Meetings are where work often happens with clients and internal teams. Office staff typically spend about a quarter of their time in meetings, making it even more important for upper management to take conference rooms & collaboration spaces seriously. In a busy workweek, traditional conference rooms can become a blur of wood paneling, gray office carpet, and obscure artwork to the employees sitting in them throughout the day. While there are many ways to lessen the amount of time spent in meeting spaces, management would be missing out if they didn’t try to think of ways to enhance the experience employees have there.
Using Conference Rooms to Bring Teams Closer
Sitting around an oval table in oversized, uncomfortable chairs is what most people imagine when they think about the meetings they attend - not the brainstorming, collaboration, or project work that is to be accomplished. To help foster ideas and a teamwork mindset, many businesses are starting to completely transform the traditional conference room into modern and interactive spaces.
At the very least, updated technology that complements, rather than hinders, a manager’s ability to host a meeting seamlessly can go a long way in the mindset of employees. However, technological advances like LED video walls, virtual reality, and touchscreen conference room scheduling can elevate the experience workers have of meeting rooms to an entirely new level. These tech upgrades can create an environment that excites and inspires employees to interact with each other in conference rooms.
Altering Conference Room Blueprints for Modern Interactions
With specific types of meetings, a regular conference room setup doesn’t cut it. Companies are now getting creative with how they layout their meeting rooms to make them more conducive to learning and teamwork in multiple ways.
Some use flexible solutions like room dividers to cut larger rooms in half to encourage more agile and interactive meetings. Others are changing the traditional configuration to presentation styles with a U-shaped desk arrangement or even classroom style with rows of desks. By altering the conference rooms in these ways, hosts can better choose a room that facilitates the types of meetings they plan on having for a better employee experience.
Additionally, a newer concept catering to the hybrid office space is businesses getting rid of most of their standard conference rooms for more “usable” collaboration hubs with open-ended functionality. With up to 40% of employees wasting 30 minutes a day searching for meeting rooms, more businesses may start to turn to this solution. Rather than acting as dead space when not being used for meetings, these innovative spaces can pivot to be used in various individual, partner, and small group work.
Leveraging Meetings Themselves to Encourage Creativity
As much as a business tries to change the layout, colors, and functionality of a meeting room to spark ideas in their employees, nothing will change if the meetings themselves aren’t modified. Change must be started from the top to impact employees. Informal meetings, only a select few typically contribute to the general brainstorming and flow. When beginning a more creativity-friendly culture and meetings, management must encourage employees to openly share their ideas (and they must feel safe to do so).
In this environment, it’s essential to show that any idea can be a good idea. If employees feel that their ideas are being rejected every time they share, they will stop speaking up. While not all ideas will be helpful for the task or project at hand, they might still be used by teammates on other client issues. Keeping the energy light and fun can be a great way to cultivate the brainstorming and innovative solutions employees are bound to create.