What can we learn from the perfect meeting?
Fast, unscheduled meetings are coming into their own. The boardroom is no longer the only base for decision-making. Workers are increasingly facilitating short, democratic get-togethers that focus energies and value ideas.
Cloud-based applications, along with other productivity services which enable fluid, more spontaneous collaboration, are changing the way workers get things done – particularly in large enterprises where encouraging proactive creativity can be a challenge.
But technology changes every day, and people’s expectations with it.
Spontaneity, adaptability, agility and the fast exchange of ideas are increasingly prized. But businesses must be ready to meet the technical expectations of their workforce if they want employees to continue to share their skills and knowledge at every opportunity.
It all comes down to understanding how people prefer to work – and work together. As part of our commitment to improving collaboration, we researched the perfect meeting and came away with some surprising insights.
Bring your own
Almost everyone carries computers around with them in the shape of smartphones, tablets, netbooks as well as laptops. So, the idea of leaving all this equipment and their essential software tools and apps at the door and picking up another set when you enter the workplace seems faintly ridiculous.
Yet this is what many workplaces ask their employees to do every day.
It’s no surprise, then, that according to our poll a staggering 96% of Millennials use, or prefer to use, their own device at work. This could be because:
|They know where everything is on their own device|
|They’re familiar with the apps on it|
|They don’t trust the efficiency of the company device they’ve been offered|
|They don’t think their company device will do what they want it to do (without hassle)|
|They want to be able to take their work with them and contribute away from the office|
This last point raises alarm bells for many. Allowing employees to bring their own devices has implications for data security.
But, to be truly agile, companies must enable fluid and efficient collaboration, and this involves recognizing that seamless digital access is the norm.
Enthusiastic and inspired workers want to contribute when they can 24/7, from wherever they are, not just in the office. So, investing in collaboration technology that encourages people to bring their own devices, but which manages the risks of doing so, allows employers to build relationships of trust with workers which can lead to more proactive, engaged contributions.
That remote working is on the rise is not news. But the fact that on average each employee works in four different locations – not just home or the office – is significant.
From parks to hotels, customer premises to co-working spaces, airports to coffee shops, nowadays people work wherever they feel comfortable, and wherever they have the opportunity.
There are security implications with this of course. But, beyond that, this means that company sharing technologies need to be ‘agnostic’ and not bound to a room system.
In fact, with the right collaboration tools in place, proximity and location don’t even need to affect the perfect meeting.
We know that people prefer short meetings. After all, the brain’s working memory capacity is a maximum of four facts at once, after which it literally ‘stops listening’1.
Plus, even the most dedicated employee would admit to finding it a challenge to keep the momentum going after a two hour meeting.
But what about how and where these meetings happen?
Two thirds of employees say that informal areas where groups of people can sit or stand together, called ‘huddle spaces’, are the best places to have productive brainstorms. Huddle spaces may well be the perfect meeting venues, especially when we consider that this figure rises to 74% among Millennials – only 7% of whom favor a regular meeting room.
We’ve seen this rise in popularity of huddle spaces happening for a while, but such high figures should be enough to persuade businesses to think about incorporating huddle spaces in their office layouts, if they haven’t already, and to focus their technology investments in this area.
Workstyles are changing fast, and it’s the workforce that’s driving things. Employees of all ages are increasingly used to seamless tech experiences in their personal lives and expect them everywhere they interact or have an impact. If workers come into offices and find obstacles to connectivity within the walls which they don’t experience in their connected lives, they’re going to have their conversations elsewhere – and businesses might miss out on their contributions.
Ultimately, collaboration needs to happen between decision makers and workers, as well as between members of the workforce. That means talking to people, finding out how they see the perfect meeting, and helping them thrive.
Discover what works for your employees, and your business. Invest in people-centric sharing technologies that help everyone stay agile, whether with their own devices or the company’s, and respond to every opportunity – wherever they are.
 Dr. Daniel Levitin / Manoush Zomorodi, TED2017
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