Remote workspaces, hybrid offices, virtual meetings. The office environment has changed dramatically in recent years, accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
But what will the future hold for the workplace? What can companies do to transform their office to retain quality staff members and recruit new employees?
Gary Kayye believes it's about creating an experience. Kayye, the managing director of The Rave Agency, was the keynote speaker at the E4 Experience conference hosted by Exertis Almo May 3 in Chicago. Kayye founded the Rave Agency, a media company that follows the AV and digital signage industry, in 1999. Along with a background in public speaking, Kayye has been teaching advertising and marketing classes at the University of North Carolina for more than 13 years.
Kayye's E4 Experience presentation, "The Future of Workspaces Is All About Experience," highlighted some of the advantages and challenges of current workplace models. But he focused much of his talk on how to connect with younger employees, especially those who've spent most of their lives consumed by screens and digital technology. Kayye also emphasized how the shift to remote and hybrid work has become very popular with millennials and Gen Z employees. Many businesses, if they haven't already, will have to adapt to a flexible workplace model to keep reeling in younger staffers, Kayye said.
When Kayye was beginning his sales and marketing career in the late 1980s, bosses encouraged him to golf with prospective clients. Kayye was terrible at golf, but that wasn't the point. A few hours on the links helped him forge a relationship with future clients. They got to know Kayye on a personal level.
"You got to know customers through in-person interactions," he said. "Now, young people forge relationships through texting or maybe it's through SnapChat. They can have a whole conversation through instant messaging."
Kayye said employees, enjoying the comforts of working remotely, don't have a desire to return to the office. And, with instant messaging platforms like Slack and video conference networks such as Zoom, communication might be different than a tradition office, but important conversations can still flow.
In addition, offices are moving away from the antiquated cubicle setup that never was great for interactions anyway, Kayye believes.
"'Cubicleland' is dead," Kayye said. "Millennials want more work from home opportunities. That's where companies can build audio visual environments that are more conducive to work. They're more comfortable."
Kayye talked about the progression of digital displays and how the technology could prove vital to the future of remote work. The vibrant displays create a sense of immersion, especially designed in a video wall-type format. The viewer may be miles away, but the displays bring the action to them.
"This could be an amazing opportunity to reimagine live events," Kayye said. "That's what we need to sell to customers – how can LED [displays] be used?"
In an office setting, the displays could become go-to technology for hybrid meetings. In the early days of the pandemic, when millions of employees were simply trying to figure out how to use Zoom or Microsoft Teams, meetings were often fraught with bad connections, dropped calls, fuzzy audio or freezing video feeds. With the boom of virtual meetings, however, video technology has improved, more people are comfortable using it, and Kayye thinks the possibilities are exciting and endless.
In order for employees to feel connected, however, and have opportunities to contribute, companies must invest in meeting equity, according to Kayye. The solution: spread large LED displays across meeting rooms to make staffers feel "surrounded" by their co-workers.
"Workplaces have the opportunity now to rethink how to set up meeting rooms," Kayye said. "How do you make me want to come back to work? Offer something that is cool and convenient. Tech is a big part of the solution."
There also needs to be a "wow" factor to impress employees. That comes through more AV integration, Kayye said.
Virtual reality is also likely to transform offices. Kayye thinks, in about two years, the metaverse, a virtual-reality space in which users can interact with a computer-generated environment and other users, is "going to be giant." He said Apple's AR glasses, which promise to synchronize with a wearer's iPhone to display texts, emails, games, maps and other visuals in the line of vision, could change the AV industry. The glasses haven't hit the market yet, but according to multiple news reports, could be out sometime in 2023.
This article was written by Kevin Damask from Digital Signage Today. News Features and was legally licensed through the Industry Dive Content Marketplace. Please direct all licensing questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.