If you were given the chance to design the conference room of your dreams, what would it look like?
Maybe this is something you haven’t spent a lot of time thinking about. That’s okay; for the most part, the ideal conference room is one that emphasizes the conference, not the room. The design should facilitate using the space to connect, communicate and collaborate with others — not draw attention to itself.
The design and layout of a conference room are important because it sets the framework for the work that takes place within it. If you’re running a company that values transparency, openness and inclusivity, you probably won’t feel served by a dark, windowless, wood-paneled conference room.
An ideal conference room design should reflect the values and requirements of the company creating it. Most importantly, it needs to meet the physical and technological needs of the team members who will actually be using it. The characteristics of the space, fixtures and equipment it contains need to address visibility, acoustics, connectivity and accessibility for users.
The most important thing to remember is to always design with productivity in mind. Here’s how.
7 Conference Room Design Tips for a More Productive Workplace
Today’s workforce demands the ultimate modern conference room design. When you have a chance to create or redesign a conference room, take the opportunity to think beyond the bare necessities of a table, chairs and a projector screen. Here are seven tips to guide you to a room that enables productivity.
1. Invest in High-Quality Audio and Video Equipment
Your conference room A/V setup has to be up to date, as well as easy to configure and operate. It needs to be powerful enough that speed, connectivity and resolution issues won’t derail presentations or video conferencing streams. When your equipment is prone to failure, has recurring connection problems or is just plain outdated, you’re not going to be able to use your meeting space efficiently.
This is why Lifesize has stayed so focused on providing innovative video conferencing equipment that’s built around providing the best possible meeting experience. In A/V, that includes the groundbreaking high definition systems we developed way back in 2003 and our recently launched, industry-redefining 4K video conferencing systems. By using Lifesize audio and video equipment, your conference room will be ready for any video meeting, conference call or live streaming you can imagine.
2. Respect Personal Space
Nobody likes walking into a fifteen-person meeting in a conference room made to fit only ten. If your team members are spending time figuring out how to sit comfortably without bumping elbows with the people sitting next to them, they won’t be able to devote their full attention to the meeting.
Make sure your conference room is designed to accommodate the number of people who will actually need to use it simultaneously. Then furnish it accordingly and in a way that doesn’t invite filling it up beyond its intended capacity. If a conference room is designed to fit ten people, find ten matching, comfortable chairs and put them in that room.
3. Choose the Right Colors
Your brand almost certainly has its own signature colors. The interior designers who set up your office space were probably working with a specific color scheme as well. When it comes to the colors of walls and furnishings in your conference room, it can feel like the big decisions have already been made for you.
However, to the extent that you’re able to bring new ideas and choices to your conference room design, there are some options. Bright colors like white, light blue, green and yellow can make the room feel larger. A little pop of color can boost creativity, too — especially if the existing palette is drab.
4. Invest in Movable Furniture
Some meetings are staid affairs, where everybody sits very still and quiet at the table. While there’s nothing inherently wrong with that, for some businesses, effective communication requires more kinetic energy. Being able to move around, rearrange seating, act something out or otherwise bring elements of physicality into meetings can make all the difference in the world.
Consider furniture that’s lightweight, reconfigurable or on rollers if there’s any chance your meetings might break out into an activity — or if you just want the ability to easily switch things up.
5. Let in Natural Light
Let’s face it — nobody is doing their best thinking under the sterile glow of fluorescent tubes. If you want people to feel comfortable, awake and alive while they’re stuck in a conference room, allow natural light into the space.
Natural lighting makes rooms feel bigger while filling them up with bright, warm light. Don’t trap your team members in a dark cave and then expect them to brainstorm big, brilliant new insights. Try a little sunlight to help their ideas grow and blossom.
6. Keep Distraction to a Minimum
Windows that face bucolic landscapes, or even boring parking lots, are a great way to let in helpful natural light. However, some windows can become a distraction for team members. This leads to wandering minds and eyeballs halfway through a long meeting or presentation.
If your conference room has windows, make sure they aren’t facing into a hectic, highly trafficked part of your office or anywhere else that might be visually distracting.
7. Keep Your Clients in Mind
Most of these tips have been centered on the needs of your company and its team members. After all, they’ll be the primary users of the conference rooms. It’s vital to also consider the interests of your clients.
If you expect to include clients in a significant number of meetings in your conference room, make sure they’ll feel comfortable. When designing your conference room, be sure to account for their industry-related needs or expectations. Also consider their geographical location, their culture or anything else that might be an important factor in successfully conducting business.
Bonus: The Best Video Conferencing Equipment for Your Conference Room
As we mentioned in Tip #1, quality audio and video equipment is key, especially in today’s always connected multimedia business environment. Not sure what type of video conferencing solution would best suit your conference room? Here are three products from Lifesize to get your conference room up and running:
Perfect for a large conference room, the Icon 700 video conferencing system features 4K video feeds and the ability to present full-motion 4K content sharing.
Expand crystal clear audio to the whole room with this touchscreen conference phone and microphone that automatically reduces ambient noise and steers its audio pickup toward whomever is speaking.
Let anyone — clients, guests, employees — share screens without having to mess around with cords and dongles in the most intuitive way possible.
No two businesses will have exactly the same criteria for what constitutes an ideal conference room. There are some things that are universally beneficial — good lighting, plenty of space to move around, and most importantly a reliable, high-quality video conferencing system.
Now that you have our seven tips for modern conference room design, you’ll have a better sense of what to anticipate when determining the necessary elements. Using these strategies will help you come up with solid conference room ideas and put productivity at the center of your ultimate modern conference room design.