Whether you’re upgrading your office, moving locations, or building a new office space, picking out the furniture is an important step.
It impacts the flow of business and how your employees interact with the space. But if you’re thinking about furniture, it’s important to begin planning your workspace technology too.
Workspace technology is a mainstay in offices. As the world becomes more connected, AV technology is more critical than ever. Employees video conference with remote offices. Marketers showcase dynamic ads on video walls. Digital signage displays a dashboard with real-time business analytics to employees. Executives want to wirelessly present seamlessly. All while IT’s managing bandwidth, security, and futureproofing.
It’s all part of the environment that keeps businesses running.
But workplace AV is still an afterthought in many cases. Delaying technology decisions until later in the project can lead to higher costs, delays and systems that aren’t ready when your team moves in.
Here’s 3 reasons why you should be planning your workspace technology at the same time you’re planning office furniture.
If you’re starting to plan your office furniture, you are likely early in the infrastructure phase too. It’s important to consult an AV partner before infrastructure is started. Your AV partner will identify where key technology infrastructure will be required. There’s nothing worse than slowing down the process because AV hasn’t had the chance to specify power and network drops.
Your AV partner provides the construction teams with AV drawings. This will help avoid additional costs associated with drilling into freshly poured concrete or getting the electricians back on-site for additional power drops.
AV design and integration is complex. And while it’s our job to make it easy for you, there’s a lot that goes into quality design and execution. People can be surprised to learn the process is much more than picking up a TV from a big-box store. Creating professional workspace technology environments takes trained professionals and a well-thought-out process.
The AV team will conduct a site visit or look at architectural drawings to get a sense of the space. They’ll take time with your team to understand how you intend to use the technology systems. They may also ask about what didn’t work with legacy systems and how you rank system functionality.
Next, they’ll create a scope of work and budget. This may take a few iterations if there’s ambiguity among your internal project teams. Once you sign the proposal, designs are finalized, ordering begins, and drawings are completed. Then it’s off to programming. An AV Programmer develops the user interface which controls each element of the system through the touch panel. Only after all that is done can installation begin. After the installation, a commissioner will go on-site to test the systems. If any of your technology requires network connection (most does), they’ll need your network up in order to configure the systems. Which brings us to the third reason you need to plan AV systems at the same time as furniture.
Where does the AV experience rank in your office space priorities? If AV is an afterthought there may not be enough budget leftover to get the system you want… and that meets the C-Suite’s expectations.
If you’re planning furniture you should also be getting a ROM, or rough price estimate, from your AV partner. This arms you with a ballpark budget based on the scope you describe. It offers a better understanding of the investment needed to make your workspace technology vision a reality. The ROM conversation may also bring to light additional needs, like sound masking or room schedulers, that you hadn’t thought of before.
Without adequate budget, you may find yourself having to cut back on your workspace technology. This can mean settling for a system with less functionality then your employees need or trade-off decisions, like prioritizing between ease-of-use and system flexibility, to meet a lower price threshold.
All of these options can diminish your employee’s experience and the effectiveness of the solution within your workflow. Moreover, if your internal project sponsor isn’t consulted with these changes, there may be ongoing frustration around why the system doesn’t function like they thought it would.
If you’re beginning to plan the furniture for your new workspace now is the time to start talking to an AV partner. Get workspace technology experts to the table early. They’ll help align timelines, deadlines, and budgets – all critical to your project success.
For those looking for help outside our corner of the nation, you can reach out to one of our PSNI partners that serve your area.