"When a meeting is scheduled, people tend to reserve a room they know is big enough to fit all attendees. The best rooms get reserved quickly."
Real Estate and Facilities Manager, Haworth
• 4 min read
5 technology best practices for collaboration and teamwork
The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has forced the acceleration of the trend to work from anywhere. As a result, conference room technology is playing a more critical role in successful collaboration and teamwork. However, organizations are struggling to find the best way to keep teams connected when some people work in the office, others work from home, and still others work from third places. When an organization lacks consistent technology and easy-to-use programs, users often feel frustrated and stressed—which can lead to very unproductive meetings.
At Haworth, we recently put technology to the test to find out how to best support teams. Here is a look at what we uncovered—including 5 best practices for incorporating conference room technology solutions that don’t add any stress.
Our research team surveyed people at Haworth’s headquarters in Holland, Michigan and found that when they can connect easily, quickly, and reliably, their meetings start on time and result in better outcomes. However, when users are forced to connect separate wires, or manually configure the meeting audio and video to different software, meetings are often delayed, users are frustrated, attendees are less engaged, and productivity wanes.
While organizations use different systems, the infusion of the proper technology for collaboration is incredibly important. We asked Rob Terpstra, Haworth’s Real Estate and Facilities Manager, to share insight on the best technology practices for a successful conference room experience.
1. Adopt wireless connectivity. A wireless system eliminates the need for adaptors and software configuration at the beginning of each meeting.
2. Use consistent hardware and software. Avoid mixing and matching audio and video systems to save time and reduce pre-meeting preparation frustration.
3. Designate the room itself as a meeting attendee. Configure your scheduling system with rooms as attendees. When you do so, this feature allows anyone in the room to start the meeting without connecting a laptop.
4. Utilize booking displays. With the latest technology, a screen mounted just outside the conference room connects to your scheduling program. This lets people quickly see what meetings are scheduled and even make changes if needed.
5. Add room capabilities to search criteria in scheduling software. Provide options, including spaces with fully integrated technology or less equipped, depending on the needs of meeting attendees.
After testing multiple applications and solutions, as well as the trial and error in using different equipment configurations, Haworth’s system of choice is now the Logitech Tap Microsoft Teams bundle. This technology enables a room to be configured as a meeting attendee itself—allowing users in the room, and people working remotely, to join the meeting without the need to connect any data or AV cables. We also use Microsoft Outlook’s Room Finder feature, which allows users to identify spaces that fit specific meeting needs—from full technology integration to tech-free.
Real Estate and Facilities Manager, Haworth
Over the years, we've made a lot of good progress, but it is still important to continue to look at ways to improve the conference room experience and efficiencies through tech. The right technology at the right time is a tricky process and one that requires thorough examination and planning.
The number one consideration organizations need to solve for is the ability to right-size a conference room assignment for the number of meeting attendees. When meeting attendees decide to join from another location outside the room, a large room results in wasted space. Relatedly, when most attendees are on-site, a small room feels cramped and halts productivity. To counter mismatches between in-person attendees and room size—and to avoid wasted resources—we are currently working to learn how technology may be configured to allow users to respond to meeting invites as “attending in the room” or “attending elsewhere.”
Easy-to-use integrated communications technology is key to maximizing the effectiveness of conference room meetings. When people don't have to stress about utilizing the right AV connections and understanding several different processes and technologies, they can focus 100 percent on the agenda and tasks at hand.
Spaces Designed for Collaboration
While technology is a key factor for successful collaborative meetings, so too, are your seating, tables, and lighting. Dive into our design inspiration page to craft your own beautiful and transformative spaces.