There are too many barriers preventing people from returning to the office.
For example, there is the current state of gas prices, the commute, the long hours at the office without all the creature comforts employees have become accustomed to, and the fact that they cannot simply open their laptop and join a meeting within seconds like they can from home.
Some might say that platforms such as Microsoft Teams have almost made it too easy for most end users to work from home – and if you compare the processes involved in hosting physical and virtual meetings, you can see why. Typically, most corporate meeting rooms have a mixture of screens, lights, audio speakers/microphones, and cameras, and users need to figure out how to use all these components in order to host a successful meeting without technical interruptions. Meanwhile, all a user needs to do to host or participate in a successful meeting remotely via Microsoft Teams is to open their laptop and click a link.
Joining a remote meeting hasn’t always been this painless, but the pandemic has accelerated the evolution of remote working. When the pandemic first started, it was essential to get remote users up and running. Now, we must shift to become more inclusive of a hybrid environment. The path forward is simple; we have to make hybrid meetings just as easy as opening your laptop and clicking a link. But how?
Since the responsibility of the end-user experience isn’t confined to one department within an organisation, we have to stop treating it as such. To foster collaboration and inclusivity within our meeting spaces, we must look inward to create collaboration and inclusivity between our audiovisual (AV) and IT departments.
Oftentimes the disparity between different software and hardware vendors can wreak havoc on a collaborative environment. That is usually fine because the entire integration industry exists to bridge the gap between vendors and simplify end-user experiences. This strategy can frequently be a direct result of a poor partnership between a company’s internal IT and AV teams. However, this is a very solvable problem.
To create inclusive and collaborative hybrid meetings and workspaces, we first have to learn to make inclusive and collaborative decisions about IT and AV. This means that instead of trying to integrate our ecosystem, we must get in front of the decisions that require us to collaborate in the first place. If we use simplicity and standardisation as our guiding principles, we can easily move to this approach and ensure a more productive working environment for all.
Aaron Weiler is a senior sales engineer at Comcast Business, and a host and industry expert for AVIXA IT Power Hour
This article was originally published in the Autumn 2022 issue of Technology Record. To get future issues delivered directly to your inbox, sign up for a free subscription.
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