The conference room has forever held a somewhat stereotypical image for many workers the world over. It’s widely regarded as the place where the corporate higher-ups have serious meetings and look at slides, while making important decisions about the direction of the company.
That does happen, but today’s conference rooms have also become multifunctional spaces where employees can escape to in order to do some work. The benefits of having such a large room to escape to are obvious – more space and a quieter environment that allows workers to escape the distractions of the main office floor. But, what about hybrid workspaces? The conference room can act as an efficient location for employees who are both in the office, and remoting in from home. Here’s how.
SIGHT-LINES ARE IMPORTANT
One of the biggest advantages of a completely digital company meeting in a program like Zoom or Google Meetings is that everyone can see each other, provided they have a webcam. The same benefits are not automatically present in a hybrid space environment, particularly one involving a conference room. Sight-lines are an important thing to consider.
Conference room configurations must be updated to reflect this need, but thankfully, there are some easy solutions. The objective is to make sure that all workers can see not just each other, but also the content being presented, at the same time. For instance, most conference rooms are set up in “Portrait” style, where the chairs are lined up across both sides of the table’s length, with a monitor at the end. That works well for an in-person meeting, but it prevents hybrid workers from seeing their co-workers, as they all sit behind one another. Flipping the orientation of the room to a “Landscape” style allows remote workers to see every single co-worker at the same time, and vice versa.
There are many different layout styles for hybrid conference rooms, and each of them can be applied to fit a particular kind of space, making it easy to switch the orientation of the conference table, desks and displays for optimal presentation.
USE A PROPER DISPLAY
Monitor and TV displays are frequently used in team meetings for things like presentations, spreadsheets, and much more. However, they are wasted if the image quality is rubbish, which is why it’s important not to skimp on price. Make sure to choose displays that are high quality, with good colour, contrast and brightness ratios, as well as high pixel density.
Thankfully, our modern age of display technology makes this pretty easy. 4K TVs are now the norm, and even the most modestly-priced ones can produce crystal clear content that everyone can see. However, no two displays are alike in terms of quality or display strength, so it’s best to check them out in person, just to make sure they’re the right fit for your hybrid conference room. Doing so will allow your in-house employees to see and interact with remote workers on a much better level, making them feel as if they’re actually present in the room.
LIGHTING AND PRESENTATION
In some ways, creating a hybrid conference room is a lot like prepping a film set, only on a much smaller scale. The same principles of lighting and presentation apply here. Namely, your remote workers should be able to see what’s going on within the conference room at all times. Too much backlighting or other strong light sources can sometimes interfere with that, which is why steps may need to be taken to change the lighting scheme. This could be as simple as drawing the shades on windows to cut sunlight and improve visibility and contrast, for example.
When it comes to presentation, don’t forget the details. These can include the quality of the cameras you’re using to broadcast to remote team members, and audio devices like microphones in order to pick up dialogue between team members. Using standard, run of the mill mics can make it difficult to pick up everyone’s voices in a conference room, which is why it’s good to invest in some tabletop mics that can capture the entire spectrum. If necessary, have an audio expert come in to identify any issues with your hybrid conference room, including whether sound dampening materials might be required.
DON’T FEAR THE WHITEBOARD
You may be inclined to think that setting up a hybrid conference room means you’ll have to deliver all your content digitally, but that’s not always the case. Remember that in-house workers need to be taken into account, and the use of traditional display methods like whiteboards can go a long way. Choosing a larger white board can even allow remote workers to see the written content clearly on camera, especially if you’ve adopted the right setup scheme for the room.
The objective is to cater to both sets of workers, rather than assume everything needs to be digital at all times. Content can be absorbed a number of different ways, and all it takes is a little planning and forethought to pull it off correctly.
The conference room is no longer a place used for the occasional meeting, while dust settles within its walls the rest of the time. Today’s hybrid conference rooms are energized and active, helping employees make the most of a hybrid work model so that everyone is kept in the loop. With just a few tweaks to the old formula, your conference room can achieve the same.
Not sure how to transform your conference room into a well-oiled hybrid workspace? Sensyst can help by analyzing your conference room, and setting it up in the most optimized manner possible. We’re always at the forefront of new office design trends, especially when it comes to the newfound adoption of hybrid work models the world over. Contact us today to learn more.