4 Easy Steps to Refresh Your Office Collaboration Technology

Problematic collaboration technology leaves co-workers frustrated and productivity lagging. Use these tips to refresh your tech tools.

Nothing derails a meeting faster than missing cables, problem projectors or sluggish software. Wrangling with collaboration tech items during meetings creates a range of work issues, according to research from Barco. Almost a quarter of employees have missed a deadline due to defunct technology, and 90 percent of office workers experience tech-related stress in meetings.

As an office administrator, you’re likely one of the first people your team notifies about tech issues. Now is the perfect time for a tech reset to boost productivity. Use the following steps to review and refresh your office’s collaboration tools.

Step 1: Assess Tech Problems

The first step in resolving tech issues is to know exactly what needs to be fixed. Conduct an office-wide review to spot current and potential problems and create a list to log issues you discover. Start in the meeting rooms by looking at video projectors, sound equipment, phones, wiring and computers. Check to make sure each item is working properly and that there is no damage that could keep it from functioning correctly.

Next, reach out to your colleagues and ask them to let you know of any collaboration tech problems they’ve noticed, both in meeting areas and at individual workstations. If there is an issue, have them demonstrate it so that you’re clear on what the exact problem is. This will help ensure you order the right tool or device to solve the problem.

Step 2: Work With IT

Once you’ve pinpointed the tech issues, enlist the help of IT team members to determine if you need to make a repair, upgrade versions or buy a new device. With the IT team’s input, you can make a stronger case to decision makers for why certain items need to be updated or replaced.

Here are some common problems and potential solutions that you can work with the IT team to implement:

  • Screen struggles: Without a working projector or display screen, teams lose their focal point during meetings. A large flat-screen television or up-to-date projector that clearly shows what is being presented keeps attendees’ attention and boosts collaboration.
  • Poor sound: Top-notch visuals won’t be any good without quality sound. Speakers that emit clear audio and microphones that pick up voices in the conference room ensure that everyone is heard. For desk meetings, give employees headphones in advance for remote attendance.
  • Unclear images: Dim lighting, glare or low-quality cameras can put a damper on video conferences. External cameras offer better resolution, and a wide-angle camera lets remote participants see all attendees.

Step 3: Add Supporting Items

Get the most out of larger collaboration tech devices by stocking up on smaller items that support their capabilities. Include enough cables and cords, batteries for remotes, and chargers and adapters that are compatible with Apple, Windows and Android devices.

Along with hardware, look for opportunities to update collaboration software to versions that support your company’s needs:

  • Do your co-workers often need to have side discussions during video conferences? Look for software that offers private or group chat functionality that gives them a way to talk and exchange ideas during a meeting.
  • Do meetings frequently involve remote participants, like clients, contractors or traveling co-workers? Investigate cloud-based conferencing tools that everyone can dial or log into without having to download software.
  • Are team members using a hodgepodge of different conferencing apps to hold meetings? Designate one virtual meetings app to eliminate compatibility issues and reduce confusion.
  • Do you need to share content or screens during meetings? Select software that simplifies these tasks and allows attendees to easily switch screen sharing control.

Step 4: Make the Most of the Investment

To get everyone on board with updated collaboration technology, host training sessions to run through a demo and educate your co-workers on how to use the new items. You can also reach out to the technology vendor or manufacturer to see if someone from their organization can provide training. Store user manuals in a central location for easy access.

As the office administrator, you’ll most likely be the troubleshooter for problems with the new items, so practice exploring the functions and features of the new devices. When everyone is on board and happy with the new tech, you can move forward in a more productive and collaborative office.