Our marketing specialist Alex discusses the impact the pandemic has had on our office spaces, and why having an adaptive workplace should be the way forward.
The workspaces of the future need to be the workspaces of right now.
With the masses returning to work in the next few weeks, there is a palpable tension in the air. The anxiety and confusion around what our ‘new normal’ will be is coming to its climax and the time to act is now.
Here at TenAV we pride ourselves on being ahead of the curve when it comes to our audio and visual solutions. We have not sat back and let the pandemic rule our workforce, we have taken the time to build, learn, and grow to provide the best possible results for our clients. When it comes to working effectively as a team, the key buzzwords are always Communication and Collaboration. Every space your team works in should be a space in which they can collaborate. The space should be functional, easy to use, and harmonious with the rest of your office. This is where we suggest you add another buzzword. Adaptable.
An adaptable workplace is a workplace that can easily react to change. Whether that’s inconsistent use (employees working remotely, meeting rooms not being used as regularly as before), having less floor space (many businesses have reduced their floor space to reduce costs so using every inch is now of the upmost importance), or trying to use less electricity (both for cost savings and sustainability reasons) our workplaces need to be agile and responsive to how they’re being used.
If the last 13 months have taught us anything, it’s that everything can change in a heartbeat and we should be prepared. Think of it this way, nobody wants to be burgled, but we know it happens, so we prepare for it. We Insure our belongings and install security systems to protect ourselves, even though it’s highly unlikely that anything will actually happen to them. And yet, we have relied so heavily on being able to see one another in person, that the pandemic completely pulled the rug out from under us and very few were prepared for it. Our networks weren’t built to support everyone working remotely, we had no way of collaborating at a distance, we were thrown. Would you be willing to take that risk again?
Now that’s all well and good, I hear you say, but how does that work when my team are no longer sat together? How does that work when some of my team want to work from home a few days a week? How can my team safely use a collaboration zone that another team has just used? And how on earth will an Audio-Visual company fix any of this?
UNIFIED COMMUNICATION AND COLLABORATION SPACES (UC+C)
A unified communication platform is a way of connecting multiple communication and collaboration systems seamlessly for the end user. This means they can talk, video call, share files, instant message, and collaborate with the wider team all in one place. They’re network based so the install is more cost effective, and the freedom it gives its users (they are free to join a collaboration space however they feel most comfortable) means they are likely to be more productive due to the enhanced user experience. A Microsoft Teams Room (or MTR) is a great example of a collaboration space that is functional and easy to use. It allows those working remotely to seamlessly participate in team meetings. With such distance between team members, a powerful form of technology is required to bridge the gap. Teams certainly delivers this.
YELLOW BRICK ROAD
An exciting new concept from our team, a yellow brick road can provide biological protection whilst wowing your guests. When your guest checks in, being taken to a waiting room and then taken to an internal meeting space increases the risk of exposure for them and for your team, especially if they have been sat in multiple areas of your office. We propose your guest checks in contact free with a virtual receptionist (see below) and a strip of lights embedded in the floor will direct them to a private meeting room. This increases safety, efficiency, and will blow your clients away.
Every single inch of an office space is more important than ever and should be utilised. We have installed breath-taking atriums and calming waiting areas for our clients in the past, but we are experiencing high demand for open spaces that are practical as well as beautiful. When it comes to your entrance, that front door is your barrier between your team and the outside world so why not reinforce it? Temporarily transforming your welcome are into a series of client-facing meeting rooms is a way of bringing people in to meet, without putting your team at risk by walking them through your whole building. You could even push your security barriers back to allow meeting spaces outside of the secure area to further protect your staff.
A very new technology taking the corporate world by storm is a virtual receptionist. Further protecting your staff and reducing the potential for exposure, the virtual assistant works using QR codes that can be sent to your guest and then used to ‘check in’ for their meeting.
ROOM AND DESK BOOKING SYSTEMS
The advantages of having a room and desk booking system in place can be split into two categories; safety and productivity. In terms of safety, it can reduce contact and enforce social distancing by blocking off certain desks. Pre-booking would also reduce the risk of contact in a hot-desking environment as everyone knows exactly where they will be each day. Cleaning can be managed more easily with allocated cleaning times between uses, and contact tracing can be measured with a log of who has sat where and on which days. In terms of productivity, wayfinding software means that colleagues can be easily located, reducing the time spent hunting someone down, whilst showing the quickest and safest route to their location (especially useful if you have a one-way system in place).