The productivity gap is a growing concern among businesses everywhere and those truly engaged are looking for new ways to increase the per hour output of employees. But crucially, productivity requires value not just speed.

Helping employees work efficiently is one thing but increasing the quality of their work is another. A key target for improvement is ‘the meeting’. Everyone knows the stress of time wasting in a poorly planned meeting. And this is amplified on remote calls where ideas can be hard to follow.

Digital tech has already changed the way we work and reimagined the modern office, including our Canadian colleagues. Remote working from multiple locations is logistically easier than ever before. But the innovation of new technologies like interactive whiteboards (or as they’re becoming known, interactive flat panel displays (IFPDs) is bringing quality collaboration to the workplace.
Having a physical face-to-face discussion has long been the preferred format for a meeting. But, not only can this prove unrealistic in the modern workplace, it is also in generational decline. Our research here in the UK found that 77% of Baby Boomers prefer it compared to only 58% of Generation Z. A remote meeting using an IFPD is the natural evolution of the physical face-to-face discussion. I believe the ability to create, edit, finalize and share documents while seeing and speaking with fellow attendees has brought us to the era of ‘face-to-face meeting 2.0’. Progressing projects in this way is also a major step in closing the productivity gap.
Developing ideas and sharing knowledge is crucial for business growth. Phone calls, emails and chat tools can bring minds together from different locations. However, all of these methods run into difficulties at scale. We all know the pain of a conference call with too many participants. Late joiners, accidental mute buttons and poor signal can all ruin a remote meeting. But as businesses grow, group communication becomes essential.
Similarly these methods fail to capture the true strengths of face-to-face knowledge sharing. New technology can fill this gap. High-spec IFPDs help businesses collaborate efficiently as they grow. Built-in visual communication is crucial for enabling long-distance interaction. It’s easier to participate and follow visual cues when you’re on screen for all to see.
The functionality of the interactive whiteboard brings remote meetings vividly to life – forget the iterations you may have seen during your university years. But what are the more practical benefits of having a whiteboard in the workplace?
There’s little joy in joining a meeting armed with a batch of files you may or may not use. Interactive flat panels enable the presenter to share, discuss and annotate multiple documents in real time. Attendees can even receive the updated files before the meeting is over as the presenter can send an email directly from the board. After all, who wouldn’t want to travel light to and from meetings? Clusters of colleagues interacting with a whiteboard also ensures a captive audience to ‘stay and play’ with the device post-meeting. Those in the room can continue the conversation while developing their understanding of an intuitive and powerful device –sharpening their skills to participate in and lead even more engaging future sessions.

Strong businesses are built on relationships. This is as true now as it’s ever been. Business leaders must embrace modern workstyles but preserve teamwork and a collaborative spirit. That’s no small task. Without regular contact it is hard to develop a sense of unity and collective purpose. Face–to-face interaction is essential. IFPDs bring this to the international and decentralized businesses of the modern world.

For the latest Ricoh InfoComm 2018 news as well as products and services coming soon to Canada, check out AV Nation’s recent coverage:
1. Ricoh Rethinks Customer Experience With Smooth Collaboration Service (June 19, 2018)
2. Ricoh Refocuses on the End user (June 20, 2018)