The modern workplace is evolving quickly in the digital age—there has been more innovation in the last 20 or so years than we have seen since the beginning of AV technology in the 1940s. HB Communications has been in business since the beginning of the industry we serve, and we have ridden the crest of necessity and technological advancements to help our clients communicate more efficiently. As the speed of digital commerce increases, AV solutions in the workplace make teams more efficient and increase collaboration. Here are 5 solutions we feel every workplace should consider adopting.
Investing In Collaboration with State of the Art Tech
The once proud edifice of the glass box— high on the office park hill—is no longer the norm when it comes to the “where” of work. As the cubicle and the conference room give way to conference calls and work from home, we become increasingly dependent on collaboration technology to get projects accomplished. And it’s not just bending to the shifting workforce: collaboration tech allows a greater ability to incorporate everything from voice calls to texts to video. And since most don’t have their best ideas when they’re parked at their desks, having the ability to contribute in an instant keeps your team connected and your projects moving forward.
Even if your business is small, giving every employee the ability to contribute and connect to their co-workers anywhere in the world frees you up to be on the road when you need to be and still track the progress of every project. And as your business grows and expands into new time zones, your employees will maintain the freedom they need to get their work done on their own schedules. Collaborative tech allows you greater freedom not just in your own scheduling and travels, but also ensures you are free to hire the best talent that you can, anywhere in the world.
The Awesome Power of Video
So much is lost when the vast majority of your voice communications happen by telephone, and you can lose a lot of productivity just by not being able to visualize facial expressions and gestures of your co-workers and colleagues. In the long run, this can lengthen projects significantly, even if you’re just losing a few minutes or hours a day for every project you’re juggling. Switching over your internal communications to a system that presents a seamless video conferencing experience can have some startling effects on your employees’ productivity.
Companies that incorporate Cisco’s video solutions see a marked improvement in productivity, due in part to the richness of idea exchange facilitated by face-to-face communication. Video solutions also allow you multiple applications and uses of video capabilities.
Consider the first impression when your customers or clients walk into your workspace. Not only does video allow you to create smoother communication between your own employees, but the technology can be used to enrich your customer education and sales information experiences.
Working Together, Physically & Digitally
Google was the first to introduce a workspace that was a combination of open and closed, and for very good reason. Overwhelmingly, the truly “open office” ultimately ends up hurting productivity more than it helps, as interruptions increase and chatter without the shield of office walls can slow productivity to a halt.
The key to taking advantage of good collaborative workspaces is making sure everyone can access them, and to only use the space and the tools you need to facilitate better collaboration. And the phrase “collaboration spaces” involves both the digital and the physical worlds, so on-location groups and telecommuters have the same level of involvement and contribution. After all, it’s not really collaborative if your telecommuters are forced to passively listen without being able to add their own ideas.
Employing a solution like Cisco Spark means your workforce gets an incredibly clean and intuitive interface for sharing files and ideas in real time. Spark comes with built-in conferencing tools such as call recording, and real-time screen mirroring on other machines. You can also take advantage of the small group feeling by creating “huddle rooms” -- literally small conference rooms that incorporate smart boards so even folks who can’t make it to the room can still contribute.
Put Your Voice in the Cloud
Switching out your old premise-based phone system (PBX) for a cloud-based voice solution can increase your collaborative productivity in ways a traditional PBX is simply not equipped to. While PBXs are obviously dependent on a limited network, cloud-based voice solutions frees your conversations from those constraints and opens it up to a variety of digital voice tools.
Once you transition to a digital voice solution, you can use better collaborative tools like integrating your system with Office 365 or Polycom RealConnect. Cloud-based solutions mean you spend less time punching numbers into a handset for basic uses like switching to your mobile or checking your messages. Your voicemail can get smarter too, with email access from anywhere in the world to your inbox.
As the workspace becomes a less centralized and physically-located place, having a flexible, versatile cloud-based voice solution will help you stay ahead of the changing needs of your workforce. Mobility and accessibility are required of every voice solution no matter your industry, and a cloud-based solution is the only way forward.
Make Collaboration Work
The most important element of a robust lineup of collaboration tools? It all has to work, and it has to work when you are working. Finding the right managed service provider (MSP) to make sure all of your collaboration tools work seamlessly together is a matter of cost and reliability. When you decide to make the switch, you should find an MSP with lots of experience integrating and maintaining systems from the incredibly complex to the very simple.
When you are thinking about who to get to help you with your ever-evolving AV needs—remember, HB Communications was one of the first AV companies to exist, and HB has tracked the growth of the AV industry from birth to where it is today. With a record like ours, it’s fair to say that we have an idea about where the industry is headed and we are happy to lead the way.Photo Credit: martinlouis2212 Flickr via Compfight cc