January 20, 2020

Making the Most of Your Office Environment

Gina Harris, MBA

Conference Room Upgrades You Need for 2020

Newly renovated conference room for Kutak Rock, located in the John Q. Hammons building, Downtown Springfield, MO.

Designing office space in today’s environment isn’t easy. Business is becoming increasingly complex in terms of function and operation. Those on the front lines of workplace design must anticipate the ever-evolving needs of teams while creating a cohesive brand environment. In our mini-series, “Making the Most of Your Office Environment,” we discuss all things office space improvement.

For this first article, Paragon Architecture teamed up with Senior Account Manager Paul Ebert from Pitt Technology Group to bring you expert tips and tricks to upgrading your conference room environment and the technology you need to do better business. Paul’s got 20 years in the biz, and we believe his insight on trending conferencing solutions paired with our architectural experience can help your company increase productivity in meetings, connect your remote employees and aid in collaboration. Let’s get started.

Breakup with Your Stately Conference Table

Psst—it’s time to rethink the conference room. You’ve probably noticed that offices around 417-Land are moving to non-traditional floor plans and working to get more versatility out of every square foot. But even if you don’t have an open office yet, it’s important to think about the ways you can create flexible space within your current environment.

As a simple upgrade, many companies are getting away from large conference room tables and introducing smaller, movable tables and chairs so the configuration of the room can be changed per meeting or event. From different display and screen positions, to having multiple, dedicated cameras that can record training—re-framing the way you think about meeting spaces can open opportunities to do better business.

So, start thinking of conference rooms as multi-use areas and brainstorming spaces. Allow for both large gatherings AND more intimate collaborations. The way we do business is changing—your conference room should too.

Get Hardware that’s Made for Conferencing

Most companies get a conferencing solution as an afterthought. They use their work laptops and laptop cameras to plug into a projector or TV and screen-share with a software that’s not truly fitted to the hardware on hand. The problem with band-aiding your conferencing solution is you get a complicated set up that saps valuable meeting time, you never quite get everyone in the frame and there’s always someone who can’t hear the audio. But a good, dedicated video conferencing solution can be used in your meeting rooms on multiple devices across the company’s network. And the benefits of buying specialized hardware are obvious:

  • It’s always set up and ready to go
  • It’s easier to use
  • You get better connectivity
  • You get higher quality, sometimes 180-degree video
  • You get way better sound

That means that everyone on the call is seen and their ideas are heard. It means less time dropping calls and trying to figure out access codes. And when you’re trying to connect your remote workers or long-distance clients into one virtual space, that stuff matters. So, if you want to change your conference calling experience from a major headache to a constructive meeting, (we’re going to say it again) get hardware that’s made specifically for conference calls already.

Focus on How You’ll Use the Tech

One size never quite fits all. When you’re ready to upgrade your meeting room technology, look to your employees before looking at equipment. How is your team currently collaborating? What tasks do they need to accomplish? What pain points do they have with your current tools? Paul says that when you consider your company’s processes first, you’re going to end up with a better solution that does everything you need and more.

Conference room upgrades should satisfy employee needs, free IT resources and achieve business goals. Your best bet is to bring in a knowledgeable partner that knows the industry and can focus on a custom solution for your business and team.

Go Wireless

If you want a top-notch conferencing experience, go wireless. Relying on cables to connect presenters to your display is becoming beyond old school. And today’s wide range of connectivity options makes it nearly impossible to accommodate every connection need. Wireless presentation solutions can save time and facilitate an easy flow of information.

Some solutions even allow multiple users to share content from ANY device. That’s right, your employees can walk into the meeting room with their laptop, tablet or cell phone and start presenting with just a few clicks. Switching presenters becomes a breeze, and the open-platform style can improve communication. Plus, without cables your tables are less cluttered. We’re all about that (wireless) future.

Adopt Virtual White-Boarding

This year, make your virtual space an extension of the physical office. We hear you. You prefer a physical whiteboard. But as your business grows to include remote workers, freelancers and employees in multiple offices, you need to think about finding a virtual solution for collaboration too. Luckily, many conferencing solutions already deliver an array of digital tools.

“With the right remote software, employees in different offices can share files, screens and other important documents to make business run smoother,” says Paul. They can even take notes together in real time and scribble on virtual whiteboards. Long gone are the days of needing to wait on fax or being in the local office to do business. With software like TeamViewer, Microsoft Teams and even Google Docs, employees can work on the same document at the same time in different locations.

The Executive Summary

The key to successful conference room upgrades in 2020 is flexibility. Make sure the furniture in your space allows for more than one meeting type. Invest in hardware that was made for conference calls. Pay attention to the way your team does business before you buy. If you can—go wireless. And be ready to adopt new collaboration habits. Your team will thank you.

More About Paragon Architecture

We partner with businesses, schools and municipalities throughout Missouri to design buildings that inspire employees, support student learning and energize communities. Our architects and interior designers are passionate project managers, ready to advocate your vision from the first sketch to your final phone call—and beyond. We call our collaborative process The Paragon Approach™. Think of our team as your architectural Sherpas—highly skilled and experienced guides you can count on every step of the way. Ready to learn more? Contact our team.

More About Pitt Technology Group

Pitt Technology Group is a “27-year-old, new company” that brings all the technologies you need under one roof. Think: managed IT support, low voltage cabling, internet service/cloud hosting, audio/video/lighting, or software development—they can do it all and have the specialized staff to take care of it. Plus, they’re cave dwellers located in the Springfield Underground. What’s cooler than that? Check them out at pitttechnologygroup.com.

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