Many companies are adapting their office spaces to meet the new needs of their employees as hybrid and remote work grows in popularity. More so today than ever, the office is a space to connect and collaborate.
When it comes to your office architecture, layout, and design, there’s no detail too big or too small. During an office refresh, it’s critical to consult with an expert partner who can ensure that your AV technology complements your new setup.
Do you really need an AV expert?
You don’t need an AV expert, but without their guidance, you’re far more likely to make design mistakes that cost you time and money.
Here’s where many people misstep. Rather than get an AV expert involved, they turn to an architect or IT professional to lead and advise them. It’s okay to involve these people, but you don’t want them making the final decisions.
Think about it like this. In today’s world, every office and/or meeting space is centered around technology in some way, shape, or form. AV technologists understand the purpose of both the technology and the people in the room. This allows them to bring a function-focused point of view (POV) to the design.
IT professionals, while skilled in many areas, are not always familiar with the subjective nature of AV. Details like acoustics, connectivity style, lighting, and size of displays are not on their radar. And when these details are overlooked upfront, they’re often difficult to implement in the future.
AV, IT, and architects can (and should) collaborate
An AV expert should take the lead on AV-related decisions. However, this doesn’t mean they work alone.
AV and IT professionals must work side by side to ensure efficient installation and effective use. Architects, on the other hand, don’t have nearly as much hands-on involvement.
While they will be involved during the spatial planning process — such as talking about technology placement — they’re not thinking about the practical usage of the technology in the space. So, they don’t think as much about the tactical elements of the project and beyond.
The perfect scenario is a collaborative project team representative of AV experts, IT professionals, interior architects, and end-users to develop spaces that deliver exceptional results in both form and function.
A new office construction project or redesign is no simple undertaking. It requires expertise and insight from multiple professionals, along with a well-designed plan to guide the project from start to finish.
In the end, it’s all the details added up that make for a successful project. When it comes to AV-related matters, these three areas of office construction garner the most attention.
How sound is transmitted in an office in today’s virtual environment can make or break the functionality of the space.
An AV expert will consider how the space will be used along with the acoustics of the room to ensure proper reproduction, reception, and transmission. In many cases where spaces are constructed of highly reflective surfaces, an AV expert can provide solutions that will minimize sound reflections and reverberation.
Consider the problems that could arise from a conference room with poor acoustics. Some people could be able to hear better than others. Sound could escape the room and disturb workers in other areas of the office. And vice versa, exterior elements like air handlers in the ceiling can seriously compromise the room’s sound quality.
There’s more to acoustics than “sound” and only an AV expert can take the reins and help make the best decisions.
- Connectivity flow
Where do people sit within the space? Could this change in the future? How do they connect and use their devices?
While it’s okay to rely heavily on wireless connectivity, it’s not an all-encompassing solution. You must also think about where people can make a physical connection and how it can be done in a clean, efficient, and safe manner.
Let this question guide your connectivity flow decisions: how intuitive is the process when you walk into the room? Everything about the space should be convenient and beneficial to the user experience.
An AV expert will make decisions based on this question. This allows them to design an intuitive space the first time around.
Proper lighting has become more and more important in a post-covid working world where video-based meetings are an everyday occurrence. This means many things, including:
- Choosing the right direction: Strictly overhead lighting isn’t generally the best solution. Work with the project’s architect to ensure that there won’t be awkward shadowing on anyone’s face.
- Preventing glare: With people receiving approximately 85 percent of their information through their sense of sight, there’s no place for glare. This can cause headaches and eye fatigue among other short and long-term health concerns.
- Allowing for adjustments: There are times when a dark room is needed, such as during a presentation. There are also times when more light is required, such as when it’s dark outside and natural light is scarce. Adjustable lighting allows you to customize the space to suit the situation.
The bottom line: There’s no shortage of ways in which the AV experience impacts your office architecture. When it comes time to refresh your current space or build a new space, consulting with an AV expert is a must. A focused AV professional can help you set a realistic budget, answer your questions, and collaborate with your IT team and architect.