With the right collaboration tools, companies can help boost productivity, while facilitating teamwork and enabling cross-departmental engagement. According to Metrigy in its "Employee Experience & Workplace Engagement: 2022-23" global research study of 250 companies, these are three top values of collaboration apps.
Equally as important to creating a positive employee experience are the devices put in place to support collaborative work. Video equipment is particularly important with video meetings being so critical today for collaboration among hybrid workforces and between employees and external parties. In Metrigy's employee experience study, most companies identified video meeting equipment, such as webcams and desktop video devices, as important to their employee experience strategies. Professional-grade headsets and earbuds are also on the list, as are more traditional devices, like speakerphones and even desk phones.
Let's explore how to use collaboration devices to boost employee experience.
1. Use collaboration device data to understand employee behavior
Video meeting devices, like their application counterparts, can be a great source of data that companies can use to understand employee behavior. Already nearly 41% of organizations are using or planning to use data from collaboration devices to determine employee engagement, with 43% evaluating the potential, according to Metrigy's research. From collaboration devices, companies can gather metrics such as number of hourly and daily meetings, average number of attendees per meeting, and average and total meeting duration.
To get the most out of collaboration device data, IT should work in conjunction with other business leaders, particularly HR, in pulling together this new source of data with traditional HR-oriented data sources, such as voice-of-employee surveys, for a big-picture view on employee engagement and experience.
Doing so, for example, enables companies to gain insight by correlating time spent in meetings with key business metrics. Is team productivity dropping as time spent in meetings per day increases? If productivity improvements are a key metric, then this could be problematic. On the other hand, a drop in average meeting time could signal a decrease in engagement, and that may be undesirable. Being able to see these relationships can guide decision-making.
So, don't just collect the data -- take action on it. This may seem somewhat of a no-brainer, but Metrigy research consistently shows many companies stop short on data usage. Some only collect data, while others analyze collected data, but fewer collect, analyze and take action. In the above cases, knowing there's a potential issue isn't enough. To address a drop in productivity, for example, companies can set policies on meeting duration, mandate breaks between meetings or institute no-meeting days.
2. Take the hassle out of starting in-room meetings
Walking into a meeting space and figuring out how to launch the in-room video conferencing system can be daunting, especially if the devices and startup procedures vary room to room. IT can reduce this burden and improve the experience by deploying video conferencing systems that support one-click-to-join to a primary meeting app.
Examples of video conferencing systems supporting one-click-to-join include Cisco Webex Rooms, Google Meet hardware kit, Microsoft Teams Rooms and Zoom Rooms. In Metrigy's "Workplace Collaboration: 2023-24" global research study of 440 companies, 68% of the most successful companies, as determined by cost savings, revenue increase and productivity improvement, are already using one-click-to-join systems.
3. Ensure equity between in-office and at-home meeting participants
Traditional meeting spaces featuring front-of-the-room video conferencing systems aren't optimal for providing at-home participants a view of their colleagues attending in person. That means remote workers can see each other well, but they can only see in-room participants if those attendees are facing the camera or situated in just the right spot at the table. This can lead to disjointed conversations and frustration with the meeting experience. Companies can improve equity with systems that position multiple cameras around the room, with center-room cameras or with a system like Logitech Sight that uses both front-of-room and center-room cameras to achieve fuller meeting space coverage.
Similarly, adding touchscreens to meeting rooms can improve parity among participants by enabling everyone to work together on content and ideation, no matter where they happen to be located. Use of this collaboration technology will grow by approximately 25% in 2023, according to Metrigy's workplace collaboration research. Additionally, those already using in-room touchscreens plan to outfit more meeting spaces, increasing from 47.8% of rooms in 2022 to 64.4%.
4. Enable and encourage employees to avail themselves of wellness features
Some unified communications device management software offers the ability for users to set wellness prompts. With Poly Lens App, for example, users can set reminders to give their eyes a rest from screen time, get up and move about, or drink some water.
From desktop devices to personal wearables and in-room systems, employees use collaboration devices throughout the day. Understanding how they're interacting with these devices, as well as knowing which truly enhance the work they can do, should be a priority for any company looking to create a more engaged workforce and create a positive employee experience.