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How to Create a Smarter, More Professional Meeting Room

Style and comfort don’t have to go out of the window when it comes to creating a meeting room that impresses guests and colleagues. It is possible to have a modern, light conference or meeting room, without busting your budget. Here’s how:

#1 Ergonomics

The thing about meetings is this: there are some that are productive and some that are bland and boring. An American company commissioned research in which colleagues gave anonymous feedback. They found that over 30% of their employees admitted to falling asleep in meetings. But here’s the thing: they fell asleep in more than one meeting. This spells d-i-s-a-s-t-e-r for productivity.

Aside from whether a meeting is required or not, the surroundings for any meetings have an important impact on the meeting, how productive it is, how people feel about being there.

An important, if not the most important consideration is the ergonomics of the meeting room. How many times have we sat on chairs that are so uncomfortable that within minutes, everyone is fidgeting and shifting in their seats?

And then, somehow, they don’t meet the table properly and thus, more fidgeting and spinning in seats ensues. Ergonomics and thus comfort is just as important in a meeting room as it is at your desk. Bear this in mind when choosing furniture.

#2 Breakout or Informal Spaces

Does every meeting have to have a table? A table is useful but there are times when it is a barrier, the thing standing in the way of progress. It can make someone feel more comfortable, having something to lean on or something in between themselves and the rest of the meeting participants but this formality may not always be required.

Thus, break out or information spaces within the meeting room is a great idea. You could use a combination of low coffee tables and comfortable swivel tub chairs that appear far less formal than other kinds of seating.

You could also use the same furniture, just reconfigure it when you need to. If this is the plan, choose furniture that can be easily moved. In other words, lighter, less cumbersome meeting room furniture work better than dragging heavy chairs across the floor.

#3 Colour

There has been much written on the psychology of colour and the effect some colours have on people and the tasks being performed. Most meetings rooms are painted in neutral colours and whilst that offers a blank canvas to the creativity taking place in the room, we think by opting for Magnolia or bright white, you are missing a trick.

But before you start painting walls in clashing vibrant colours, think about the atmosphere you want to create in the meeting room. Are meetings at your workplace raucous, creative get-together or are they subdued, formal, following a set pattern? Do they need to be either of these two things?

Knowing how colours can make people feel is important. Green, for example, is great for creativity but too much can make people feel stagnated. Yellow is vibrant and fun but in some situations, can make the room appear ‘young’ and detached from what is happening in it.

Orange is also a golden, warm colour but it too can be off-putting to some people; orange is a colour that women purport to like but men can find garish. Blue can be serene but also cold… We could go on but you get the drift. Each colour, no matter what shade, hue or vibrancy, has its good side and its downside. If you don’t want to take a chance, stick with a neutral wall colour and flooring, adding a spark of colour and pattern with tub chairs and the furniture.

Colour psychology is not to be dismissed, with most branding experts and psychologists believing that linking the colour palette of your meeting room and office interior with your brand or logo is a seamless way of tying everything together. The impression this creates is one of thought and cohesion, perfect for coming across as professional and an established business in your field.

#4 Lighting

It creates and supports the right atmosphere in an interior design scheme, but lighting is also functional in any space. In a meeting or conference room, the right lighting is simply essential. The days of opting for harsh, overhead strip lighting are gone. Dimmable LED lighting is the only way to go but again, don’t assume that the only option is a central light that casts a luminosity across the whole room.

Back lighting is ideal for creating a sense of wide, open space in a room as well as forming a welcoming back drop. Some areas of your room will need lighting as an emphasis but you need to choose anti-glare lighting. All that tech and lighting is not always a great mix. Consider wall lights, for example, and always, where possible, have them on a dimmer switch so that as the natural light changes so too can the ambient lighting in a room.

Of course, it goes without saying, that the more natural light in a meeting room, the better it is for people to work in. Direct sunlight produces a headache-inducing glare, so make sure you have the right window treatments.

#5 Tech

Love it or hate it, the digital age is well and truly upon us and it is fair to say that the majority of people - colleagues and visitors to your business – will now be expecting seamless digital technology.

That means connecting to installed systems via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. It doesn’t mean fiddling with cables and ‘hoping’ the projector recognises the laptop and vice versa. It means plenty of electrical socket and Ethernet sockets too. It means interactive screens, all accessible with the quick turn of a swivel tub chair and a flick of a button.

A meeting room needs to be the right mix of style and comfort, backed by the technology that every business has come to rely on in recent times. It also needs to be a versatile space, easily reconfigured to become the mix of formal and informal space that you need.