participants as microphones have difficulty picking up and distinguishing a speaker’s voice from the background noise.

One of the biggest culprits of this is the trend towards glass-walled meeting rooms. Many offices have installed these features as they make rooms feel lighter and more pleasant places to be for in-person meetings. But these hard surfaces reflect sound very easily, making life difficult for those listening in remotely.

Therefore, any business that’s serious about agile working and the use of AV tools needs to take into account the physical design of their office as well as the technical requirements. Taking advice from an expert partner who can make recommendations on how to best optimise these spaces for remote collaboration as well as in-person meetings is therefore a must.

Learn more about the office of the future and what you’ll need to do to adapt to it in the White Paper: Reshaping the workspace: The future of AV in the office