Employees Want More Interactive Approach To Workplace Problems

Survey respondents note challenges with existing meeting room collaboration tools, potential for better engagement and productivity with more immersive technology.

Employees indicate a strong desire for more immersive interaction with teams and information in order to solve business problems, according to a recent survey conducted by Oblong Industries, pioneers of interactive, spatial operating environments for the new era of collaborative work.

The company conducted the survey at this year’s Integrated Systems Europe (ISE) conference, one of the largest AV and systems integration shows in the world with over 73,000 attendees. Close to 89% of those polled “agree” or “strongly agree” that engaging with information in a more interactive and immersive way would help complex business problem solving.

The Need for Immersive Collaboration

As defined in the survey, immersive collaboration includes spatial, multi-dimensional, and interactive components. Only about half (52%) of survey respondents said their existing office collaboration system is immersive, yet respondents also estimated immersive collaboration could drive a 65% improvement in productivity during meetings.

collaborative work
Photo: Oblong Industries

When asked whether their employer offers the right collaboration tools to work effectively with remote team members to solve complex business problems, the most commonly selected response (39%) was “neutral.” This suggests that while organizations may be providing some level of technology for distributed teams, it may be an incomplete toolset that still leaves room for enhancement.

“Knowledge teams continue to be more and more distributed,” said Lilian Bories, VP Marketing at Oblong. “Empowering employees to work at 100% productivity regardless of where they happen to be sitting is the only way businesses can fully maximize talent. Collaborative technology that gives staff the same level of video and content connectedness in or out of the office is critical. These solutions must provide seamless and complete connectedness with content for these distributed participants.”

Maximizing Meetings And Talent

Forty-two percent of respondents said their biggest challenge with their meeting room technology today is technical delays in starting the meeting. This indicates the need for collaboration solutions that provide seamless connectivity, as well as easy-start technology that doesn’t require a lengthy, involved ignition process.

In addition to the technology that powers meetings, the people involved in the meetings is also changing. Today’s workforce is largely made up of millennials who are bringing forth a new set of workplace expectations. On engaging this audience, 52% of survey respondents said they believe flexible working (remote work, work/life balance) is the most important aspect. Twenty nine percent said energizing workspaces, including the latest technology, was most important.

Smaller Group Meetings Yield High Value Output

Respondents indicated the increasing frequency of important planning and decision making meetings taking place in small groups (2-6 people). For meetings focused on timely decision making and/or issue resolution, over 95% of respondents said at least half of these take place in small groups. Ninety-four percent of respondents also noted that at least half of their meetings focused on project advancement take place in small groups.

“Smaller size rooms including huddle rooms are becoming increasingly common in businesses of all sizes,” said Bories. “Frequently, the best ideas surface outside of formal board room-style settings and instead arise in more casual environments. According to Wainhouse Research, there are more than 45 million small and medium meeting rooms around the world. These spaces should encourage collaboration and participation. Immersive technology that inspires and engages multiple participants is the best way to facilitate the creativity these spaces have come to be known for. ”