When it comes to work, having the proper environment can be the difference between having staff who are engaged and involved or an office that lacks productivity. The same is true of meeting room environments.
Your meeting room environment is the backdrop for your meetings. Everything from light and seating to the room’s layout can affect mood and productivity. When creating a meeting space, what does it take to make a room pleasant and work-friendly?
What is a Meeting Room?
Before getting into the details of what a conference room needs to be productive, you’ll first need to consider exactly what a meeting room and how it’s used. What is a meeting room and what is its purpose?
A meeting room is simply a room that’s set aside and is designated as a place to hold meetings. It’s that simple. However, these days, the meeting room may also double as a place to hold lunch, training sessions, client meetings, brainstorming and/or strategy sessions.
While the concept of a conference room is simple, you can see that it has multiple uses. Keep this in mind as we consider different aspects that make for a great meeting room space.
The Human Consideration: Employees
What do your employees need to feel comfortable as well as productive in a meeting room? When designing a meeting space, it’s necessary to keep in mind that humans will be using this space in multiple ways. The meeting space needs to comfortably accommodate your attendees.
Things to consider:
Chairs: people tend to sit for longer periods during certain types of meetings, so the room will need comfortable chairs. Meeting room chairs should be durable, yet attractive. And don’t forget ergonomics. Here you’ll need to consider the people who will be using the room—don’t forget to keep in mind that the chairs should include back support and armrests. Look for chairs that are ergonomically correct, as well as comfortable. Wheels and swiveling chairs are also a good option, as they allow people to easily turn to see the person who’s talking, etc.
Colors: colors have a strong impact on people. If a room’s done in dark colors, most people may feel sleepy and the mood of the meeting may be more negative. On the other hand, light neutrals such as beige and white make the space appear light and airy, giving the room energy. Another color to consider is green—this color is considered helpful in managing stress. Blues are also thought to energize and relieve stress. Cheerful colors such as light yellows can also be a good choice.
Whatever color scheme you go with, remember that dark colors will tone down the energy and mood in the room, while light colors energize and make people more productive.
Avoid clutter: sometimes the meeting room becomes a handy place to store things, especially if it’s not used very often. It becomes a large storage closet, rather than a usable space. Keep this from happening by not storing things in the conference room. In addition, you’ll want to avoid clutter of any kind in the meeting space. Clutter can bring out negativity in people, so keep decorations, wall art, etc. to a minimum and avoid using the room as a storage closet.
Sound-proofed: a meeting room should be a quiet space. Noise and activity can cause distraction, leading to loss of focus. Make sure the room is in a quiet part of the building. If this isn’t possible, you might want to consider using sound-proofing materials to make the conference room a quiet space. Not only will you be able to hear one another talk, but the focus will be on the meeting, rather than the outside noise and activities.
Lighting: if your conference room’s too dark or dim, this will have a negative impact on the energy and focus in the room. We tend to become sleepy and unfocused in a dark room. To counter this, some businesses choose to use bright lights, which can also be hard on our eyes. Some people who are light sensitive may also have a difficult time such a bright environment.
Another consideration is whether or not the room will be used for visual presentations. If so, you may want to go with fluorescent lighting with a dimming system. Make sure the lighting is comfortable, doesn’t cause eye strain and allows people to use their smart devices and computers. Balance your lighting by incorporating natural light, when possible.
Comfort, the right colors and lighting all go a long way in making a meeting room a great space for your employees. Keeping these things in mind will help your employees stay energized and focused in a conference room.
The Layout of Your Meeting Space
When it comes to a meeting room layout, you have many options. You don’t have to stick with the traditional conference room setting—one large table surrounded by chairs. In fact, you can even keep the space flexible.
There are many layouts to choose from. Since a meeting room is often used in a multiple of ways, you may want to keep the space more flexible. Before we get to the furnishings and flexibility, let’s take a look at some of the layout styles you can consider:
U-shape: this is often used for smaller or mid-size meetings. This type of layout allows the speaker to easily move around the room and interact with everyone. You’ll also see more group participation with this style.
Classroom: this style is very popular and is often used for workshops. It’s great for trainings and people who will be using their laptops and smart devices during the meeting for taking notes.
Theater: just as the name implies, this is a set-up similar to what you’d find in a movie theater. Here, the seats are set up in rows, which makes the space easily accommodate more seating. This style is often used for conferences, seminars, etc. where people are mostly listening and not taking notes.
Furniture & Equipment
Next, you’ll need to consider the furniture in your meeting space. If your room will be used in different ways, then you’ll want to keep the furniture simple and flexible. This way, you can set up the room in one of the different layouts we reviewed in the previous section.
We’ve already taken a look at chairs, but don’t forget tables. Rather than one long table, consider using 2-3 (or more as needed) shorter tables. Shorter tables can be set up as one long table, or placed in various positions, depending on the layout style you choose. This makes your space more flexible and usable. Look for tables that fold easily and are easy to move around.
In addition, you may want to include one or two couches in the room, along with a coffee table or end tables. This gives the room a friendly, relaxed feel and additional seating, if needed.
When it comes to equipment, again consider how your room will be used. You may need equipment for virtual meetings, a screen for presentations, access to a printer and more. And don’t forget you’ll need to provide excellent Internet connectivity to your conference room. This is a necessity.
As you can see, a meeting or conference room is a space that has multiple uses—everything from traditional meetings, to a space used for meals, brainstorming, and more. Keep in mind that your employees need a comfortable, ergonomic-friendly space to help them stay focused and energized. Remember to keep the room de-cluttered and avoid using the conference room as a storage closet. You’ll soon find your meetings are not boring, but full of energy and ways to make your business successful.
Now that you know all of our secrets that we use to create energetic and productive meeting rooms, why not come and experience one? We have 3 centrally located meeting rooms in Leeds and would love to show you around. Find out more.