Still No Proper Zoom Room?

I've long stated that those salesteams serious about video calling, display - or are super keen to embrace asap - a leaders approach to where videoing takes place.

It seems The Zuck has just discovered this too.

Much is being made of Facebook-owner Meta's freshly tweaked office design.

Take these widely reported remarks of John Tenanes, vice president of global real estate and facilities at Meta;

“What we realised is that, as a result of the pandemic and people working from home, that folks needed an environment to Zoom, to videoconference, and it’s very hard to do in an open office without interrupting other folks.”

Their answer? Out with the completely open-plan. Back in with an updated version of the cubicle.

They nickname their new wavy, sound absorbing, mobile dividers The Cube.

It's almost as if the cult 1999 movie Office Space, Dilbert cartoon strip, and even cheap board pins never happened.

They look trouble.

Moving from the old structures "like a cage almost, with a door", to the new "like a self-cocoon". All hail progress, hey.

Being someone possessed of a naturally loud voice, I know all about the disruptive impact of desk-bound calling. Whether by phone or video. To temper your natural delivery is to ruin your performance. Authenticity shot, expression muted, results stifled.

So I actually welcome this attempt to fix an age-old issue. One given greater prominence in the right here and now.

Whether this specific innovation becomes the standard is though, doubtful.

Mainly because as it appears in the form presented today, it deals primarily with only the sound leakage and intrusion issue. Whilst a laudable step forward, there's so much more beyond this to address.

The status as quoted of these does raise a slight alarm too;

"Meta has already ordered 7,000 of them and begun distributing them to 22 locations worldwide. Ultimately, about 10% of its spaces will feature the Cube ... and employees can reserve them when needed."

I've also noted other options being imagined into life. [Here's some 'pods' from two years back.]

I myself have been involved in creating 'zoom rooms' for salesteam members. As well as 'zoom booths'.

The difference being the former tend to be normal meeting rooms space converted into a widescreen videoing environment, capable of multiple hybrid attendees. The latter a smaller, bespoke space for the solo video caller, even at times literally with an old cupboard refashioned sometimes.

It strikes me that if you must book ahead to claim your 'hotdesk cube', then surely creating the kind of booths you see in serviced office space nowadays, evoking the old-style telephone kiosks, feels the more applicable, and dare I say it, less costly, option?

There is also the planning issue with these you must carefully take into account.

Our tech colleagues can ruin your video effectiveness.

Yes, be on the look-out for the 'unified comms room' takeover.

I am yet to see one that truly adds (anywhere near the) full value available to a salesperson's video performance. [I blogged specifically on this last a few months back too.]

At least in Meta's current case, such constrictive meddling appears absent. For now.

Yet regardless of this particular iteration's success, the fact does remain, loudly, that if your shared workplace does not seek to move up this path, your selling won't be as good as it should be.

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