December 01, 2022

4 min

Is Your Meeting Room Set Up for the New Way of Work?

With hybrid work in full swing, meetings must account for both in-office and virtual participants. Do you have the right technology to do so?

People are sitting in an office attending an Hybrid meeting

Since the pandemic, one of the biggest changes to the way we work has been the office shifting from a place where we all go – and we had to go – five days a week to more of a collaboration hub, where people drop by a couple of times a week for meetings and to connect with coworkers.

According to our partners at HP, 80 percent of executives are changing office spaces to focus more on collaboration, and consequently, 79 percent of companies are upgrading their conference rooms. For this new modern office, the clunky, manual conferencing solutions of yesteryear simply won’t cut it. We’re not saying to go chuck your old Nortel conference bridge off a bridge…but if you’re still using it, now’s the time to consider something a little more modern.

The role of the office in a hybrid work environment

According to our partners at Jabra, who have released a global report on hybrid working, two thirds of workers who can choose where they work prefer a hybrid work model. This could mean working at least two days from the office, two days at home and maybe another day spent working on transit, in a coffee shop or in some other space. When work can be done from anywhere, office spaces are only useful if they have the technology that can connect to virtual environments – and provide an inclusive meeting experience for those working both inside and outside of the office.

3 ways to make meetings more inclusive

1.Allow participants to be seen and heard by each other. To accomplish this, you need a videoconferencing camera that shows everyone in the room with a 180-degree field of view, so remote participants can always see who’s speaking. (Since the camera is mounted on a wall, it wouldn’t need to see 360 degrees.) You also need to have clear audio, with people-tracking technology so that conversations within the room can be clearly heard by those on the call. Clear audio also means providing noise-cancelling features to block out background noises, especially for those working remotely.

2.Equal space = equal opportunities. Having the speaker take up most the screen with the other participants off to the side (if they’re even on camera) prevents people from participating fully. Instead, displaying close-up views of everyone, whether they’re in the meeting room or attending virtually, can lead to more interaction.

3.Interactive whiteboarding enables collaboration. With leading videoconferencing solutions, like Microsoft Teams and Cisco Webex, whiteboarding sessions have gone virtual. And many of our partners sell interactive whiteboards that can help those in the room collaborate with their colleagues on the screen. If you don’t want to get a new whiteboard, you could purchase a whiteboard camera like the Logitech Scribe that allows you to broadcast your analogue whiteboard into video meetings.

Meeting spaces of all shapes and sizes

You may be familiar with the “two-pizza rule,” which has been attributed to Jeff Bezos – never invite more people to a meeting than you can feed with two (hopefully large) pizzas. This thinking is leading to an increase of redesigned meeting spaces, from “huddle rooms” for small groups of three or four people to medium-sized rooms that fit 10 to 12. Naturally, these spaces also come with their own unique collaboration hardware needs, and our partners offer a range of devices that can help you properly equip each space. Many of these solutions, such as Lenovo’s ThinkSmart line, are certified for Microsoft Teams and Zoom – so your collaboration software is built right in.

There are even portable meeting room solutions, like Jabra’s Meet Anywhere bundles, which provide remote workers with a professional setup for wherever they happen to be working from.

Find the right meeting room solutions from CDW and our partners

At CDW, we know that having the right collaboration tools to increase employee productivity and engagement is critical to business success. That’s why we partner with leading brands including Cisco, HP, Jabra, Lenovo, Logitech, Microsoft and Poly to help you build out your new and improved office meeting spaces.

For instance, our partners at HP and Poly recently began operating as one company, which can help provide enhanced audio, video and voice experiences in meeting rooms and remote work solutions. CDW’s expertise with HP, Poly and other leading collaboration vendors can help you find the right technology for wherever and however you choose to meet going forward.