“Seventy-nine percent of people work on virtual teams. What’s interesting is that in most organizations there is a preponderance of using yesterday’s tools.” — Rick Puskar, senior vice president of customer experience & services for Unify (Forbes.com)
Using yesterday’s tools to work in today’s world is not only ineffective, it also squanders away time and productivity. With a change in workforce dynamics underway, including an increasingly flexible, mobile office environment, new solutions are needed to keep pace with the increase in technologically proficient Millennials and their work style. In fact, with this generation set to comprise half of all workers by 2020, it would be wise for firms to adapt now to accommodate the shift.
As part of the recommendations my team and I make in designing office spaces, we take a close look at integrating technology to streamline interoffice communication. Below are a few of our favorite recent innovations to help the office worker more efficiently accomplish this goal:
Interactive Whiteboard: This clever solution allows for multiple users and, when paired with media:scape and HD video conferencing, content can be shared across long distances as if the parties were actually sitting together in the room, ideal for companies with offices around the country or globe. Users can save and distribute digital presentations afterward as well, unlike earlier versions of white boards in which content was erased and could only be shared with parties who were physically in the room.
Virtual Puck: A “click and connect” device, the virtual puck allows people and workplaces to quickly and easily share information and collaborate by digitally collecting data, including notes from conference calls, recordings of video conferences and streams of text conversations. These can all be instantly recalled through the click of a mouse and tracked and saved, reducing the amount of time spent gathering and distributing data.
Room Wizard: The new workplace is more flexible and collaborative, which can lead to more confusion. The room wizard system coordinates meeting spaces so no time is wasted searching for one. It’s also web based, which means it can be managed and viewed online, on a laptop, iPad or even a smart phone.
Zoom Meetings: This cloud meeting company unifies video conferencing, online meetings and mobile collaboration into one easy-to-use platform. It can be accessed on any mobile device, hold up to 100 video streams and record meetings for future reference.
The Cloud: The business decision to “move to the cloud” is often financially motivated. At one time, companies had to purchase their own hardware equipment, the value of which depreciated over time. Now, with the cloud, they only need to pay for what they use. The cloud model allows a firm to be more nimble, efficient and cost-effective and to access additional resources and ramp up–or reduce them–on an as-needed basis.
Here’s to the leaner and more efficient workplace of tomorrow.