With a blank canvas for an office space, the sky’s the limit. You’ve got a great opportunity to put your company’s stamp on a space and really reflect and amplify your business’ ethos through the layout, design and, crucially, functionality of your new office.
But where do you start? In this article, we’ll talk you through the business essentials, such as display screens, communication and connectivity solutions and collaboration tools that will have your office fully equipped and up and running ready to welcome clients in no time. Then it’s over to you to apply the tools to your office to create a space that helps drive productivity and creativity levels to the max.
While the layout of your office floor space will dictate the design and layout of your meeting rooms to an extent, there are certain things that you will want to prioritise and create if the space allows and what these will be depend on how your company and employees work. If you’re encouraging collaboration in the workplace and are an advocate of spontaneous team work, distributing huddle rooms or even ‘meeting pods’ throughout will help encourage this spontaneous approach to work in your team.
By definition, huddle rooms are designed to promote small, often ad hoc group brainstorming sessions. For maximum flexibility, these small rooms need to packed with agile AV and compact conferencing equipment, should your team need to jump onto a call or hold a spontaneous brainstorm - you can’t predict when the best ideas will strike after all.
So when you’re starting from scratch with a new office space why not swap the traditional cumbersome A1 flipchart for a digital equivalent - the touchscreen? Screens like the InFocus J Touch DigiEasel INF4030 offer excellent functionality on large interactive displays with very competitive price tags. Ticking the boxes for both a huddle room and a digital signage solution, this particular screen can operate either in portrait or landscape, so group annotation should be a doddle regardless of your office layout.
Screens like this are great in huddle rooms; they really help drive collaboration. If you’re considering one for your new office space then look out for screens that offer multiple touchpoint solutions for the ultimate flexibility to enable your team to get involved.
Don’t forget to talk to your teams and think about how people will use this kind of new technology. How are they going to connect to the screen? What kinds of input devices will they be using? How many people will be working on the screen at once? Screens like the InFocus J Touch DigiEasel INF4030 or the slightly larger InFocus J Touch INF6502WBAG allow full touch control for a PC, Mac, laptop or Chromebook on the main display by connecting via HDMI or VGA. Meanwhile the CleverTouch solutions offer front-mounted USB connections that will allow anyone with an Android or Windows phone or tablet to just connect straight to the display.
It all depends what your team work with (and what you want your team to work with).
As the engine room for your new office, your boardroom is a different beast to the huddle rooms that your team will be using on a daily basis. For the vast majority of businesses, kitting out the boardroom is about providing a space that is sufficiently professional and formal that it will meet the requirements and needs of internal members of the team and the expectations of external guests, clients and investors.
Directors and board members will need this space to come together to drive the progress of the business. And, as leaders in different departments will each have their own requirements and working styles for their area of expertise, the boardroom will need to facilitate these by offering high quality and agile audio visual solutions to match.
For detailed financial reporting and studying statistics in-depth, the boardroom’s central display will need to be at least a Full HD display – so a screen with a 1080p resolution, like the Sharp PN-R603 is a good place to start. The 60-inch Sharp PN-R603 screen also supports PIP, or a picture-in-picture mode, which enables two screens from separate sources to be visible on one screen. This functionality is great for sharing content from different team members who might be using their own personal devices to share their content to the main screen.
But if you really want to drive collaboration in the boardroom - and remember it might not just be the directors who use this space but senior management too - then content sharing solutions will enable multiple devices to sync to the main display at once, wirelessly. Tools like the Awind WePresent WiPG2000 or Barco ClickShare CSC-1 for example support a range of operating systems, using Apple AirPlay for iOS products, or through a free app that enables both Android and Apple devices to sync to the main screen.
They also have HD output – up to 1080p for Awind WePresent WiPG2000 or 4K UHD for the ClickShare CSC-1 – so the latter is a particularly good option if you’ve invested in a 4K screen and you want to get the most out of it for looking at detailed spreadsheets or presenting high definition video pitches to investors.
Solutions like Barco ClickShare are also scalable, so a lower range package would be ideal for a smaller huddle room. However, if you needed to upgrade to pair more laptops to a meeting room display, you can add extra ClickShare buttons that plug into a laptop via a USB port and connect with the Barco base unit. It’s worth considering however, that only Barco’s top of the range products support AirPlay mirroring, but remember the free app should be enough to support most iOS or Android devices.
Wireless content sharing solutions are also ideal if you’re structuring operations in your new office to encourage a BYOD (bring your own device) culture. Also at this stage, anything flexible and scalable is a good buy; your office space is new, do you really know exactly how you will be using it in 18 months’ time? Keep your options open with equipment your team can get used to using now and in the future.
With a new office space it’s tempting to get carried away with the ‘big ticket’ items like the main display screen, but don’t forget the connectivity and cables you need to get your purchases up and running.
If you want to narrow down your selection of cables then focus on HDMI; this is one of the most common connectors for linking a display screen with another input device, be it a PC, or portable smartphone with a mini-HDMI port.
HDMI cables are the big favourite because they also carry sound so they’re an essential addition to any meeting space and generally still the ‘go to’ choice that most employees will expect to find and plug in with when they walk into a new meeting room. Earlier versions of HDMI cables do have some limitations however when it comes to connecting higher resolution screens so be sure you buy a more recent specification of HDMI cable that supports screen resolutions of 3,840 x 2,160 pixels, more commonly known as 4K ultra high-definition, or 4K UHD.
Then there’s VGA – Video Graphics Array connectors. These are an earlier forms of connector that supports an analogue connection. They can, however, support high image quality of up to 1,920 x 1,080 pixels so they’re still a useful connector to have in your huddle room kit, but they will tend to only be used with PCs or some laptops.
With the basics in hand for your team’s collaborative workspaces, don’t forget that audiovisual investments can really make a difference in other areas too. Many a first impression will be formed at the company's reception, so as well as ensuring your team are on point when welcoming new clients or contacts, look at the screens and displays you have installed here to ensure they have the impact you want.
Digital signage displays are a great focal point. Not only will they keep waiting guests occupied before a meeting, but they can showcase your business’ case studies and examples of previous work. This is especially beneficial for a marketing or advertising agency - who knows, maybe you’ll even get an upsell.
A showreel of previous campaigns on a display like the Samsung PH55F will deliver high impact presentations thanks to a 1,920 x 1,080 pixel resolution. This high resolution display delivers images with precision and clarity effortlessly, powered by an onboard graphics engine that ensures a seamless transition between each media asset.
You really want to be looking at digital signage solutions that offer an advanced content management system built in so you can easily set and edit content schedules to run throughout the day. View the full range of display solutions here to find the specifications and screen size to suit your reception.
The above offers three key areas of focus for your new office: team workspace, boardroom meeting space and those all important first impressions. Can we say which one you need to start with? Well, no, that’s down to you to prioritise. But we can say that time spent talking to your team and documenting their requirements in conjunction with the workplace culture you wish to cultivate will ensure that the purchases you make for your new office space will not only slot into your team’s daily working routine, but will also enhance it with new levels of productivity.
If you’d like additional guidance on how to set up your new space using the most agile office solutions, our team is available to offer their expertise to get your newly refurbished business off to a flying start.