How your team can benefit from a Virtual Workplace Big Room Planning Day

We discuss the benefits of Big Room Planning, as well as how to best use it when working remotely, and our four tips to make the day a success!
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Read time:
4 mins
Shay O'Caroll
June 13, 2022

What is a virtual workplace Big Room Planning day?

Does your company use Big Room Planning? It’s mainly used by tech companies, but more businesses are now realising the benefits of this collaborative get together. 

The meeting takes place every quarter and brings together everyone in the company - from stakeholders, to software developers, to the creative team. Everyone comes together to do planning for the period ahead, and prioritise for the period ahead.

Pre-pandemic this would have potentially involved 100 people in the same room working together - something that is almost unthinkable now! With so many businesses quickly adapting to remote and hybrid work, it’s inevitable that some Big Room Planning needs to occur virtually. 

The Big Room Planning day brings together the workforce and stakeholders to plan the development of new features and releases; whilst considering capacity, team cadence and client deliverables.

What are the benefits of Big Room Planning?

 These meetings bring immense value to employees and the company. It keeps teams aligned on the vision and motivates them to collaborate and pose questions that they might not otherwise feel confident to ask on a normal working day. Benefits include:

  • Futureproof business plans and prevents big mistakes from taking place
  • Ensures the team is confident with the core business values and objectives 
  • Prioritises projects and goals
  • Brings the team and stakeholders together for feedback and collaboration
  • Promotes collaboration, cohesion and rapport between teams
  • Helps teams to spot potential issues and dependencies between teams
  • Sets out clear goals and timelines
  • Makes effective decisions
  • Helps teams to spot gaps in plans 
  • Helps to spot potential issues
  • Allows workers to address backlogs
  • Makes the planning process simpler and more refined
  • Realigns the business, improving culture and overall direction

Using a PixelMax Virtual Workplace for Big Room Planning

As we can see from these benefits, Big Room Planning is very important for businesses. Although it can be useful to do it in person to encourage full immersion and collaboration, it’s inevitable now that many companies require to do this remotely. 

Using a Virtual Workplace makes it possible for Big Room Planning to take place in a fun and organic way for staff members. There are multiple ways of using the Virtual Workplace; this can aid employee collaboration and communication, bringing the team together, no matter how far apart they physically are.

The PixelMax Virtual Workplace uses groundbreaking 3D worlds in the metaverse to bring teams together. Collaboration is simplified and feels like the team is together in real life. Walk from office-to-office, and speak with different colleagues at the click of a button.

Full-day sessions of Big Room Planning can be draining, but using the Virtual Workplaces make the day manageable. The world is there for employees to explore, speak to colleagues and use the wellbeing areas to relax and wind down after busy sessions. In the Virtual Workplace, there are interactive tools to help Big Room Planning engagement, including polls, whiteboards and comment walls.

Using just video calls has been proven to be draining. Zoom fatigue has kicked in, and employees find it difficult to fully engage using video calls and emails alone. Employees find it difficult to absorb as much information on video calls due to the need to focus more intently on the screen. The lack of immersion in video conferencing platforms make it easy to lose focus. When working on a laptop with multiple tabs and programs open and mobile phones at our workspace it can be a challenge to fully engage with a video call. 

The avatars in the 3D Virtual Workplace create a sense of presence and fully immerse users into the world. Speaking of, the world can be designed by the PixelMax team to be anything you want - whether that be a replica of your current office, your dream office, a digital twin of your factory or shop floor, or even the moon - it’s up to you! Anything is virtually possible.

Top tips for virtual workplace Big Room Planning days

1. Schedule it into the calendar and remind employees it’s coming up

You should plan the day well in advance. Send out the agenda and block out the time in the diary. The more people who attend the Big Room Planning days, the more effective it can be. 

Set a few reminders in the Virtual Workplace in the runup to the event, including putting posters in the Virtual Workplace, using the comment walls and whiteboards, or maybe putting a pop-up message when they enter the Virtual Workplace at the start of the day.

2. Use as many tools as you can to make it engaging

Two days is a lot of time for busy employees to cut out their diaries. Make sure that your colleagues are engaged throughout the process by using a variety of tools in the Virtual Workplace. Start with an ice breaker to energise the room. With the virtual workplace you can create an entrance into the virtual office which helps set the tone. Play some music, display some messages, Use pre-recorded videos to remind employees of the overall business vision, video calls for meetings, voice chats, avatars, and different breakout rooms. 

The Virtual Workplace also has fantastic wellness areas that employees can use to relax and recharge in. Employees can choose from a range of competitive mini-games, meditation sessions, a HIIT class if they’re so inclined! 

3. Use different meeting rooms

The whole company gets involved in Big Room Planning, so it’s important to divide areas up for employees to speak in their smaller groups. Plan which meeting areas employees are going to use before they do it, and don’t be afraid to make it interesting! Why not have one meeting under the sea and another meeting on a train travelling along the trans-Siberian railway? Immersing workers in these spaces builds excitement and makes the meeting more fascinating.

Don’t be afraid to rotate the teams around the different meeting areas too. 

4. Review it after it takes place

What would you do the same the next time? What would you change? Were breakout rooms too big or too small? Did you do any extra team building?

Asking these types of questions will help with the next session - which should take place three to four months. The best use of Big Room Planning is every quarter!

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