- Following the COVID-19 pandemic, workplaces will be more virtual than ever before.
- Building Covid-secure conference rooms is becoming a priority for businesses, as they prepare for ways to cater to the growing hybrid workforce.
- Check out the below 4 strategies to create a Covid-secure conference room for you and your team.
This article was written by James Dee, Technical Services Specialist at www.adorama.com/abs.
Cubicles and conference rooms may be empty, but don’t let that fool you: Companies and their technology partners are working around the clock to prepare for a Covid-secure workplace that keeps business alive both during and after the pandemic.
Offices have long existed as a way to unify colleagues, bringing a business’ sharpest brains together in the same room for creative brainstorming, strategic thinking, and employee-to-employee mentorship. Emulating these physical connections virtually has been one of many struggles for businesses throughout the pandemic, but it doesn’t have to be so hard.
What does this new workplace normal—a normal that saw 300 million daily Zoom users in April—look like?
Like everything with the pandemic, no one knows for certain.
Some experts guess that even after social-distancing guidelines ease up, companies will have to keep employees at a safe distance. In some cases, that means flex offices that are work-from-home friendly. For other companies, it’s a hybrid workspace with half of a company’s employees in the office on certain days, and the other half in the rest of the week.
However the pandemic work setting plays out, one thing’s for certain: Offices will be more virtual than ever, and it’s up to company leaders to adapt. That’s why the Covid-19 conference room isn’t just a nice-to-have. It’s a must.
Now, this is more than a laptop camera, Zoom, and a string of technical difficulties. The “Covid-secure conference rooms” center on making employees feel like they’re in the room together, no matter the distance. They’re spots where privacy and security aren’t afterthoughts—they’re priorities. And they’re meeting spaces where few if any employees have to ask, “is this thing on?”
Does the Covid-secure conference room sound too good to be true? Sure, but it’s not. Here’s how to build a Covid-secure conference quickly.
1. Smart meetings start with a strong and secure network
The most important piece of advice for business owners and office managers is to invest in a solid network. If you’re going to do higher bandwidth video—which is a trend we’re seeing now—you need to upgrade your network from a bandwidth and security perspective.
It may not be flashy, but security is by and large one of the biggest considerations for a Covid-secure conference room. Just look at Zoom in the early days of the pandemic, when privacy professionals and even the FBI cautioned about Zoom’s lackluster security settings—a prediction that proved itself true all too quickly when “Zoombombers” started hacking into Zoom calls to prank users with explicit content.
If you don’t have a correct network with a nice router, and an access point where security is built in, change it. Plus, if you’re a larger company or a company that has something to lose with intellectual property or patents, you need to secure your network from somebody trying to access it remotely. Security is really important, especially from the standpoint of competitive advantage when leaks could be detrimental to your business.
2. For lifelike virtual meetings, invest in quality cameras and microphones
Companies don’t rent or own office spaces for the fun of it. This unified meeting space brings employees together for brainstorming, collaborative working, team building, presentations, and more. These activities have centered on in-person connection for decades, then poof—the pandemic changed that overnight. As the headlines illustrate, virtual work shows no signs of letting up.
To replicate face-to-face meetings, consider two simple gear updates: high-quality cameras and microphones.
There are a lot of companies now using higher-resolution cameras that have better low-light capability. You can even use PTZ tracking cameras that follow a person as they’re conversing. Beyond that, you can have multiple cameras working together, which is critical since people are going to be situated throughout the room. These switch from camera to camera as people speak, similar to microphones on Zoom calls.
Speaking of microphones, be sure to space the tech out across the room, particularly as social distancing remains paramount. Companies with larger conference rooms will need to space people out, and when you do that, you either need more microphones or better microphones distributed across the room.
Another trend among Covid-secure conference rooms is the use of a video wall, or for smaller rooms, high-definition monitors. This lets businesses get the most out of their high-res camera investments while recreating the in-person meeting experience.
3. Cure “technical difficulties” once and for all with employee training
Nothing kills the vibe of a new-business or all-staff meeting like technical difficulties, and with today’s virtual office, tech headaches abound. Nine times out of 10 the issue has something to do with the network. That’s why an employee-wide tech-training program should happen as soon as office updates are in place.
Once the network, gear, and applications are set up, it’s time for a quick training, because technology skills vary across companies. A lot of employers assume once you have the equipment, your teams can log in and go. But there’s always something—you have to download a specific file, or you need to configure it with new wireless settings. Testing is key.
4. A Covid-secure conference room doesn’t have to break the bank
As the pandemic effects shift, companies are reevaluating their budgets and best ways to invest in a full office upgrade. But it doesn’t have to be an all-at-once investment. Many conference-room enhancements are surprisingly affordable, not to mention scalable. That means you can future-proof your meetings and overall business livelihood while weathering the brutal storm that is Covid-19.
And the investment goes beyond a couple meetings per week. Unlike pre-pandemic conference rooms, the Covid-secure conference room can double as a content hub, with the proper technically-sound equipment. Tech investments, including high-quality cameras and powerful microphones can be repurposed for content creation, whether that’s launching a company podcast, creating a niche YouTube series, or hosting thought leadership livestreams to attract potential clients.
We listen. We collaborate. We amaze. Adorama Business Solutions helps businesses, educational institutions and government agencies communicate more vividly, efficiently and effectively with pioneering technology solutions. You’ll work with a dedicated account manager from Day 1, helping you choose the right product solutions for your needs and budget. We offer flexible procurement options, like our Try-Before-You-Buy program, and financing options so you get the gear you need to master your mission. Through our comprehensive suite of Technical Services we help you get the most out of your purchases with us. Adorama Business Solutions is your partner in bringing your creativity to life through technology. Find out more about the benefits of working with Adorama Business Solutions at www.adorama.com/abs