The shrinking office

Adapted from Polycom's White Paper: The incredible Shrinking Office; Transforming Workspaces to Empower Collaboration.

Johannesburg, 05 Dec 2016
Read time 4min 50sec
Gail Holt, MD of Polycom distributor
Gail Holt, MD of Polycom distributor

Remember how office space used to be? "In the old days, a company's floor layout consisted of offices on either side of a long passage. There was very little shared space, and you tracked your career development by the size of the office you had! You knew you had arrived when you finally got that prized corner office. Meetings were reserved for the elite few and were held in massive boardrooms, filled with mountains of cigarette smoke." So says Gail Holt, MD of Polycom distributor

The traditional office has however been chased out by the need for mobility and modernity, the advent of collaborative technology and of course the millennials; the AlwaysOn generation. Technology and trends have also attributed to the shrinking office. Abundant internet connectivity, the saturation of cellphones and laptops and the expectation of younger workers to always be connected makes it easier and more necessary than ever to create small, efficient workspaces and open, shared areas.

Of course the biggest driver of the shrinking offices is simple. Company budgets versus exorbitant office rental prices. "The average utilisation of office space in the US and Europe between the hours of 8am to 5pm hovers around 35-50%. Meaning that at any given time, over half the office space or workspace is unused! "This is a trend that will soon become the fashion in South Africa too, and given that office rental is the second largest operating expense, that's not a good investment." continues Holt.

While rental prices are a major item, people are the biggest consideration.

Polycom Realpresence Trio.
Polycom Realpresence Trio.

In an economy driven by unified communication and collaboration, the focus should be on creating physical spaces that encourage human connection. Holt adds, "In other words, it's not just enough to shrink the office, we need to re-think it in ways to help people connect easily in their workspace."

Collaboration helps us deal with a more complex business environment, foster teamwork across dispersed organisations' and helps drive innovation and cooperation.

In fact, according to an IBM study, capitalising on the collective intelligence of global teams is a top priority and 80% of companies say they need to collaborate more. But, at the same time, 78% of companies say they struggle to effectivity connect their workspace and help their employees collaborate - either virtually or face-to-face.

So, why the struggle? In work environments designed for effective collaboration you need a variety of spaces to provide workers with the choice and control over where and how they work; workspaces for individual day-to-day employees, meeting spaces for teams, small groups, large gatherings and temporary spots for visitors. Polycom believes that true collaboration and productivity happen when companies find the right VC, content sharing solution for every workspace.

The office may be shrinking, but because of this, the demand for small workspaces and huddle rooms is increasing due to the rising demand for more teamwork and quick, on-the-fly meetings and collaboration. Polycom has the solution for these types of spaces.

The Polycom Realpresence Trio is designed for the huddle room, which is an area designated for one to four people. "Although this area is small, these rooms all need some kind of audio visual technology to enable content sharing and effective collaboration. Which, after all is what the modern workspace it all about!" Holt adds.

For huddle rooms, small workspaces the huge cost and complex infrastructure makes most IT managers abandon the idea of installing AV in these spaces. "Even though it would allow for more employee flow and interactive sharing, which results in more productivity."

Polycom designed the Realpresence Trio to address the pain points of audio visual. Holt says, "The Realpresence Trio is not just a phone, or a video end point, it is an audio visual system, made easy". The Realpresence Trio reduces the huge cost associated with installing AV in these small workspaces, and completely simplifies the installation and AV requirements for IT managers".

The Realpresence Trio is first and foremost the highest quality HD conference phone Polycom have ever manufactured. The conference phone can be used in huddle rooms and its range and voice pickup makes it the ideal conference phone for the large executive 20+ seater workspaces.

Add the Visual+ plug in device to the base conference phone, and the IT manager turns this phone into a presentation device to share local content, including video clips, worksheets etc. The Trio allows for simple sharing of content. Share via a cable or WiFi from your notebook or tablet, and connect via Bluetooth for audio via your notebook or cellphone, seamlessly.

In the appropriate workspace, the Realpresence Trio becomes a full video conferencing system with the addition of the Visual+ and the plug in camera. VC capability is enabled simply by plugging the Visual+ into the phone and the Webcam into the Visual+ unit. "The Realpresence Collaboration kit facilitates simple, quick, impromptu meetings, and content sharing both locally and globally, at the touch of a button."

"The Realpresence Trio is a conference phone, a voice/audio device, a presentation enabler and a video conferencing solution. The quality, all-in-one features and affordability make the Trio a perfect AV device for smaller modern workspaces," Holt concludes.


Polycom helps organisations unleash the power of human collaboration. More than 415 000 companies and institutions worldwide defy distance with secure video, voice and content solutions from Polycom to increase productivity, speed time to market, provide better customer service, expand education and save lives. Polycom and its global partner ecosystem provide flexible collaboration solutions for any environment that deliver the best user experience, the broadest multi-vendor interoperability and unmatched investment protection. is an official Polycom distributor and supplies the complete range of Polycom voice solutions for SIP platforms and Skype for Business/O365, including the RealPresence Trio. All products are fully supported by their comprehensive portfolio of professional services. These services are designed to assist clients throughout every stage of a project and are fully tailored to suit the organisations requirements.

Services include supply of demonstration and POC equipment, installation and pre-configuration, technical and support training , onsite technical support and assistance, onsite end-user training (both on the handset and the SfB client) as well as 2nd tier support contracts.

Editorial contacts Gail Holt (+27) 11 467 9325
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