When the global pandemic began more than a year ago, the office environment shifted to the comfort of our own homes. Employees and their employers quickly realized that while individual productivity was strong, the ability to collaborate with colleagues was more challenging.
“Meetings used to be largely effective when we were all in the office,” says Mark Quiroz, vice president of the Display Division at Samsung. “When we were all forced to collaborate remotely, it became clear that there were certain types of meetings that did not work as well virtually. As we go back to the office, we need both to work just as effectively—and technology has to rise to the occasion.”
Andrew Kao, vice president of Product and Experience at Hana, explains the need for in-person interactions as “water cooler moments.” “While we’ve proven productivity during our time working from home, those impromptu face-to-face moments are irreplaceable,” Kao says. “Through extensive virtual interactions, we’ve realized what our remote limitations are. There is now a higher value placed on those in-person collaboration moments.”
In late 2019, Hana, CBRE’s flexible workspace solution, created a think tank called “Hana Innovation Partners,” (HIP) from a cross-section of industries. HIP brought together Samsung, Herman Miller, Structure Tone and Muraflex to create actionable solutions for both Hana’s flexible space offering and employers globally. The partners quickly shifted their focus to address challenges presented by Covid-19. The Hana Innovation Partners recently unveiled the “Ultimate Meeting Guide” to provide clear guidance on how to bring people back to the office to collaborate safely and effectively.
With many companies planning to return to the office in the summer and fall, Hana research points to in-person meetings as the main way to ensure we get back to business.
But the new way of work is much more dynamic than before.
“We’re now reconsidering where work gets done, how it gets done and who can do it,” Quiroz explains. “Hybrid working will become the norm. The intersection of less time in the office and a mix of in-person and remote participants adds new levels of complexity.”
Addressing the complexity is a challenge nearly all companies are grappling with, and they are looking to technology to help enable seamless connections across teams. “Technology and design need to be very intentional to enable new use cases,” Kao explains, “and, we need to account for those who aren’t in person but deserve the same amount of meeting participation.”
Recent CBRE research suggests that 67% of employees desire a balance of office and remote time as their preferred workstyle. As such, companies are reexamining their office space portfolio, and they are looking to technology to ensure meetings are productive and inclusive, so those workers who are not in the office can be just as present and heard as those who are.
“Whether someone is in the office or not, we need to ensure it is just as easy to join a meeting, be seen, heard and communicated with,” Kao explains. “And, it has to go further than that—it is important for meeting participation to become a part of the company culture. We can no longer prioritize productivity around presence.”
“We are all human beings with the ‘fear of missing out,’” Quiroz says. “It is important to have the right technology in the office and at home, so all meeting attendees—whether remote or on-site—experience the same level of inclusion and ability to collaborate. This means having great display, sound, connection, and even digital, interactive whiteboards like the Samsung Flip that all meeting attendees can engage with in real time.”
And it’s not just about ensuring consistency of meeting participation; it is also paramount for each unique meeting room or workspace to have a level of consistency in its technology solutions. Both Kao and Quiroz believe in the uniformity of the tech experience for those working remotely or in the office.
“We can’t account for every use case,” Kao says. “If we try to tailor the design of a meeting space and technology for 100 different use cases, we don’t create the muscle memory necessary for employees to use technology as a seamless enabler of meetings. Instead, it becomes a complex distraction.”
Quiroz adds on: “It’s about creating core principles or finding the commonality of uses cases and then ensuring the uniformity of experience across all scenarios; be it a small in-person meeting in a small focus room, a meeting in a large conference space, or one at your home desk.
So how does a company know what to invest in when it comes to meeting design and technology?
“Don’t go it alone,” Quiroz advises. “Technology has a vast impact on the business from productivity to talent acquisition. We at Samsung have a wealth of knowledge, case studies and experience in understanding what a company’s goals are and then tailoring the technology solutions to help meet those goals.”
“It’s not a one-size-fits-all approach,” Kao says. “The ‘Ultimate Meeting Guide’ highlights that different organizations have different meeting and technology needs. Testing different spaces and technology with a flex offering, like Hana, can be a great way to understand your business’s needs as you prepare to head back to the office.”
Visit https://www.yourhana.com/en-US/insights/in-person-meetings-covid-guide for more information regarding the Hana Innovation Partners’ “Ultimate Meeting Guide.”