If you’re reading this in an open office (and with 70 percent of new offices being open plan, the odds are pretty high), you’re probably familiar with the common issues these layouts bring when designed improperly. Lack of visual privacy, high noise levels, constant distractions and negative effects on productivity are just a few.
As a result of these issues:
- More than one in four (27 percent) had difficulty finding a private area within their office
- One in five (20 percent) people found it hard to effectively complete the work expected of them
- Nearly one in three employees (31 percent) have gone to a closet or hallway to take a phone call, according to ROOM’s Open Office Woes Report
What do disengaged employees mean for the employers they work for? A total of $450 to 550 billion each year in lost productivity, according to Gallup’s Employee Engagement Report.
The solution isn’t more walls. It’s supporting a flexible environment and designing the workplace around employee needs. Productivity can increase on cognitive tasks by 25 percent when people have flexible “empowered offices,” in which they have the freedom to choose where and how they get work done.
We believe that scheduling tools in modern offices can be smarter, and should respond to the user’s goal for creating the meeting in the first place. What do you need to accomplish and who should be there with you? Scheduling tools should serve up the best space suggestions based on the activity.
Activities in Robin
Over the next few months, we’re releasing new ways to schedule a variety of activity types, and map those activities back to the spaces in the workplace which support them.
Finding the “best fit” involves more than just making sure there are enough chairs for the meeting attendees. Suggested spaces also consider the tools or equipment in the room that can support the selected activity. For example, scheduling a video call could return spaces which support video conferencing setups, like Zoom or Skype. And scheduling focus time shows smaller spaces with amenities like whiteboards or soft seating to support heads down work.
Since amenities contribute to smarter activity-based space suggestions, we’re now including amenities with all Robin plans, including Basic.
How Robin Activities work in the calendar extension
The refreshed extension works within familiar workplace scheduling workflows to highlight the best spaces for getting work done based on what you’re looking to do -- a huge leap from the previous version which only highlighted what’s available.
In addition to finding the best fit space, users can do the following:
- Customize your meeting preferences (hours, location) to see the best suggestions
- Add invitees to see what times work for all participants, and see when conflicts are likely to occur
- Search for soonest availability, or plan for further out
- See how many spaces are available for the selected time window in your default location
- Select an activity type based to refine the list of suggested spaces which support that activity
The first batch of activities are found across most job functions in most workplaces, and are launching today within the calendar extension.
1. Meeting: The default option; a scheduled event
2. Video Call: When you need video or audio conferencing tech
3. 1 on 1: When meeting with one other person
4. Focus Time: For extended, uninterrupted work
Over time, expect to see even more flexible spaces highlighted for various types of individual or group work such as desk reservations, presentations, or huddles.