Is the room killing your meeting?
Here’s how to fix it
Collaborating and creating together, from anywhere, at any time, in small companies as well as large corporations, is a natural part of today’s worklife. We all know that great things happen when we meet, but not all meetings are great. In fact, 47% feel that meetings are the #1 time-waster in the office. A lot is said about how to run better meetings - but can we also make them more valuable by considering how meeting room design can play a part?
As colleagues and business partners, we are often geographically spread out. Meetings and projects have therefore become an increasingly important part of our working life – on average 62 meetings every month for office workers, and for executives it is even more. This is a lot of time and a great deal of it is not spent effectively, up to 25% of the meeting time being taken up by irrelevant issues. We are confident that meeting and conference rooms can be designed to help support the meeting purpose and result in increased productivity, efficiency and creativity.
What kind of meetings do you have (or want to have)?
When creating meeting spaces that work for you it’s important to start by analyzing what kinds of meetings you actually have and what your needs are for the future. Consider room utilization, meeting size and time – are the rooms you have today fulfilling your need for space? This will feed the design process and help create tailor-made spaces that support your way of working.
“We know that in pace with technological development, our customers have been faced with many challenges, and there is a great need for innovative and functional meeting spaces that support the new way of working. With Kinnarps Next Office®* we see it as an inclusive process with the aim of providing our clients with creative, flexible and effective meeting rooms and spaces. It is about seeing the overall picture and consider everything - the organisation, the physical environment, the technology and the individual needs of the employees,”
*Kinnarps Next Office® is a results-oriented concept and method process that has its starting point in each individual operation's needs and in which, the employees are key. Next Office is based on extensive research with customers, organisational developers and future analysts.
In the modern office we often mix physical and virtual communication in the same space – we collaborate in shared documents, present materials on larger screens and participate in video conferences with people from all over the world. Equip your meeting spaces with smart technology that supports both the way you meet today and how you would like to meet in the future.
How can you make the space work for you?
A meeting space is not just a room filled with a table and chairs. To make the space work for you there are a few things that you need to consider. First of all, different colors affect us in different ways and this is important to consider when creating a meeting space that supports your meeting’s purpose. Yellow is a good color to use in meeting rooms since it’s a color that gets people talking. Therefore it is favorable to use on walls and furniture in creative spaces where you need to brainstorm and get the conversation flowing. Blue is another good color to use in the conference room. It creates a feeling of calm which helps us focus better and be more productive. Use it in spaces where you hold workshops and generates ideas. Blue also signals trust so it’s a good color for spaces where you meet clients. In the videoconference room it’s important to have a background that makes it easier for the video equipment to recognize the participants and is easy on the eyes for the ones watching the feed. Here a calming and neutral color with a medium contrast is best - opt for muted and earthy colors like tan, beige, grey or slate blue. Bright colors, stark whites and dark hues often creates visual affects you don’t want on your video feed, so they are best avoided on the walls in the conference rooms with video equipment.
Monitors are used in most meeting spaces nowadays, and not just during video conferences. We share and present documents that we want all participants in the meeting to see, therefore it’s important to furnish the room with screen visibility in mind. Make the meeting table the same width as the screen or add a V-shaped table to enhance visibility for all participants. Chairs with casters make it easier to reposition and angle for a better view of the screen.
The flexibility chairs with casters add is also good for meetings where you have group discussions or workshops where you need to move around quickly and silently. Extendable meeting tables or foldable, mobile tables are also good to use in spaces where you want to support flexible and dynamic meetings.
For creative meetings or brainstorming sessions, movement is key to keeping the energy levels and tempo high. Height-adjustable meeting tables make it easy to adapt the table height to your needs – a higher table with bar stools promotes a more active meeting where people can easily stand up, join discussions or take the lead in front of a whiteboard or screen.
The acoustics in the meeting room are also important for keeping up focus and productivity. Hard surfaces like bare walls, glass partitions, screens and white boards which are commonly used in meeting rooms creates high sound reverberations which makes for a uncomfortable acoustic environment. By adding sound absorbing or sound dampening acoustic wall panels and ceiling tiles, you obtain a balanced sound level and minimize any disturbing noice. It is also important to make sure that the sound does not travel beyond the meeting room - so you can hear but not be overheard.
Don’t forget to furnish for spontaneous meetings!
Spontaneous meetings take place at workplaces each and every day. Colleagues meet in the corridors, at the coffee machine or at each other's desks to ask questions and brainstorm. Spontaneous meetings such as these are not only important for employee relations, but also strengthen collaboration and problem solving. Make it easy for employees to stop and talk by adding comfortable and open seating in selected locations.
Based on all this we see that creative and effective meetings are more likely where inspiring and functional spaces have been provided. What we are aiming for are environments that are so comfortable, so intuitive and so welcoming that they add focus and enjoyment to the meeting. Environments that are so well planned and functional that the participants can focus on their own creative processes and collaborate in the best possible way.
Do you need help breathing new life into your meeting rooms ? Or to create exciting new meeting settings beyond traditional rooms ?