Every day, employees in offices around the world spend countless hours in meeting rooms. In fact, according to recent research, it’s estimated that nearly two-thirds of workers’ time is spent in them. So it’s no surprise that how you design your meeting rooms can have a gigantic impact on your business. When done well, you’ll be able to increase productivity and employee satisfaction while cutting down on absenteeism and sick days. But when they’re not up to scratch, your team may find themselves disengaged and unproductive — which means more than just missed targets; it can also damage morale and lead people to look for new jobs elsewhere.
Here are seven ways you can transform your meeting spaces into something truly great:
Choose the Right Space
It’s one thing to have a meeting room; it is quite another to have the right meeting room for your company. To get the most out of your team, you need to design for their specific requirements and circumstances. For example, different types of workers will require different spaces — so if you’re designing a space for managers, make sure they have privacy when they need to discuss sensitive topics with team members. At the same time, open-plan layouts are great for encouraging collaboration among staff members who interact frequently during working hours. The same goes for smaller spaces versus large ones: Large rooms may be good for bringing staff together occasionally but are less suited to hosting regular meetings with small sub-groups because not everyone will be able to hear properly.
Know When to Personalize
Technology has transformed the way we work, but it can be difficult to adapt when you’re working in an existing space — especially one that was built before technology was so widely used. But if the layout of your meeting space isn’t adapting with the times, then it’s probably time for a renovation. Simply adding screens or digital accessories won’t do, however; rather than just making ad hoc changes, you should know what you’re trying to achieve first. For example, if you want to create more collaboration among group members, consider providing lounge areas where staff will feel comfortable having impromptu discussions while they wait for larger meetings to begin. You might even go so far as to upgrade the lighting or change where you position your furniture.
Make Your Meeting Spaces Flexible
One of the dangers with meeting spaces is that they can quickly become out-of-date, making them unsuited to new purposes — which can lead to people retreating back into their own offices. To avoid this, make sure your rooms are flexible enough for several different scenarios. For example, if your space is designed for team meetings, ensure there are plenty of seats but also areas where group members can spread out and hold impromptu discussions around tables or couches. You might even provide whiteboards or flipcharts in some spots. Then later on, once the meeting’s done and dusted, you’ll find that some of those people move into these “collaboration zones” to work on group projects.
Make Sure You Have the Right Technology
No meeting space is complete without all the necessary technology to help you get your work done. Check whether you have everything available (e.g., projectors, speakers, screens), and replace any faulty items immediately. Projectors are important for making sure everyone in the room can see what’s happening, but they’re only useful if you actually put them to use. You can find the appropriate projector for your boardroom at ProjectorFinder.com to spice up your meetings. Meanwhile, be sure your speakers have the power you need. Casio printers are also ideal for printing out presentations that can then be distributed via email or even saved directly into digital formats like PDFs. Just make sure that everything works together seamlessly by testing it beforehand so people don’t waste time trying to figure out why their laptop won’t connect to the projector.
Don’t Let it Become a Hang Out Spot
Your meeting space isn’t an informal area to catch up with your friends, so make sure people treat it as such by enforcing the message from the moment they arrive. If you want to encourage them not to chat for too long, put out snacks and drinks in places where they’ll be visible, but make sure they’re discrete enough that team members don’t feel awkward about snacking during meetings — especially if food is prohibited elsewhere in your building. You might also want to enforce rules about taking calls or checking texts when in meetings or around other people; consider creating areas where staff can keep their devices on silent mode without feeling like they’re missing out on important messages.
Make Sure Your Meeting Rooms Look Great
Now that we’ve told you what to do, there’s just one more thing to bear in mind: your meeting space should look great. If your rooms don’t live up to this standard, simply make some cosmetic alterations. Similarly, rearranging furniture can change how people interact with one another and even how they think about the space. That said, resist the urge to jam too much into small spaces; not only would this make it difficult for people to find a seat, it would also put pressure on them to keep moving all the time.
Augment Your Space with Creative Décor
In between meetings, your meeting spaces should serve as a place where people can get work done. To do this, you’ll need to make sure the area is well lit, includes workspaces for everyone, and has room for group members to move around. If you’re unsure what type of décor would work best, then look to your company culture for inspiration. This could mean painting the walls with bright colors that reflect your brand while you play upbeat music from a playlist on Spotify or set up a fun photo booth where employees can take photos and post them online with their colleagues.
The main things to consider when transforming your meeting space are flexibility, technology, etiquette, and creativity. Be sure to test everything beforehand to make the transition as smooth as possible, and decorate your meeting room in a way that best reflects who you are as a brand. Take inspiration from your company culture when deciding how to decorate your meeting rooms lively colors and fun props can go a long way. These tips will help you transform your meeting rooms and make sure your employees can collaborate, communicate and work effectively in them.