We recently surveyed 400 IT professionals to hear their take on their own respective collaboration spaces and the value that a collaboration space brings when it comes to employee morale and even an organization’s bottom line. With a topic that seems to be resonating with the likes of IT professionals everywhere, we felt the need to explore the topic even further and invited select individuals from AstraZeneca, Dechert LLP and Cisco to join us for a panel expert webinar, diving into the current state of enterprise conference rooms and the workplace transformation that companies are experiencing across the globe.
Workplace Collaboration and What to Expect in 2019
The webinar covered several key findings from our enterprise survey but the main point of the conversation was to explore each individual’s perspective on how collaboration spaces are undergoing a workplace transformation. We were strategic about the participants we asked to participate. The criteria was simple: they needed to be from an enterprise level company, they needed to serve a unique industry and they needed to be able to describe the current state of their conference and collaboration rooms in detail.
Stephen McClellan, Conferencing Tech and Innovation Manager from AstraZeneca, Sean McGrath, AV Operations Manager, Client Services from accredited law firm, Dechert LLP and Mark Miller, Workplace Transformation Strategist from Cisco fit the bill perfectly and rounded out our expert panel with open and honest feedback to share with the masses. Webinar participants hopefully walked away with piqued interest, but as for Vyopta, we walked away with three key takeaways from the participants.
1. The open floor plan effect.
AstraZeneca and Cisco have been and continue to move to open floor environments (McClellan points out that not even top execs have an office space anymore!) and this workplace transition is driving a need for more collaboration/huddle spaces. Miller from Cisco pointed out that for every conference room Cisco deploys, four to five huddle rooms are being implemented in tandem. That’s a lot of huddle spaces! This growth of huddle rooms is causing a ripple effect across numerous industries as each new space requires proper outfitting with the right technology. It was promising to hear Sean McGrath mention that nearly 80% of Dechert’s rooms have some sort of technology already implemented. In order to keep their assets current, AstraZeneca and Cisco are continually updating their room technology to ensure that legacy environments are being replaced with newer systems.
2. Technology is being forced to evolve.
All three participants placed a huge emphasis on how video conferencing is taking center stage nowadays. Dechert noted a huge rise in remote work and Miller agreed, adding that Cisco’s workforce is transforming, becoming more dispersed by the day. Miller noted that on average, 50% of Cisco employees work with at least one colleague per day from a different time zone.This reality of a global workplace has made one thing crystal clear for the Cisco corporation: successful collaboration is paramount.McClellan from AstraZeneca added that his organization is seeing an evolution in smart IT, most notably around conference room design and layout optimization. Since AstraZeneca uses an entirely open floor plan, insufficient usage of their conference rooms and inaccurate scheduling can end up hurting the company in more than one way. As a result, they are looking at smarter solutions like motion sensors and booking panels. One needed functionality that McClellan highlighted in particular was the ability to release a conference room booking if no one walks into the room within 10-15 minutes after the scheduled start.
3. Conference room responsibility blurs the lines
It’s typically a given rule of thumb that real estate or office layout decisions fall into the hands of facilities managers. But with the growing need to ensure that collaboration technology is remaining at the forefront of every growth decision, the lines of responsibility are becoming more blurred. Thus a partnership between IT and Facilities has begun to blossom within many large enterprises. McGrath explained that Dechert’s IT department works in tandem with the facilities team, occasionally receiving input from a design team to ensure that the right recommendations and tech decisions are made. It’s clear that the growth of conference rooms technology and successful adoption/implementation must be a joint partnership. This partnership across departments will not only provide better decision making around the planning and development of office spaces but will also ensure that an organization’s investments in these rooms and technologies are returned through abundant utilization.
Overall, the webinar offered great visibility into three enterprise level companies and the emphasis that not only a conference room or huddle space brings but the technology that comes along with it. We see many companies undergoing workplace transformations, not just in how they conduct business with customers, but also with improving workplace productivity and employee engagement. If we learned anything from our three panelists, it’s that these companies are definitely committed to the cause and embracing the change.