How a Smart Meeting Room Can Foster Team Productivity

A meeting has been scheduled with important key players. Unfortunately, one of those key players is sitting in an airport a thousand miles away, because of a delayed flight. Decisions must be made without her input, creativity, and problem-solving skills, or the meeting will have to be re-scheduled, inconveniencing all of the other key participants.

The ultimate impact of this scenario is that productivity is lost and critical decisions must be postponed. The entire organization suffers from this setback.

Other Issues with Traditional Meeting Environments

  1. Lack of Engagement

Members of a workforce often dread meetings. They must report to a “meeting room,” listen to a presentation leader, and then be asked for input, perhaps giving suggestions or solutions that are then placed on a flip chart for discussion. Here are the problems with this:

  • People resent being taken from other tasks to attend what they often see as pointless meetings
  • Many actually fall asleep during these types of meetings
  • Others are on their phones, if they can do so discreetly

The end result? Participation is minimal, the best suggestions/solutions are not achieved, and productivity has just been lacking.

  • Technology Issues

How many of us have been to a meeting where a laptop, containing the agenda, objectives, and activities, has failed to operate and project on a large screen? There is then the scurrying around trying to fix the issue, while participants sit and wait, find things to do on their phones, and while valuable productive time is lost.

  • Inconvenience for Those Not Physically There

Someone is sick; someone is stuck in an airport as previously described. Someone else has a family emergency. They are then responsible for bringing themselves up to date by taking someone else’s time to get filled in or reading what meeting notes there may be.

Sometimes (and much more often in recent years), there are remote workers, either employees or contracted players, who must be informed of decisions made, so that they may modify their tasks accordingly. This information must be transmitted via email, and ensuing conversations must then occur to further clarify questions or issues. This is, again, time wasted, not to mention potential security risks, as sensitive information is transmitted in this manner.

  • Speaking of Security Risks

Attendees at many meetings today bring their own devices into those events, record the session on their devices, or take notes, for future reference. The security of those devices is not known or monitored, and the potential for proprietary information being compromised is increased, especially if bored participants are shopping or accessing questionable sites.

Enter the Smart Meeting Room

There is quite literally no reason for the four issues addressed above. Technology has eliminated them all. And that is what a smart meeting room is all about – using the latest technology to provide a seamless experience for every participant, whether physically present or not, and both simplifying and shortening meeting times, so that everyone can return to their tasks at hand, armed with the important information and key decisions that will impact their own work. Productivity re-captured!

Smart meeting rooms, in short, are all about communication – communication among attendees, remote employees and partners, even vendors, as necessary. And that communication is now visual, not just textual or audio. In fact, video technology serves to enhance interactions among participants, because it provides the visual cues and the “personal touch” that other communication tools do not. Bill Benson, Communications Director for Pick the Writer, says this: “All of our staff members are remote, and we rely heavily on communication among all of us. Traditional methods were slow, cumbersome, and frustrating. Video-conferencing has turned my office into a smart meeting room, and with everyone securely connected through the cloud, we can hold individual, group, and whole team meetings – short, to the point, and productive.”

Smart meeting rooms require equipment that allows the real-time collaboration that teams need, no matter where individual members may be. While it may initially be an expense, the increase in productivity and the higher morale among team members will pay for itself in the long term.

So, let’s look at the improvement of newer technology and equipment over the traditional ways of doing things.

  1. Conference Calls vs. Video Conferencing

Conference calls are audio conversations among participants. Depending upon the size of the participants, it can be difficult to keep the conversation organized and to keep only one person speaking at a time. It will require a leader who controls the conversation. The other downside of conference calling is that only voices, not visual expressions are relayed. The other issue with conference calls is security. Everyone is on a call from their own phones, and security cannot be controlled.

Video conferencing on the other hand allows participants to see one another, to discern facial expressions, and to have a far more human-like interaction. This builds relationships among remote team members. And using secure video conferencing apps allows for much greater protection.

  • Viewing Content

Without all participants in the room, there must be a way for remote access to content that may be visually presented via a digital whiteboard – one that can go through a secure cloud connection and accessed by remote participants on their devices. And many of these whiteboards have additional functions and features that will enhance meetings even more. Here are a few options:

  • Google Jamboard: a digital whiteboard that can be operated through the cloud. This board works with G Suite, meaning it coordinates with Google Docs and Sheets and in real-time.
  • Samsung Flip: One cool feature is embedded search that can locate other projects that are stored within. There are built-in security features to block unauthorized users.
  • Cisco Spark Board: Participants can collaborate through conferencing in the cloud. It has solid encryption features, and connections are wireless.
  • Microsoft Surface Hub:  This is promoted as an all-in-one solution, that provides both digital whiteboard and video conferencing. No more phones, web cameras, and those hideous old overhead projectors.

There are other options as well, but all will serve to shorten meeting times, allow for everyone’s input, and make decisions faster – keys to increasing productivity.

Other Technologies

As smart meeting rooms become more widespread, there are lots of other tools that can be added to enhance meetings. For example, The Meeting Owl is a video camera that can sit in the middle of a conference table and rotate around to each person as s/he speaks. This is especially valuable for remote team members who can see who is speaking. The writing administration team at Supreme Dissertations recommends this, as all of their writers are remote.

Another tool for large enterprises with several smart rooms is JOAN, a tool for scheduling and posting meeting room use and availability. A small interactive screen is posted outside every meeting room with its schedule. Accessing availability via any device can avoid delays in attempting to physically find an empty room for an impromptu or emergency meeting.

You might also want to check out Alexa for Business, or portable cameras like the HuddleCam HD. 

“The Times, They are a’Changin’”

These are the words from a famous song by Bob Dylan, and they can certainly apply to the work place and the work force today. Companies need a high level of efficiency if they are to remain competitive; remote work forces are a given in most all sectors of the economy. Just these two challenges can impact overall productivity. Smart meetings rooms are one important solution to meet these challenges.

Why Coworking Spaces are Best for Launching Your Startup

There are plenty of stories about startups launched from basements and garages. Those tales are exciting, but the truth is that most successful startups need a space that’s a bit more legitimate. Your home is no place to meet with clients or to create a productive workspace. Renting an office suite is cost-prohibitive.

If you’re struggling to find a launching pad for your startup, you’re not alone. Fortunately, your solution may be more accessible than you realize. Coworking spaces were designed for remote workers, freelancers, and entrepreneurs to work together in shared working spaces.

Flexible Options for Startups

Unlike renting standard office space, coworking is flexible. Depending on the specific layout of the coworking space you use, you might have the option to lease a small office, pay for a storefront, rent a dedicated desk, or hot desk. The latter option is when you pay a daily rate to use whatever desk is available. If you don’t need a workspace, some coworking spaces offer business mailing addresses, access to meeting rooms, and use of office equipment. Since contracts are very short term, you can upgrade as you need, or reduce the services you use.

Lease and payment options are flexible as well. Many coworking spaces allow month-to-month agreements. Many also allow you to pay a daily rate for hotdesking or access to other amenities. If you aren’t convinced, many established companies such as Uber, Grab my Essay, Spotify, Studicus, and IndieGoGo launched in coworking spaces.

You Can Find a Coworking Space That Matches Your Style

Not only can you find a space that meets your business requirements, but you can also find one that matches your working style. For example, there are spaces that cater to people in specific niches. If you live near a larger city, you will likely find coworking spaces that cater to tech startups, and others that specialize in providing space to creatives. Some are made for people who are dedicated to operating their businesses in a manner that supports ethics, sustainability, and wellbeing. There are even spaces that have been created for women business owners specifically.

Would you prefer to be a member of a coworking community, or to simply use the space provided to get your work done? Many spaces are laid out in a way that encourages communal interaction. They may have break rooms, open floor plans, or hold regular networking events. Others cater to more of a ‘heads down’ audience.

5 Other Benefits for Using a Coworking Space to Launch Your Startup

If you’re still on the fence, consider these other benefits.

1.   You Can Control Your Own Growth

Before coworking spaces, you had two choices. Operate from home or in coffee shops, or rent office space with a long term lease. That often meant committing to something without knowing if your business is truly ready for that step, or staying in a place that you were outgrowing. Coworking spaces give you the ability to control your growth. For example, you can move from hot desking to leasing a dedicated desk, to renting a storefront or enclosed office. If you need to downsize, you can do that as well.

Jordan Pillar, a freelance writer for BestEssay.Education says, “You’ll find that budgeting is also easier. In a coworking space, you don’t have to worry about building maintenance or utilities. You simply pay the agreed fees to access the space and amenities you need.”

2.   Access to Amenities You Couldn’t Otherwise Afford

Would it be feasible for you to purchase a 3-D printer? What about a gourmet, espresso machine? Do you have the equipment available in your home office to handle a video conference with potential clients from across the globe? Could you do it without looking like a bunch of kids from your high school A/V club?

If the answer is no, you are not alone. Most startup owners don’t have the funds to buy specialized equipment like this. It’s also not practical to invest in equipment that you may not use regularly. Fortunately, many coworking space owners have invested in these amenities, because they know they can make up for the cost in their rental fees. You get to enjoy using equipment and technology that wouldn’t otherwise be available to you.

Ask for a tour of any coworking space you are considering. You may be pleasantly surprised by the extras available to you. Many spaces include free coffee and snacks. Some even stock local microbrews.

3.   Increased Professionalism

Whether it’s fair or not, appearances matter. If you run your business from your basement, you risk being treated…as if you run a business from your basement. That’s not a great position to be in when you’re already the new guy on the street.

When you rent a coworking space, you create an aura of legitimacy. You’ll have an office phone and fax, a mailing address in a business district rather than your home, and access to the equipment you need to present an image of professionalism.

4.   Business Support and Advice

If it’s been set up to foster startups and help freelancers get started, your local coworking space may also be a great source of business support and advice. Many spaces also function as startup incubators and accelerators. As a member, you may have access to mentoring, learning sessions, and tools that are created specifically to help you create a successful business.

5.   Great Networking Opportunities

Finally, you’ll be sharing space with other entrepreneurs and freelancers. That’s a space full of potential contacts all in one place. Even better, many coworking spaces hold regular networking events so their clients can get to know one another. You never know when you might introduce yourself to a potential client or referral.

Final Thoughts: What to Look for in a Coworking Space

Before you pay for your coworking space membership, consider the following:

  • Is the location convenient to your home and clients?
  • Are you getting the right amount of space?
  • Is your business a good fit for the community and space?
  • Will you have the space and resources you need?

If you can’t find a space that is a perfect fit, consider giving it a try anyway. The beauty of this option is that you aren’t forced into any long term obligations.

Nicole D. Garrison is a content creator and strategist who writes for a number of websites for marketing specialists. She is known for a detail-oriented approach to research and writing. Nicole is a contributor on WowGrade and has her own blog on LiveInspiredMagazine. In her spare time, she is interested in beekeeping and running.

Is Being A Workaholic Really That Bad?

Aside from the age-old advice from your mother to always rest well, there is much research that shows being a workaholic has its significant pros. Those warnings are effective at avoiding the negative consequences of over-working, which can be as extreme as being detrimental to health. Over-work can lead to hypertension (high blood pressure) and stress-related illness such as a higher predisposition to certain cancers. As far as actual work goes, productivity and focus can decline, and depression is a common theme.

With the negative aspects of working long hours out of the way, read on to see what research says about avoiding them while being a “workaholic”. The Academy of Management Discoveries actually found no hard evidence that it is long hours specifically that caused negative health implications.

It is a compulsive work mentality that led to them. For long hours and early starts to work for you, keep the following considerations in mind.

Loving your job

Choosing a job you love really does lead to the feeling of never doing any work. Passion, paired with dedication is what leads to both financial and emotional success. Consistency within a field that you really enjoy being in will improve your quality of life as you will find a sense of purpose doing something that you look forward to. If you have already found such a career – brilliant! Listen to your gut and dive in deep; being a workaholic can actually be good for you. Ensure you have recognition and a feeling of gratitude in what you do as well, as this will keep you moving up the social ladder of success as well.

Be enthusiastic

A positive mindset will completely switch around the way a person approaches their job. Long hours will not bother you, so will not cause you mental stress. The idea of balance comes in when considering other commitments in life: ensure your job fits around these and you will be fine.

Commitment to your hours

If you have a sensation of being fully invested in your work, long hours will feel more of an obvious thing to do rather than something you are forced to do. Use your full capability in terms of skills and values.

“Many people get caught in the web of feeling that they are wasting their lives, because they aren’t taking this crucial step of fully investing themselves in something they’re doing,” says Michael Simpson, HR at Custom Essays and Big Assignments.

Full engagement

Engagement refers to the full involvement in something. Thus, being fully engaged in something means feeling fully involved in it. You begin to feel like you are a part of what you are doing, rather than simply conducting it all. You will take on the energy of steady speed and go at the pace that is required of the service you are providing, instead of being the engine behind it all that requires fuel.

Of course, the word workaholic is derived from the word alcoholic, to indicate compulsive and counter-intuitive behaviour. When picturing it, images of an anxious office worker pop into the mind, who never take vacations and never ever have a day off; work feeds into every aspect of their lives and family and friends can be cut off.

“…However, this is a mental game: working is a good thing, addiction is not. Those who are not addicted can in fact work long hours and have better quality lives because of it,” says Richard Baker, blogger at EliteAssignmentHelp and UKWritings.

The main factor that divides happy and unhappy workaholics is their ability to achieve balance in their lives. A strong work ethic is not an addiction but is a strong focus to something important and useful. If you can achieve the ability to work long and intensive hours that are highly productive, your career will improve, and you will find greater satisfaction and happiness in what you do. Your reputation will increase, and your bank account will be a lot healthier.

However, if you do find yourself lost in stress and an obligation to long hours you dread getting up for, it may be time to reconsider if you are on the right career path.

Aimee Laurence is a successful writer and editor at Top assignment writing services VIC and Top Australian writing services. Aimee helps companies with employee management and freelances as HR. Also, she blogs at Academized.

Real Change comes to BootUP – The Next Generation!

Family-owned companies – founded by one generation handing over leadership to the next generation – different perceptions of success; different thoughts on which way to move the company forward; learn from the past or just look ahead – all on the minds of these leaders.  BootUP was honored to be included in Real Change’s NexGen Learning Expedition including a variety of iconic French, family-owned companies, stemming from an assortment of industries including industrial manufacturing, e-commerce, supply chain management, and gaming and entertainment. Mukul Agarwal, CEO and Founder of BootUP Ventures, spoke with this multi-generational group about how to navigate intergenerational differences these entrepreneurs may face. Each company brought in current leading family executives along with familial successors. Mukul’s talk about the entrepreneurial mindset, what innovation really is, how to move from success to significance, balancing this all from the perspective of leadership, family responsibility, and expectations, inspired the group and led to an engaging dialogue throughout the evening. These 24 families came with the goal of bringing a new way of thinking to their medium and large size businesses to help innovate together for a better world, and BootUP Founder & CEO Mukul Agarwal certainly delivered, guiding them along the path of entrepreneurial mindset and innovation.

Additionally, we would like to extend a special thanks to the Real Change Network and the following companies for joining us and participating in our Corporate Mindset Workshop: Actual; Airbus; Antvoice; Armor Group; CETIH; DMD Group; Eram Group; ESSCA; Essilor; Guesneau; Guillemot Corp.; Hotel Gascogne; Idea Group; Intermarche; Isai; La Florentaise; Leclerc Saint Nazaire; Ludylab; Montlimart; Mousset; Seainvest; Sogeclair Aerospace; Tetrac; and Ubisoft.

BootUP Ventures regularly holds workshops on mindset and innovation for corporates from around the world. If you are interested in learning more, please feel free to contact

Another Bridge with India – Maharashtra

Over the past year, BootUP Ventures has had the privilege to welcome many delegations from India.  The most recent was a very distinguished business delegation led by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI) in conjunction with the Government of Maharashtra.  The delegation included 16 promising Indian entrepreneurs, joined by top officials from the Government of Maharashtra and FICCI.  These startup companies were in Silicon Valley to attend TiEcon, the world’s largest entrepreneurship conference.

Before making their appearance at TiEcon, the startups were hosted by BootUP for a 30 second interactive pitch workshop with Mukul Agarwal, CEO & Founder of BootUP. Each startup received critical and constructive feedback to help them craft their message in order to pique interest for a second meeting.  Throughout the workshop, Mukul Agarwal shared his perspectives on the entrepreneurial mindset and what it takes to move from success to significance.   BootUP also invited leading entrepreneurs, influencers, and investors from the Indian tech community in Silicon Valley to join the evening program, providing great insight and knowledge sharing to the delegation.

Special thanks to key support provided by: Priya Rajan and Silicon Valley Bank for the sponsoring the evening; Raj Fiber, Shehzad Merchant and Radhesh Kanumury for their insight; Nikhil Agarwal and  FICCI for bringing the group to BootUP; and Shri Aseem Gupta, IAS, Principal Secretary of the Government of Maharastra for supporting the vision of a strong  entrepreneurial community and network throughout Maharashtra with a strong dynamic bridge to Silicon Valley.  BootUP looks forward to building that strong bridge with Maharashtra.

BootUP regularly welcomes Governments and their delegations from all over the world.  If you would like to learn more, please contact