Friday, September 20, 2013

Designing a modern conference room to fuel creativity

Meeting rooms are an essential part of an office space. They serve many purposes, from a place employees brainstorm to a spot where companies land a monumental deal. Many employers are redesigning their conference spaces to foster creativity and collaboration for the modern world.

Glass walls

This isn't a new trend in workplace design, but it's an important one since it can make an office feel less stuffy. Glass walls allow light in and creates a feeling of transparency throughout the workplace. It's commonly seen in creative environments, yet has found popularity in a number of different industries.

Color and texture

Put extra thought into the design of a meeting room by incorporating color and texture to create a more relaxing environment where employees feel comfortable speaking up and sharing ideas. Oversized paintings, or images of pop art can help add dimension and may spur an idea during brainstorm sessions.

Furniture

If meetings typically run half an hour or more, consider an employee's comfort. Instead of equipping conference rooms with typical office seating, add ergonomic chairs. Larger offices that have more than one meeting area can design each to serve a different purpose. One can have a lounge style with sofas and coffee tables, while another might have traditional furniture. Contemporary conference tables tend to have built-in power and data ports for easy laptop connection, allowing these outlets to be housed away from view or directly on desks. Another trend is bench seating which provides room for more employees.

Technology

It's important to stock meeting rooms with up-to-date technology, like a large screen, internet connection, multiple power outlets and phone access. Also, consider bringing in older tools such as white and chalkboards. Covering an entire wall in one of these materials will provide a wealth of space for employees to share ideas.

Video conferencing - Some offices need to communicate with people around the country. While video conferencing software has greatly reduced travel expenses it's important for a meeting room to be optimized for its use. Instead on relying on a laptop's built-in hardware to broadcast meetings, install web cameras at various vantage points. This way, even when a conference room is full, everyone will be able to be seen.

Tablets - Since the advent of laptops people have additional freedom to collaborate and work on the go. Tablets take mobile technology one step further and offices should consider equipping top to mid-level staff with these hand-held screens.

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