Steelcase has an interesting new offering that caters to the New Age of Zoom Calls™ – a “unique curved shape creates a more inclusive and collaborative hybrid meeting for people on both sides of the camera.”
Collaboration is one of the top reasons people want to come into the office. But most meetings today will include at least one, or several, remote participants. And too often, teams are trying to collaborate in spaces designed before hybrid work went mainstream.
In a traditional conference room designed with mostly in-person attendees in mind, you are likely to find a long rectangular table with a monitor on the short wall. People in the room have to turn to see who is on screen and end up looking at the back of each other’s heads. They often have to lean in to be seen by their remote colleagues. A big room of people can be especially challenging for a remote participant, making it difficult to read facial expressions or body language. Add to that, poor video call lighting, less-than-ideal acoustics and microphones that don’t reach the entire room, and you end up with a frustrating collaboration experience.
With hybrid work here to stay, designers are rethinking traditional conference room designs to improve these spaces for hybrid collaboration.
Ocular™ is a table designed specifically for hybrid collaboration. Its unique curved shape creates a more inclusive and collaborative experience, allowing everyone in the room to see one another and encouraging eye-to-eye contact between in-person and remote colleagues.
The table design intentionally shifts the orientation of the room from portrait (facing the short wall) to landscape (facing the long wall), now people on both sides of the camera can see and be seen. Everyone in the room is equidistant to the camera. Remote participants can better see facial expressions and body language.
Ocular was co-designed and developed by Steelcase and Microsoft for a Signature Microsoft Teams Room.
“Announced in October, the Signature Teams Room was designed to create an environment where both in-room and remote participants feel more engaged with more inclusive and natural interactions,” says Greg Baribault, Head of Product for Microsoft Teams Rooms. “We achieve this by combining intelligent devices, Front Row in Teams Rooms, custom-designed furniture, and optimized room configurations. The Ocular table offered by Steelcase is ideal for a Signature Teams Room and is a prime example of the innovation required as companies adapt to the new patterns of work.”