With 79% of employees saying they always or frequently work in dispersed teams (source: HBR), facility managers can no longer meet the communication needs of their workforce with tables, chairs, and couches. Implementing reliable and intuitive collaboration solutions that can enable in-office employees to better team up with remote colleagues is indispensable in bridging communication gaps.

This is why many facility managers are implementing video collaboration solutions in conjunction with innovative office designs to enable better engagement and help amplify innovation among a distributed workforce. Such designs not only improve overall communication workflows within functional departments, but can also mimic many of the in-office behaviors employees are familiar with.

An example is with Steelcase, a leading office furniture manufacturing company, and their distinctive approach with bringing people, space, and information together, regardless of their location. Steelcase developed a unique solution called media:scape® — a convenient and reliable workstation that uses video collaboration as a key component to connect employees in a fast and hassle-free environment.

Steelcase believes that the detachment virtual and remote office employees feel from the headquarters office environment and staff can be a hindrance to innovation. The media:scape portfolio of solutions addresses this challenge by ensuring that the video collaboration experience is akin to walking over to a colleague’s desk to start a conversation.

To help paint this picture, media:scape produces a “walk-up and connect” type of experience using their innovative PUCK™ (Personal User Control Key). Imagine this, an employee enters a suite with cafe-like chairs and pulls a PUCK out of the countertop. He or she then proceeds to connect the device to a laptop and with a simple click of a button the videoconferencing begins.

The simplicity of Steelcase’s innovative technology and unique furniture layout options transforms the traditional conference room environment to a virtual replica of in-office hallway conversations and impromptu discussions. As a result, the in-office and remote teams form a stronger bond with one another in a more relaxed and casual setting, which leads to greater collaboration, creativity and innovation.

Facility teams can create a multitude of benefits by creating these spaces for teams across the organization. Within marketing departments for instance, the use of a unique collaboration solution in an informal setting can transform the communication flow to generate fresh ideas regardless of location.

An example is with Oak Lawn Marketing, a Japanese branding and media enterprise with employees and clients from Japan and overseas. Much like any other firm, the company is composed of different functional departments, such as marketing, finance, and human resources. These departments need to efficiently communicate among each other, especially with people spread across various regions. This is why the firm chose to implement video and voice collaboration solutions as a means to enhance communication workflows and create natural conversations among dispersed teams and departments.

To capitalize on this experience, Oak Lawn Marketing switched from its legacy systems to leverage solutions from Polycom, Microsoft, and Steelcase to create simple and intuitive communications for their teams.

According to Yuki Kawai, deputy director of human resources and general affairs at Oak Lawn Marketing, “We want to have meetings in an open space where everyone can join the conversation. As a result, many people can participate in meetings, which sparks new ideas.”

By implementing these changes, Oak Lawn Marketing is able to ensure higher quality of communication and better employee engagement takes place. And the use of quality enterprise video conferencing is helping many departments improve existing communication workflows.

The marketing department for instance, uses videoconferencing to share how new product roll-outs and training should be handled in call centers. These videos can be stored and accessed on-demand by employees and training managers for when they need them.

While facility teams face an array of challenges, implementing a facility design to improve communication across dispersed teams doesn’t need to be one of them. By leveraging quality and easy to use video conferencing solutions in a comfortable environment, facility teams can spark spontaneous collaboration between in-office and remote employees, and transform communication workflows within departments.