With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, enterprises around the world are rethinking how to use their on-premise meeting rooms. How do you balance the dramatic increase in videoconferencing with social distancing and other public health guidelines?
“COVID has changed how and where we work,” said Ira Weinstein, managing partner, Recon Research, in a recent Enterprise Virtual Connect session, “Meeting Rooms and the New Normal.” He added, “Video conferencing is everywhere now, but some people will go back to the office eventually.”
While meeting rooms are “scary” for many people, they will continue to be more important than ever because of the growth of videoconferencing, Weinstein said. “The office will have a different look and feel in the future, and organizations need to adopt to the changes.”
In his presentation, Weinstein provided 10 tips for IT professionals seeking to get the most from their meeting rooms.
1. Follow health and safety guidelines. That includes frequent cleaning and disinfecting of meeting rooms, particularly touch points on light switches and equipment. It’s a good idea to document those cleanings, as well, in case issues arise in the future.
2. Allow fewer people in meeting rooms. To accommodate social distancing standards, turn your huddle rooms into one-person offices. You should also limit the number of people collaborating in one place by turning medium-size meeting rooms into huddle rooms and large rooms into medium rooms.
3. Take control of the schedule. Keep track of conferencing requests and insist that employees check in prior to physically entering the meeting room.
4. Disallow impromptu meetings. Don’t let half a dozen workers suddenly gather in a mid-size meeting room for a video session. Instead, they should collaborate from their individual offices.
5. Video-enable more spaces. You may be able to deploy video collaboration equipment in more locations, from waiting rooms to individual offices.
6. Choose an appropriate platform. Today, Zoom is one of the most popular videoconferencing applications due to its ease of use. However, enterprises may need to invest in more robust and secure platforms, such as Avaya Spaces for immersive meetings and team collaboration.
7. Look at your use cases. Think about who needs to be in the office using meeting rooms and who will be working remotely. For instance, a product design and development team collaborating with overseas partners may require a more robust solution and greater bandwidth than a sales manager holding a weekly meeting with her team.
8. Educate users. Educate new users on your video conferencing and collaboration technology and explain any important enhancements or features. After all, you want to minimize texts or calls to the help desk.
9. Keep costs down. Needless to say, most organizations are facing financial pressures, and meeting room technology is no exception. See if you can update or repurpose existing equipment, reducing the need for new purchases.
10. Plan for the post-COVID era. At some point, the pandemic will be under control. Some organizations may respond by having most people return to the workplace, while others will continue to offer flexible, remote working options. As Weinstein said, “In any case, you should be ready to support more video conferencing in the future.”