Designing Spaces to Support Video Conferencing in the Office
Video conferencing is here to stay. This is true whether you’re working from home full time, are back in the office full time, or have switched over to a hybrid work schedule. Even if you’ve gone back to working in the office full time, there’s a good chance that video conferencing will remain an essential tool to meet with clients or to collaborate with other colleagues who work remotely.
While video conferencing had been something many companies had already been using prior to the coronavirus pandemic, its sudden growth in popularity created many challenges for other companies that weren’t already equipped for it. As people returned to the office, they were left trying to use video conferencing software from their desks and in other less-than-ideal spaces that had been designed for in-person collaboration instead of video conferencing.
There are a few different ways to address this problem. In some cases, it may make sense to repurpose existing meeting rooms to better support video conferencing. Or you may want to consider installing privacy pods or creating new private meeting areas specifically intended for video conferencing. Regardless of how you approach the problem, there are some key things that should be considered when creating these spaces.
Video Display & Connectivity
First and foremost, video conferencing spaces need the necessary technical infrastructure to help make those meetings happen. This includes a centrally located video display screen, speakers, cameras, microphones, and a strong internet connection. People need to be able to get ready for their meetings quickly and easily, without having to search around for things they need or worry that their call might be interrupted by a poor internet connection.
Acoustics & Privacy
Acoustic controls are essential for any space intended for video conferencing. Noise was already a very common complaint in offices before video conferencing became commonplace and video conferencing in spaces that aren’t set up for it only adds to the problem. For example, even if a person wears headphones while trying to video conference from their workstation in an open office, it can still be a big distraction for people working nearby who are stuck listening to a one-sided conversation. And for the people who are trying to participate in a video call, they can be frustrated because they want privacy and to be considerate of others, but simply don’t have many options. Even semi-private booths or pods can help meet the needs for privacy and noise control.
Good lighting is a crucial part of a good video conferencing experience. But since lighting conditions change throughout the day, it’s important for people to have the ability to control their lighting while video conferencing. For instance, if a video conferencing space is near an area that gets a lot of natural light, do the windows have shades that can be adjusted as needed? Are there options to control the electrical lighting in the space?
Room Reservation Systems
Since video conferencing rooms can be in high demand, it may be worth considering a room reservation system. That way, it will be easy for people to see when the room is available and to reserve the space when they need it, avoiding conflicts down the line.
Need help creating spaces that can support video conferencing in your workplace? Premier Construction & Design can help. Take a look at our portfolio and case studies to see examples of some projects we’ve worked on in the Metro Detroit area. When you’re ready to get started, contact us so that we can learn more about your project.