One of the strongest trends we’ve seen in workplaces over the past decade is an increasing move towards remote work and telecommuting. In the digital age, working teams don’t always have to be in the same place and individuals from around the world can provide diverse perspectives and experience that drive stellar team performance. Remote work means that employees spend less time commuting and employers spend less money on staffing, so typically both parties come out ahead.
Still, the trend towards remote work has had some unintended consequences. Since the year 2000, the amount of time that workers spend in meetings has increased by an average of 10% annually. The biggest companies now spend up to 15% of their total labor hours in meetings and the latest available data finds that unproductive meetings are costing organizations of all sizes billions of dollars each year in productivity. Meanwhile, various surveys indicate that employees feel less engaged because of unproductive meetings with their colleagues.
From our perspective, there are two important truths here:
- Inefficient meetings are costing too many companies too much money.
- Remote work isn’t going anywhere –it will continue to grow and to necessitate even more meetings.
So, what’s the solution?
Some industries have responded by introducing drastic shifts in the culture surrounding meetings. For example, software development teams following Agile development practices have adopted a “daily scrum” or “stand-up”, a type of meeting that focuses on important short-term team goals and must conclude within 15 minutes.
For other organizations, the adoption of new boardroom technologies can help drive meeting efficiency through enhanced productivity and organization. While reducing the overall number of team meetings is not always possible (or advisable), these technologies can help organizations enhance meeting productivity, organization and overall efficiency, resulting in reduced costs and happier employees.
7 Boardroom Technologies that Drive Meeting Efficiency
Conference rooms can play host to many different types of meetings with diverse attendees and objectives. We see sales teams that host daily video conferences to celebrate success and promote accountability, but there are also cases where geographically separated technical teams need to come together and collaborate to solve a problem. The focus and objectives of a meeting dictate how the participants will leverage technology to achieve their goals. Organizations can support their staff by investing in technology that supports simple, fast and effective communication between team members in meetings.
Wireless Presentation Capabilities
Wireless presentation systems can play a major role in supporting information sharing in the work environment. A conference room with wireless presentation capabilities presents a uniquely optimized environment for collaborative problem solving. Team members can quickly and easily connect a laptop, desktop PC, tablet or smart mobile phone to a screen, instantly sharing any type of content from their device to the group.
The ability to seamlessly share content on a common screen enhances interaction and engagement between team members, as each person is empowered to individually process the information and give feedback. More importantly, the process is vastly simplified by technology and no time is wasted trying to find a compatible device for a wired connection.
Video displays are an important component of facilitating productive meetings that keep employees engaged. They enable video conferencing with remote workers or geographically separated teams and they also provide a focal point for presentations and information-sharing. Video displays should be large enough that everyone in the room can clearly see them –otherwise, multiple screens should be positioned around the room to ensure that everyone can follow. Low-tech projector screens can be replaced by LED displays with wireless presentation capabilities.
Pop-up Power/Data Boxes
Pop-up power boxes are one of the conference room features that no organization should be without. Installed in the middle of your conference table, the box flips open to reveal power plugs, USB charging and audio/visual inputs that go directly to on-wall video displays. These are essential for three main reasons:
- Conference tables are typically in the middle of the room. As such, electronics on these tables should not be plugged into wall outlets as the cord can create a tripping hazard. Lose cords need to be properly hidden to ensure they do not create a safety hazard.
- Pop-up power boxes support lengthy work sessions in conference rooms –they’re great for collaborating teams that want to work together without disrupting the rest of theoffice. They also help ensure that your laptop doesn’t die in the middle of an important presentation –just plug it in!
Digital whiteboards are a large computer accessory with some very cool functionality. These interactive tools work with a computer and a projector, enabling users (and their colleagues) to interact with applications and files via a large touchscreen display. Digital whiteboards are great for problem-solving, brain-storming sessions, interactive presentations and a range of other collaborative activities.
In 2020, organizing access to boardrooms, meeting spaces and conferencing resources should be a simple and streamlined process. Innovations like conference room scheduling panels provide an interface between human users and back-end scheduling protocols that streamline the booking process and make reservation information available when and where it’s most needed. Personal assistants provide an additional mechanism for creating bookings. Some organizations are leveraging software video conferencing platforms that record meetings and preserve them for later review.
Personal Assistant for Business
In the last couple of years, we’ve seen the emergence of personal assistant products for personal or smart home applications – especially voice-activated ones that can perform an Internet search or control lighting or music. In the business context, these voice-activated assistants can interface directly with back-end conference room booking software, providing a convenient mechanism for checking room availability and booking space for meetings.
Conference Room Scheduling Panels
Scheduling panels are an audiovisual solution that lives on the wall, just outside the door of your office conference room. A scheduling panel provides up-to-the-minute information from your organization’s back-end room booking tool. It can show employees when next the room is booked and even allow them to create a new booking on the spot. Scheduling panels help your organization make the best use of its available working space while avoiding double-bookings and scheduling conflicts.
Video Conferencing Software Platform
Group chat and collaboration software helps team members keep track of files, conversations, meetings and apps – all in a single shared platform. Collaboration software has become increasingly vital to all organizations where remote work is present, as it helps to create accountability and support information sharing between team members. Collaboration tools that support video conferencing enable teams to record meetings and presentations for future reference. As a result, a staff member who misses a meeting can review it later to access any information that was shared on an as-needed basis.
Meeting Productivity and the BYOD Revolution
Our discussion of boardroom connectivity would be incomplete without a special mention of the trend towards BYOD. Bring-Your-Own-Device represents a true paradigm shift in meeting culture. In the past, a typical meeting room might have a projector screen with its own dedicated computer. A staff member giving a presentation would have to arrive with the presentation on a thumb drive and navigate a range of technical challenges:
- How to lower the projector screen? Turn on the projector? Turn on the dedicated computer that runs it all?
- How to login to the computer? Is there a password?
- How to open the presentation? Is there a USB port? Is the USB port functional? Is the thumb drive you brought formatted to work on the USB port? Does the computer’s operating system support the application your presentation is stored in?
In contrast, BYOD is all about creating a user-friendly environment where none of these questions need to be answered. Team members should be able to bring a laptop computer or mobile phone to meetings and present information from the source – their own device – without having to navigate the complexities of audiovisual systems. This capability is enabled by audiovisual systems that support wireless presentation across a range of devices.
With appropriate investments in boardroom technology, organizations can empower their staff to hold more efficient and productive meetings. To achieve this, leaders must recognize the diverse use cases associated with their meeting facilities. There is also a need to balance strong technical capabilities with simplicity, low maintenance and ease-of-use. From the end user’s perspective, boardroom connectivity should provide a seamless, simplified experience – it needs to just work.
Hillman AV provides audiovisual solutions for corporate boardrooms and meeting spaces. Want to learn more about how we can help you enjoy more productive meetings?