Moving your office space is stressful. You’ve got your own job to worry about and suddenly you’re tasked with relocating your entire office and all its technology.
Before calling an architect or general contractor, here are pro tips that Onepath’s Michael Lane, CTS-D, Director of Commercial Interiors and Audiovisual, wants you to know about moving offices and optimizing your new workspace.
Be Strategic About Your Conference Rooms
Typically, when you move into a new office space, the space is being built just for you. You’re getting the opportunity to say how many conference rooms you need, what size, and how your office should be laid out.
A good technology vendor can help steer you in the right direction early in the process. As more people work remote, the conference room becomes the focal point for enabling extended virtual teams to work together.
You Need More (and Smaller) Conference Rooms Than You Think
As workers become more collaborative and office spaces are designed more openly, the need for conference rooms is growing.
These days, office spaces have trended away from individual offices, towards open floor plans. When two or more people are looking to have a private conversation or quick meeting, they need somewhere to talk—a conference room.
Smaller conference rooms, or “huddle rooms,” that can fit 2-5 people are very valuable to offices with open floor plans; be sure to incorporate them into your design strategically.
Put Your Conference Rooms in the Center of the Building
If you talk to an architect first, they’ll likely suggest putting your conference rooms on the outside of your building, which will drive your AV guy nuts.
Conference rooms around the perimeter of an office contain a lot of glass, which is not conducive to microphones and cameras. Glass causes acoustic reflection, so the sound is not optimal in rooms encased in glass.
For video, have you ever tried to take a picture of someone with the sun behind them? They’re back-lit and difficult to see. The same effect happens in a conference room with a glass wall at the end of the room. The reflecting light makes it difficult to see people’s faces.
Instead of lining your heavily used conference room on the perimeter, think about designing your conference rooms in the interior of your office space. After all, when people are in a meeting, they don’t really need a great view. You want them to pay attention to the meeting.
Save the perimeter areas for individual work. Natural light has been shown to improve workplace performance and the rest of your workers will appreciate having a good view.
Moving Offices Is a Great Time to Upgrade Your AV
You may be planning for your new office to last 10-15 years, but quality AV equipment gets about 5 years of use before it’s outdated. As you move in your new space, start with new AV equipment.
Consider These New Trends in AV Design
Large flat panel displays are increasingly popular in office space design. TV sizes and resolution continue to increase as prices fall, making them a great choice for everything from huddle rooms to entrances, especially when combined with branded video.
Meetings increasingly include virtual participants as more people work remotely. Be sure to include high quality audio and microphones on both ends so you can hear clearly and be heard.
Ensure that your content can be shared seamlessly with remote participants. That means choosing between Bluetooth, wireless, or USB connections instead of a dial-in phone connection. There is also a range of multi-function integrated devices for small huddle rooms, as well as custom integration options for more complex spaces. Either way you go, remember that the technology should be optimized and custom designed to suit your businesses needs.
If you consider that the primary function of an office is for people to work together, AV is critical to your new space. Take the time to learn what’s available, think about how your people will work together in the new space, and plan your AV as part of your overall moving budget.