Small Business Brief


10 Principles of Good Conference Room Design

According to the Harvard Business Review, executives are spending an increased amount of time in meetings. In the ’60s, meetings took up less than 10 hours a week. Now, meetings take up 23 hours of executive time a week.

Want to make your meetings more productive? Check out this list of best practices for conference room design.

Conference Room Design

A modern manufacturer will spend many hours of design time considering how to layout a production line. The best location for tools, how components will reach the production line, and the best way to integrate workers are all serious considerations. Ergonomics of workstations is a science in itself.

Meanwhile, executives will spend hours a week in meeting rooms with little consideration of the design of that space. Conference rooms have an impact on the effectiveness of meetings.

It’s time you thought about how to get the best out of meetings when creating a productive meeting space. If you are booking a conference room, don’t book without seeing the room. Check out Spare Workspace, where you can view meeting rooms online before booking.

1. Color Palette

A decorator’s color palette may offer you a huge range of color options. Choosing what color to decorate a meeting room isn’t like selecting a color for your bedroom. It’s not a matter of taste.

The colors on the walls of a meeting room make a difference to the mood of people in that space. Studies have shown that dark walls, such as dark red, promote low mood. Stark, white walls are also associated with low mood.

Blue and green walls tend to create lighter mood states. They are also preferred by people and described as more pleasant. The calming effect may well be conducive to a better meeting environment. 

2. To Sit or Not to Sit

If attendees to your meeting are going to sit for a while, be certain to have ergonomically designed chairs. An uncomfortable chair is an unnecessary distraction. Adjustable chairs that meet the height differences of attendees is a minimum requirement.

Other adjustments, such as adjustable lumbar support, provide support to those that have to sit for a long time at conferences. This comfortable seating aids concentration and engagement with the purpose of the meeting.

Standing meetings are increasingly used to good effect in modern offices. This is a meeting at which everybody stands.

A standing meeting can take place in a workplace huddle or a dedicated meeting room with a higher meeting table. The meeting has more focused energy. People tend not to let their phones and laptops distract them. Instead, they are dynamically engaged in the task at hand.

3. The Smell of Success

A meeting can generate a lot of body heat. Along with body heat comes unpleasant body odors that can linger in the meeting room for some time. Subsequent meetings can’t finish soon enough.

Not everyone that attends a meeting is as fragrant as you might like them to be. Being sat next to someone with a body odor problem makes for the meeting an ordeal rather than a productive and energizing experience.

Plug-in room fragrances can help. Better still, a regular change of air in a meeting room can help mitigate the worst smells.

Some scents seem to be more conducive than others to promoting helpful states of mind. Lemon and rosemary can boost your mood. Avoid chamomile unless you want to send everybody in the meeting to sleep.

4. Climate Control

Preferences for meeting room temperature vary. The key is to be able to adjust the meeting room temperature and for the heating and air-conditioning to react to changes in temperature.

Conference rooms can vary in temperature depending on the number of people in them. Also, equipment of various types can affect the temperature. Projectors and computer equipment can significantly alter the temperature.

The best conference rooms have efficient climate control that is responsive to the circumstances. They also have climate control that is not too loud. A loud air-conditioning unit can be a major annoyance during a meeting.

5. Throw Light on the Subject

Sometimes conference rooms appear to be a last-minute thought. A wall is hurriedly thrown up in an otherwise open-plan office to provide a conference space. Unfortunately, the meeting room lighting is the same that was previously fitted for the office.

This kind of lighting is not by design, but by accident. It is generally unsuitable for a meeting room. The lighting for a conference room should promote energy in the meeting attendees.

Natural light is the best light for a meeting as it helps cognitive performance. Artificial light is less conducive to performance because it reduces cortisol levels. The result is sleepy meeting attendees.

6. Table Design

A single table shape may limit your meeting options. A typical board room style of a rectangular table may suit many meetings, but it is limiting.

A round, square, or U-shaped table can be helpful for collaboration. The best way of achieving this flexibility is to have a modular table. The modules can be re-arranged to form lots of alternative shapes depending on what the meeting needs.

7. Naturally Better

Some meeting rooms can become stuffy and airless. Add plants and a room can change radically. Plants remove the carbon dioxide that you breathe out and replace it with oxygen.

A natural environment with green leafy plants is more pleasant than a typical office. Plants soften the environment and make you feel better.

8. How High?

What is acceptable in an office is less so in a busy conference room. Ceiling height makes a difference in the air movement in a conference room. A higher than standard ceiling height also helps the visibility of presenters.

9. Flexibility

The greatest feature that a conference room can offer is flexibility. Options for layout, tables, power supply, AV/projection equipment, and climate control help meetings go smoothly.

10. Size is Important

The right size room is a minimum requirement for a meeting room. A large room is not great if you want an intimate meeting for a few people. A crammed meeting is not conducive to effective communication with a large team.

If you can’t get the perfect sized room, a conference facility with adjustable room size is the next best thing. Use a soundproof screen to reduce your meeting room size.

Meeting Expectation

It may be difficult to get everything you want from a meeting room. Knowing what to ask for in a conference room design is half the battle. Raise your expectations and you will have much-improved meetings.

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