Why Creating Flexible And Fluid Office Meeting Spaces Is The Key To Hybrid Work Success
The great office return is on but many organizations are having to rethink the way they operate, look and function. Focus is on how to attract staff back into offices for parts of the work week and create a seamless experience for remote days. A new phase of workplace reinvention is underway based on flexible meeting spaces.
Almost every part of the office should now be prepared for more remote meetings across more rooms, to connect workers and external parties wherever they are based. It’s a key part of a new working ethos – where the creation of multipurpose areas helps deliver a seamless hybrid collaboration experience.
For me the pandemic changed everything and pushed organizations into unknown territory about how to keep operating with staff working remotely. Now there’s a new phase about how to bring people back into offices and how to define, nurture and promote a new working culture with more flexibility. It’s clear people don’t need to all be in the same location all of the time.
The key challenge is how do we make this new situation work with the permanent offices? They need to look different, make us feel different and attract staff back. Most importantly they need to support remote collaboration in many different spaces and for different purposes.
Open spaces and fluid environments are very important. This could be where staff gather for a coffee but also need to jump on a conference call with a remote colleague. Take the new Konftel Ceiling Mount Kit for example which enables speakerphones to be placed above, with all wiring hidden.
This new development provides an alternative to traditional desktop placement and addresses growing market demand for smarter and more flexible room configurations.
The kit dramatically improves room flexibility by providing cable and device-free desk set-up. You can move furniture and rearrange the room every day without any technology hassle. The ceiling mounted speakerphones also encourage more natural meeting behaviour, especially when linked with video cameras.
Hybrid is here to stay
Companies want their employees back in the office. But not full time. According to Frost & Sullivan’s ‘Future of Hybrid Work Investment Priorities for the Workplace and Video Conferencing’ report, 73% expect one quarter or more will WFH some days of the week.
This makes office redesign a high priority: shifting from plain technology-devoid spaces to vibrant, collaboration-rich environments. A growing need for more meetings and more meeting rooms is emphasized by 48% of companies building additional meeting spaces in their offices.
The report also reveals how transformational shifts will be shaped by three key areas.
- Current and future employee expectations
- The role of the office and its relevance
- The pace of digital transformation
Video penetration in meeting spaces is estimated to grow up to 5x by 2026 with conferencing/online meeting services the top must-have to facilitate productive remote work.
Just 9% of decision makers state their employees currently are either in the office full time or working remotely all the time. The remaining 91% are deploying hybrid work in some capacity and plan to continue doing so.
Collaboration technology remains at the heart of more flexible ways of working, based on high audio as well as visual performance and ease of use.
Another crucial investment consideration is the choice between dedicated in room PC-based meeting facilities or the Bring Your Own Meeting concept.
BYOM is where a user brings their own familiar laptop and starts a meeting with the app of their choice for full flexibility. With Konftel only one cable is required to connect to conference camera, speakerphone and screen.
In room PC-based solutions often feature a control pad and are already connected. These are simple to operate and a preference for many IT departments. Popular options are the preconfigured Microsoft Teams Rooms and Zoom Rooms. Our new Attach video kits are the perfect fit; a line-up of highly capable conference cameras and speakerphones, accompanied by a long USB cable for optimal audio placement. The kits work with all in room PC variants, for meeting rooms of all sizes.
With our two distinct lines of video kits with conference cameras, speakerphones and connectivity solutions, the perfect match is simple enough. We expect the balance between BYOM and in room PC options to eventually level off at 50/50.
It’s clear the physical office is more relevant than ever to bring people back together. More flexible and fluid meeting spaces are required to accommodate rising numbers of remote meetings in more diverse ways.
The building blocks of hybrid work continue to take shape. By seamlessly merging remote and in-office activities, companies have a unique opportunity to reinvent the way they do business, attract and retain the best talent and inspire a new working culture.
The workplace is evolving and the opportunity is huge, with a sufficient number of well equipped meeting rooms and flexible multipurpose meeting spaces the keys to hybrid work success.