It’s a critical part of work, so how do we make meetings more effective?
A fixed meeting table surrounded by bulky, formal chairs, garnished with a clunky conference phone and finished with a large cable salad at your feet (or even worse, on the table). Sound familiar? Despite the technological and physical workplace planning revolutions in the past few years, meetings still operate in much the same way as they have for decades. Even with all the latest technology innovations, we still waste significant time managing IT issues, often having to call in IT support just to get setup! However, meetings are changing and Activity Based Working planning principles along with exciting technological advancements are set to revolutionise one of our most dreaded workplace activities.
1. Ergonomic variety
The adoption of Activity Based Working principles in the workplace has unveiled a whole new set of options for how and when people collaborate. Organisations now realise that people can have highly effective meetings while standing, lounging in bean bags or sitting in casual, ‘fire-side’ settings. The departure from formal room settings has additionally been aided by a plethora of meeting furniture products which offer huge variety in terms of ergonomics, acoustics and aesthetics. Organisations are no longer bound to traditional, formal furniture, but can offer employees dynamic, engaging spaces to invigorate and inspire. Provided these spaces are supported by appropriate technology and acoustic treatments, they offer employees choice and control in maximising interactions and output.
2. Formal to flexible
While on the subject of flexibility, the notion of a meeting ‘room’ generally, is being challenged. Moveable partitions that offer controlled transparency with automatic switchable glass are now being widely used by organisations around the world. An open space can easily be reconfigured into single or multiple meeting spaces using sophisticated and sleek partitioning systems that meet rigorous acoustic requirements. With escalating real estate costs and evolving meeting scenarios, these products are highly effective solutions in maximising flexibility and control over how meetings are arranged.
3. Tech takes centre stage
Microsoft recently unveiled new AI technology that aims to revolutionise meetings of the future. It starts with a 360-degree camera and microphones that are able to detect and greet anyone in the room as well as transcribe what they say in any language. Artificial Intelligence software is then able to monitor conversation and prompt action items post-meeting via “Microsoft Teams” notifications. Design of spaces will also be overturned, with technology dictating design rather than the other way around. Paper-less meetings reliant on frequent document-sharing across multiple locations will mean integration of technology is the number one priority.
The days of boring, ineffective meetings are gladly coming to an end. With such significant improvements in furniture, partitions, acoustics and technology, there is plenty of opportunity to make collaboration fun, engaging and highly effective.
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