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The Surprising Ways Audiovisual Systems Are Helping Teams Work Faster, Cheaper & Smarter


Last month, we explored the hidden benefits of adopting compact workspaces to reduce square footage. The employer and employee benefits are clear, but how, exactly, does the return on investment improve for workspaces geared toward them?

Typically, a business seeking out such a space is already working toward disrupting its operations, and more collaborative, often smaller, workspaces can become a part of that master plan. The concept of no fixed desks and multiple activity spaces that allow employees to work individually or with groups is called Activity-Based Working, or ABW.


Reducing square footage is about more than simply saving floor space and reducing carbon imprint; it is a way to improve talent and employee management. More than five decades of study have concluded that the financial impact of an employee leaving a company at will can cost up to twice as much as his or her annual salary.

Tech and financial companies are far from the only businesses beholden to the compact, collaborative workspace. Gensler predicts law offices of the future will bear greater similarity to the ever-evolving tech and startup space as many switch from legacy paper management systems to adopting legal cloud-based systems and conducting client meetings outside the confines of the office space.

The logical next step to archiving and operational software streamlining is installing technology such as central audiovisual capabilities. The pluses are far-reaching, particularly in lowering energy consumption and costs and strengthening healthy air circulation. Centralized AV monitoring platforms allow businesses and building owners to work through a central IT help desk, monitor energy usage and shut down building-wide power or power in specific rooms to save energy in low-traffic hours.


Corporations have been forced to rethink their overarching strategy and maximize employee output and creativity, thus reducing costs and pushing up revenue. Encouraging collaborative workspaces allows companies to shrink footage, rent and maintenance without sacrificing their workforces.

Businesses in historic districts or municipalities — think Old City Philadelphia or older European cities — that adopt the benefits of ABW often elect to relocate from older buildings, rarely conducive to “knocking down walls” or implementing site-wide AV communications systems, to newer, flexible spaces crafted with these in mind. In the long term, the inherent agility of ABW-designed offices allows companies to shift gears in the future without wasting more time and money on an unnecessary office move.

Take ASB, one of New Zealand’s leading commercial banks, which employed Harman AV tech in building out its development in North Wharf. Employees were encouraged to access three close-by buildings and utilize their spaces as necessity and convenience dictate.

Integrated videoconferencing capabilities allow employees to communicate with each other across the four different locations, reducing inconvenience springing from working away from one’s home office and driving interdepartmental problem-solving.


Companies can then match the amount of space their employees utilize with the average amount of time spent in it, optimizing the return on investment on floor space. “Space/time optimization" is especially important in larger cities — New York’s mid-rise spaces run an average of $222/SF, and even a virtual office in Manhattan (with individual phone number and address) starts at $75/month.

ABW blurs lines between departments as the elimination of dedicated desks psychologically and physically encourages employees to connect across fields. AV communication frees up space and makes managing a virtual workforce easier than ever.

To learn more about Bisnow partner Harman, click here.