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Optimizing Office Space with AV Solutions

The economy may be largely unpredictable, but one thing is certain - companies will be placing a bigger priority on optimizing office space going forward. The pandemic-driven interruption of in-office work lingers, and many businesses realize that there's no going back to 2019. Now that companies are relying on in-office employees less, their space needs are changing. Fewer onsite employees mean fewer workstations, and fewer workstations means businesses are paying for a lot of space that's not being used. As companies lessen their physical footprint, though, they may lose the room they need for meetings and collaboration. Here, we'll detail a handful of AV solutions that can help your organization do more with the space that’s available.

Businesses are Facing an Office Space Crunch

Since the 2020 pandemic, office occupancy rates have plunged. Prior to March 2020, occupancy rates were over 95 percent. In March 2020, those occupancy rates fell to under 20 percent. Since, the rebound has been modest, with less than 50 percent of office space being utilized. That's according to data published in the Wall Street Journal. Unsurprisingly, SMBs all the way up to enterprises are physically condensing. It's affecting nearly every industry to some extent and exacerbated by economic uncertainty. If your organization is among the many that needs to streamline its office space, AV solutions can facilitate this approach. Whether you need to transform compact meeting spaces into collaborative hubs or optimize an open office floor plan, you've got options with AV.

Three AV Solutions That Can Help a Company Go Hybrid and Optimize its Space

Since the AV industry became the AV industry, its focus has been on improving the way organizations communicate. This is still true today, where AV is now vital for supporting remote and hybrid offices. Hybrid offices are of particular note because they represent an effective middle ground between full remote and full onsite organizations. Many organizations already rely on a mix of remote and onsite employees, and it's likely that many more will have to transition to hybrid setups to remain competitive in their industry. AV solutions are a natural fit for hybrid-minded organizations, especially among those that need to condense their unused office space. Here are three solution that offer superior functionality in space-limited buildings:

All-in-one Video Conferencing Bars

All-in-one video conferencing bars, like the Poly Studio, are designed for focus rooms, huddle rooms and small meeting rooms. They're extremely compact and include almost all the essential conferencing components - camera, microphones, and speakers - in a single piece of hardware. This hardware can be placed on a shelf or directly mounted to the wall, making for a clutter-free meeting experience, no matter the room's size. All you need is a display to pair with the video bar. Poly's Studio line of all-in-one bars is available in several models, for several room sizes. The Studio P15 is designed for focus and huddle rooms, and the P30 is designed for huddle rooms and small meeting rooms. Poly has models for larger meetings rooms, but the P15 and P30 work nicely in tighter spaces. In addition to their compact build, simple installation and even simpler operation, Poly's Studio bars come with the brand's much-lauded audio preservation features. This includes NoiseBlock AI and Acoustic Fence, both of which identify undesirable audio during conferencing and block it from interfering.

Room Scheduling Solutions

There are numerous room scheduling solutions available to organizations, almost all of them software-based. However, room scheduling solutions can be integrated with other AV technologies, such as small screens, interactive displays, or wayfinding solutions. With a room scheduling solution in place, your workers can search for available conference rooms without stepping away from their desks. They can also reserve an available conference room for a certain time and instantly send out invites to everyone involved. Most room scheduling options can also be paired with popular calendars, including Google Calendar, so spots are automatically reserved on everyone's schedule. Small displays and wayfinding displays can really unlock the potential of room scheduling software. Stick a touchscreen outside every conference room and they can be used to alert others when a room is reserved and what the meeting is about. Pair room scheduling with an interactive display and employees can use it to select a room through an interactive map.

Sound Masking Systems

Sound masking systems are an ideal fit in open office layouts, where many employees may share a single space. In this kind of environment, finding a private area to hold a meeting can be a challenge, especially for companies that are downsizing and don't have a bunch of rooms to spare. A sound masking solution divides an open space into zones using nothing but white noise. In short, sound masking covers up the noise that other people are making nearby. If a sound could be heard 50 or 60 feet away normally, for example, then a sound masking system may reduce this distance to 15 feet or less. It's a way of establishing conversational privacy without actually having a wall in place. With sound masking technology, you can divide up a large space into multiple smaller ones without investing in physical dividers. If your open office is moving to a hybrid office model, sound masking can be used to establish multiple meeting spaces without the need for additional rooms.

Businesses are Doing More With Less, and AV Technology Can Support That Mission

The office space landscape is changing, with organizations squeezing every last bit of value out of every last square foot. If your business also needs to get more from its people and spaces, AV technologies are proven productivity and collaboration boosters. Certified AV integrators are experts in hybrid offices and the technologies used to support them. If your organization is transitioning to a hybrid model - or just condensing to reduce your real estate footprint - a certified integrator can design, install and support your new AV solutions.